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Nonprofit news roundup May 8, 2009

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Despite impact, Gates Foundation’s accountability questioned

A new study of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation published in the British medical journal Lancet says the foundation has a huge impact on global health issues but lacks a mechanism “by which that influence is held to public account,” the Associated Press reported May 8.

Obama budget would increase arts funding

The National Endowment for the Arts would grow four percent, to $161.3 million from $155 million, under President Obama’s federal budget proposal for fiscal 2010, The Los Angeles Times reported May 7 (see arts funding story). Most of the agency’s budget goes to state and regional arts agencies and to nonprofit arts groups.

PBS offers shorter sponsorships

Responding to tighter marketing budgets, public-TV stations are offering companies shorter underwriting sponsorships, some for as short as a single week, The New York Times reported May 7 (see PBS sponsorship story). Critics say shorter sponsorship stints underscore the an increase in the commercialization of public television.

Tighter federal regulation of charity urged

The federal government must gain control of a system of charitable giving that, according to a year-long investigation by The Arizona Republic, let 22 charities tied to the Don Stewart Association of Phoenix rake in $28.8 million in cash donations between 2003 and 2005, mostly from the Combined Federal Campaign, and spend 76 percent of that cash on their own expenses and donations to other charities in the network, the newspaper said in an editorial May 9 (see charity regulation editorial).

Richmond backs off plan to charge fee to nonprofits

The City Council in Richmond, Va., has dropped a plan to he City Council is backing off a plan to charge nonprofits a fee to offset the costs of police, fire and trash collection services, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported May 7.

Oxfam donations decline

Donations to Oxfam’s network of 714 shops in Britain have fallen 12 percent this year, the first decline in eight years, BBC News reported May 7 (see Oxfam donations story).

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