Nonprofit news roundup May 13, 2009

Ousted United Way CEO sues for defamation; senior staff leave

Gloria Pace King, ousted CEO of United Way of Central Carolinas in Charlotte, N.C., has sued the man who replaced her for defamation, the latest move in nasty legal fight between the agency’s board and King, the Charlotte Observer reported May 12. Much of the senior staff at United Way of Central Carolinas has departed as part of voluntary separation program, the Observer reported May 13. Through that program and unrelated departures, vice presidents in charge of personnel, operations, fundraising and community assistance programs have left.

Interest growing in nonprofit jobs

The recession is prompting growing interest in nonprofit employment and even some nonprofit jobs, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported May 13. Nearly one-third of metro Atlanta nonprofits laid off workers in the first three months of 2009, according to a survey by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. But
the recession also is boosting demand for services and new jobs at some nonprofits, while others are hiring fundraisers to help offset declining sinking donations.

Membership discounts make a difference, study finds

New research finds reducing the minimum donation for membership in a charity does not affect participation rates and leads to lower average donations, The Wall Street Journal reported May 12 (see charity membership story). But lowering the minimum donation by the same amount and calling it a special discount increases the participation rate and causes a smaller decrease in average donations, says the research by Andreas Lange and Andrew Stocking, economists at the University of Maryland, also shows that.

Producer named to head National Endowment for the Arts

The White House says Rocco Landesman, a theatrical producer and race-track fan, has been nominated as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Times reported May 12 (see arts endowment story).

Soros makes $50 million challenge pledge

Billionaire George Soros pledged $50 million to address the rapid increase in people in New York City seeking basic support like food and shelter if the Robin Hood Foundation and its board members raise nearly the same amount each of the next two years, The New York Times reported May 12 (see charity pledge story).

Foundation sued in Madoff-related claim

A Palm Beach, Fla., couple and their philanthropic foundation were among a group of defendants sued Tuesday for the return of $5 billion allegedly passed along as false profits by swindler Bernard Madoff, Newsday reported May 12. The $5 billion claim against the Picower Foundation, its founders Barbara and Jeffry Picower and others, filed in Manhattan federal bankruptcy court by the trustee overseeing the liquidation of Madoff’s companies, is the biggest single recovery sought so far by trustee Irving Picard. Another claim filed earlier in the day against an Isle of Man hedge fund seeks $1 billion.

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