Nonprofit news roundup May 22, 2009

Wisconsin foundation see assets sink, expect to give less

Nearly 90 percent of 100 Wisconsin foundations surveyed by the Donors Forum of Wisconsin reported their assets fell in the last 12 months and over half expect to give less in grants this year and even less next year, The Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee reported May 21 (see Wisconsin foundations story).

Brandeis suspends payments for retirement

Brandeis University, which already has drawn fire for its plans to shut its art museum and sell its collection to raise money, now plans to take the rare move of stopping payments to the retirement accounts of faculty and staff, The New York Times reported May 21 (see retirement benefits story). An official for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities says while the move may be seen by some as a breach of faith for a nonprofit, “we are absolutely at a point in this economy where these sort of things have to be on the table.”

Blackberry chiefs giving stock to charities

The co-chief executives of BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd plan to give RIM stock they own worth roughly $290 million in Canadian currency, or $253 million in U.S. currency, to two charitable foundations, Reuters reported May 21 (see Blackberry gift story).

Charities seen failing to measure their impact

Generally, charities do not have the interest in, or the skills for, measuring and communicating the impact they have on their communities, says chief executive of New Philanthropy Capital, Third Sector reported May 19.

Culture foundation loses endowment in Madoff scandal

Disaster looms at the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, which saw its endowment of roughly $14 million disappear in the Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi scheme, The New York Times reported May 20 (see endowment loss story).  Like other victims of the fraud, the foundation received statements showing false earnings tied to the stock market.

Connecticut student-loan group fights to survive

The Connecticut Student Loan Foundation is facing criticism for providing executive bonuses and perks while running multi-million dollar deficits, cutting staff and fending off foreclosure, The Hartford Courant reported May 21. The organization is fighting for survival in the face of a deficit that has reached $24.5 million since 2003.

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