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Nonprofit news roundup May 27, 2009

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Obama’s public-service nominee withdraws

Because of a “previously unknown health condition,” Maria Eitel, president of the Nike Foundation, has withdrawn her nomination by President Obama to head the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Washington Post reported May 26 (see national service story). Eitel’s nomination drew criticism from public-service advocates, in part because the Nike Foundation is relatively small and because her background was mainly in public relations. Nike in the past also had been criticized for using its philanthropy to create nonprofits it controlled to monitor working conditions at its own factories in poor countries.

Nonprofits urged to spend more on advertising

Charitable causes like breast cancer and AIDS could gain a larger share of the public consciousness if the nonprofit sector were to spend more on marketing and advertising, Dan Pallotta wrote in Harvard Business Publishing May 26 (see nonprofit advertising story). The nonprofit sector spends an estimated $7.6 billion a year on advertising, an amount that all but disappears among overall marketing expenditures of $730 billion in the U.S. Yet donors are reluctant to fund advertising, preferring their dollars be used for direct services.

Utah universities revise expansions of athletics facilities

The sour economy has led many of the large universities in Utah to put on hold their plans to expand or renovate athletic facilities, The Salt Lake Tribune reported May 26 (see Utah schools story). While development departments at the schools have yet to report any major declines in donations, budget deficits are causing most schools to approach any building plans with caution.

Art Institute of Chicago mulls fund drive to support free admission

The president of the Art Institute of Chicago said he is considering an effort to raise $240 million to $250 million to support free admission to the museum, replacing the $12.5 million a year from admissions revenue, the Chicago Tribune reported May 27 (see art institute story). His calculations assume the funds raised would generate an annual return of five percent.

Vatican Radio goes commercial to cover costs

Vatican Radio, the radio station of the Roman Catholic Church, in July will begin accepting advertising in order to help cover its operating costs, which has risen to about $30 million a year since it went on the air in 1931, The BBC reported May 26 (see Vatican Radio story). An ad agency will review ads to make sure the content is “in keeping with the high moral standards” of the church.

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