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Nonprofit news roundup May 29, 2009

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Environmental funder spends all its assets

After spending roughly $120 million over 10 years boosting environmental groups in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin, and raising awareness about the impact of environmental damage on human health, the Beldon Fund is closing, The New York Times reported May 28 (see foundation lifespan story).

Nonprofits turning to consultants

A survey by Deloitte finds nearly four in 10 nonprofits surveyed plan to spend $50,000 on consultants this year, the Erie Times-News reported May 28 (see nonprofit consulting story). The research suggests corporate grantmakers and nonprofits are more focused on giving and getting cash rather than making effective use of skilled volunteers to offset falling contributions, Deloitte says.

Bay Area nonprofit fear money will run out

A survey find some Bay Area nonprofits worry they may run out of money and have to close their doors just when the recession is fueling rising demand for the for basic services they provide, the San Francisco Chronicle reported May 29 (see nonprofit funding story). Thirty-four percent of 400 nonprofits surveyed by United Way said they may have two or fewer months of operating expenses in reserves.

Foundations urged to do better job

Foundations should do a better job helping those least able to help themselves by making grants that promote effectiveness, providing more unrestricted support, and giving longer-term funding and multiyear grants, Hodding Carter III, former president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and a professor of leadership and public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said May 29 in a guest column in the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. Foundations also should spend more to help nonprofits be more effective in advocating public policies that benefit their clients.

Astor’s estate intended for charity, witness says

While philanthropist Brooke Astor updated her will many times before her death, her former estate attorney says one constant was her desire for charities to be the primary beneficiaries of her estate rather than her son, The New York Post reported May 27 (see Astor charity story). The comments, made during a Supreme Court trial in Manhattan, are part of the prosecution’s allegation that the $60 million left to Astor’s son and his wife is the result of “strong-arming and outright forgery.”

Giving in San Diego area could reach $10 billion, study says

Charitable gifts made by individuals could total $10 billion from 2005 to 2030 in the San Diego area, or about 5 percent of their accumulated wealth, says a study by the San Diego Foundation, The North County Times reported May 27.

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