Nonprofit news roundup for June 26, 2009

Ford Foundation offers buyouts to a third of employees

With its endowment down to $9 billion, $4 billion less than before the financial crisis, the Ford Foundation says it will offer buyouts to a third of its 550 employees, The New York Times reported June 26 (see Ford Foundation story). Luis Ubinas, president of the foundation since last year, is trying to streamline the funder’s operations, which in 2008 included offices in 13 countries and grants totaling $539 million to almost 2,000 nonprofits.

Most foundations felled by Madoff had few board members

Most of the more than 100 foundations that lost large chunks of their assets in the Bernard Madoff investing scandal had four or fewer board members, says an analysis by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, The New York Times reported June 24 (see Madoff story).

College students get lessons in philanthropy

In a growing trend, college students are being introduced to the world of giving through philanthropy courses, which allow students to evaluate grant proposals and decide how to award grant dollars, The Boston Globe reported June 25 (see philanthropy course story). Money for the grants typically is donated by foundations, and the goal of the classes is to make philanthropy a part of mainstream curricula on U.S. campuses.

Venture philanthropists want involvement, results

With the emergence of venture philanthropy, which connects the world of venture capitalists with the charity sector, wealthy donors are looking to have greater involvement in the nonprofits they support and aim to reap measurable results from their donations, The Slovak Spectator reported June 22 (see venture philanthropy story).

 ‘The Philanthropist’ TV show based on Massachusetts man

The new television series “The Philanthropist” is based loosely on real-life philanthropist Bobby Sager, a wealthy businessman from Malden, Mass., who travels the developing world with his wife and two children giving away money for good causes, including training female doctors in Afghanistan and providing micro-loans to Rwandan widows, The Boston Globe reported June 24 (see The Philanthropist story).

U.K. charities turn to nonprofit financial institutions

As British charities feel the recessionary effects of rising demand and dwindling funds, they are beginning to leave traditional banking institutions for nonprofit alternatives that provide lower interest rates and fees and better service, The Guardian reported June 23 (see nonprofit banks story). The CAF Bank, part of the Charities Aid Foundation, says British nonprofits are losing an estimated $32 million annually to traditional banks.

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