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Nonprofit news roundup for July 16, 2009

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Companies embrace skills-based volunteerism, social-policy advocacy

Top corporate givers, seeing they can do more with less while improving their bottom line by taking a more strategic approach to philanthropy, aim to make a bigger impact by using skills-based volunteerism and taking a stand on social policy, The Wall Street Journal reported July 15 (see corporate philanthropy story).

Yale chief stands by investment strategy, despite losses

The president of Yale University says its investment strategy is working “spectacularly well,” even with a 30 percent plunge in the value of its endowment, Bloomberg reported July 15 (see Yale endowment story). Spread across hedge funds, private holdings, commodities and real estate, the endowment, the second-largest in higher education after Harvard’s, earned $11.6 billion more over the past 10 years than a hypothetical portfolio of only stocks and bonds, Yale President Richard Levin said in an interview.

Gates Foundation invests in improving libraries’ free computer access

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $11 million to help public libraries in 11 states improve the free computer access they offer, the Seattle Times reported July 16 (see library computers story).

Matt Damon starts safe-water charity for developing nations

Actor Matt Damon has started water.org, a charity that aims to helps people in developing countries get safe drinking water and basic sanitation such as toilets, the San Francisco Examiner reported July 15 (see water charity story).

Kauffman Foundation acquires former TWA building

The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation acquired the former administrative building of Trans World Airlines near Kansas City International Airport as part of its investment strategy, The Kansas City Star reported July 15 (see foundation building story).

Gates Foundation increases stake in sports retailer

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with an endowment of roughly $27.5 billion, increased its stake in British sports retail JJB Sports to 3.14 percent, Bloomberg reported July 16 (see Gates Foundation investment story).

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