Nonprofit news roundup for July 20, 2009

Kellogg Foundation offers early-retirement packages

With its assets off by about 30 percent, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is offering early-retirement packages to 68 of its 167 U.S. employees in an effort to cut expenses, The Battle Creek Enquirer reported July 18 (see Kellogg Foundation story). The funder hopes the cuts will allow it to hold grantmaking steady during the next fiscal year.

Seattle United Way raises $100 million, tops in the U.S.

United Way of King County in Seattle, Wash., raised $100.3 million during its fundraising campaign last fall, more than any other affiliate in the country, Monica Guzman wrote in a blog in The Seattle Post Intelligencer July 17 (see United Way of King County story). That total is down from the record $116 million the agency raised in 2007.

Colleges tally up recession-year fundraising totals

The 2009 fiscal year closed on June 30 and colleges and universities are assessing their recession-year fundraising performance, with many seeing drops in both annual giving and major giving, The Baltimore Sun reported July 20 (see college donations story).

‘Risky’ investments seen jeopardizing arts endowments

Falling endowments, coupled with indirect effects of the recession, are battering arts organizations, with the situation likely to worsen in the years to come, James Panero wrote in a column in Forbes July 20 (see New York arts story). Arts groups “adopted bad habits” when investing their endowments by moving from fixed-income vehicles to more volatile alternatives like distressed debt and venture-capital equity.

Oklahoma charity in hot water over California home purchase

Oklahoma-based Feed The Children spent $1.2 million in donations to purchase a house near Hollywood that the daughter of the charity’s president then moved into, The Oklahoman reported July 19 (see Feed The Children story). The founder of the charity, which raises more than $1 billion in cash and gifts annually, says the house was bought to help with an effort to reach out to celebrities and is used as a home and office.

Prizes for innovation veer toward achieving social benefits

Increasingly, philanthropists and companies are using prizes to spur innovation and social benefits, with 80 percent of prizes used to encourage specific innovations rather than overall excellence says a new study, McKinsey Quarterly reported July 17 (see prizes story). Successful prize efforts share three traits, the study says: a clear objective, a large number of potential problem solvers and participants who are willing to bear some of the risks.

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