Nonprofit news roundup for July 23, 2009

Harvard and Yale face ‘extended period of austerity’
With Harvard and Yale reeling from endowment losses, and payout formulas that base spending on prior years of endowment returns, the schools likely will face “an extended period of austerity,” Bloomberg News reported July 22 (see Harvard and Yale story). In addition to lower endowment spending, Harvard will be repaying debt it incurred to increase its cash.

University fundraiser defends use of list tying applicants to donors

Sidney Micek, president of the University of Illinois Foundation, defended the use of “clout lists,” which show applicants’ ties to big donors or other important people, saying the practice helps admissions officers put applications into perspective, The Chicago Tribune reported July 23 (see University of Illinois story). Students who have ties to elected officials, university trustees or important donors are placed on clout lists.

Wisconsin allows nonprofits to tap ‘underwater’ endowments

Wisconsin has adopted a law allowing nonprofits to tap into their endowments to cover operating expenses, even if those endowments are “underwater,” or below their initial purchase value, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported July 21 (see underwater endowments story). The change affects a range of groups with endowments, including universities.

University of Kansas gets $1.1 million bequest

The University of Kansas received a $1.1 million gift from the estate of alumnus Martha Peterson, The Kansas City Star reported July 21 (see University of Kansas story). The gift will add to an endowed math professorship Peterson created in 2003 in memory of her former math professors.

Gates Foundation receives Indira Ghandi Prize for Peace

Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates received the Indira Ghandi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the group’s work in health and development, particularly HIV/AIDS work, Indo-Asian News Service reported July 23 (see Gates story).

New Infospace search site to donate money to charity

Infospace, an Internet search service based in Bellevue, Wash., has launched, a new search site that compiles search results from Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask and will donate money to charity each time it is used, XCONOMY reported July 22 (see Infospace story). Half the revenue generated by the site will go to charity.

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