Nonprofit news roundup for Aug. 17, 2009

Global remittances grow 15 percent in 2008

Despite the recession, global remittances, money sent by migrant workers to their families at home, grew 15 percent in 2008 to reach $328 billion, but continued growth for 2009 is uncertain, The Economist reported Aug. 17 (see remittances story). India is the largest recipient of remittances, receiving $52 billion last year, followed by China, which received $40 billion.

Gates Foundation sells off almost all health-care investments

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sold almost all its pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health-care holdings, including 2.5 million shares in Johnson & Johnson and 14.9 million shares of Schering-Plough Corp., The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 14 (see Gates Foundation story). The sell-off comes as a surprise given the foundations annually awards huge sums in grants to health-care organizations around the world.

Bloomberg outpaces mayoral rival in charitable giving

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $235 million to charity in 2008, or about 1.17 percent of his estimated $20 billion fortune, far outpacing his Democratic mayoral challenger William Thompson, who donated $885, about 0.5 percent of his salary of $171,352, The New York Daily News reported Aug. 17 (see Michael Bloomberg story). Thompson is the controller of New York City.

Madoff accused of affair with CFO of charity he bilked

Bernard Madoff, the investment manager convicted of cheating clients out of tens of billions of dollars, now is being accused of having an affair with Sheryl Weinstein, the chief financial officer of Hadassah, a Jewish volunteer organization that had invested $40 million with Madoff, CBS News reported Aug. 14 (see Madoff story). Weinstein has written a memoir called “Madoff’s Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie and Me.”

Foundation investments spark Pittsburgh cultural revival

Foundations in the Pittsburgh area are being credited with the resurgence of the city’s downtown cultural district, The Associated Press reported Aug. 17 (see Pittsburgh foundations story). More than a quarter of Pennsylvania’s 4,109 foundations, and a more than a third of their combined assets, are in the city.

Philadelphia Orchestra raises $1.2 million to trigger match

The Philadelphia Orchestra has raised almost $1.2 million from new donors and previous donors who increased their contributions, more than the $500,000 required to trigger a $250,000 gift from the William Penn Foundation, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Aug. 15 (see Philadelphia Orchestra story).

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