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Nonprofit news roundup for Aug. 19, 2009

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Gates Foundation to invest $500 million in teacher effectiveness

Over the next five years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to spend $500 million to identify the qualities of effective teachers and determine how to measure those qualities, The Associated Press reported Aug. 19 (see Gates Foundation story). The program will include a research component as well as experiments to be conducted in a variety of school districts around the country.

Illiquidity seen as ‘Achilles’ heel’ of the Iveys

Over the past several years, Ivy League colleges have pursued an investment strategy that rested on diversification and “alternative investments,” some of which were difficult to sell quickly, leading to a liquidity crisis for the schools, James B. Stewart wrote in The Wall Street Journal Aug. 18 (see university investing story). Investors with little tied up in illiquid options fared better in the recent downturn than those with significant holdings in things like venture capital funds and private equity.

California‘s university system urged to provide more transparency

With the California State University System receiving about 20 percent of its $6.7 billion annual operating budget from affiliated fundraising foundations, it is time for those funders to provide more transparency and accountability, says an editorial published in The Los Angeles Times Aug. 18 (see California universities story). The foundations are under greater scrutiny in the wake of alleged missteps, including lending money to board members and covering a chancellor’s personal expenses.

NEA chief accepts invitation to sample Peoria arts scene

In response to comments he made about Peoria, Ill., in a recent article, incoming National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman has accepted an invitation to visit the city, The New York Times reported Aug. 17 (see Peoria arts story). In a previous article, Landesman questioned the quality of theatres in the city, and now says he will visit the in early December.

Utah nonprofits struggle to outlast recession

The anemic economy is affecting Utah’s nonprofits, which are cutting staff, altering programs, exploring collaborations and merging in order to stay afloat, says a survey by the Community Foundation of Utah, The Associated Press reported Aug. 18 (see Utah nonprofits story).

Detroit arts groups raise millions in a day

In an outpouring of support, a matching-donation drive launched by the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan raised a total of $2.5 million for metro-Detroit arts groups within five-and-a-half hours, qualifying them for $1.25 million in matching funds from the foundation, The Detroit News reported Aug. 19 (see Detroit Arts story). Participating arts groups competed to raise funds that would then qualify for a match from the foundation.

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