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Nonprofit news roundup for Aug. 20, 2009

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Winfrey charity recipients charged with defrauding government

Three Hurricane-Katrina survivors who received assistance from Oprah’s Angel Network, the charity run by Oprah Winfrey, have been charged with fraudulently collecting government housing aid, Reuters reported Aug. 19 (see Oprah Winfrey story). The women collected rental assistance although they had purchased new homes with help from Winfrey’s charity.

Women use wealth to help other women, girls

As U.S. women become wealthier, they are more likely to give their money to help other women, and are helped along by a network of over 145 funds across the country that exist to improve the lives of women and girls, The New York Times reported Aug. 18 (see women’s wealth story). These women’s funds hold about $500 million in collective assets and aim to increase that to $1 billion by 2018.

Muslim givers in U.S. struggle to find approved Islamic charities

Muslims in the U.S. who wish to follow a religious observance that encourages them to give 2.5 percent of their cash assets to charity are having trouble finding recipient groups since the post-9/11 tightening of legal guidelines on Islamic charities, USA Today reported Aug. 19 (see Muslim giving story). The observance, called zakat, often is acted upon during Ramadan, which begins Aug. 22.

Probable cause required to seize charity’s assets, judge rules

A federal district judge in Ohio ruled that probable cause must exist in order for the U.S. government to seize an organization’s assets, and that cause must be communicated to the organization, The Associated Press reported Aug. 19 (see KindHearts story). The decision came in the case of KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, a charity the government shut down because of suspected ties to Islamic militant group Hamas.

Benefits of proposed insurance co-ops called high-cost, low-benefit

Proposed health-insurance co-ops, publicly-subsidized nonprofit health insurance insurers, would duplicate existing nonprofit insurance options and would provide no additional benefit while racking up billions in start-up costs, Scott Harrington, a professor of health-care management at the University of Pennsylvania and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal Aug. 19 (see health reform column).

Australia‘s nonprofits struggle to meet rising needs

More than two in three nonprofits in Australia have seen demand rise, with requests for food aid alone up by half, and the country’s nonprofits are struggling to keep up, a report by the Australian government says, Western Australia Today reported Aug. 19 (see Australia nonprofit story). While demand is up, income from investments and fundraising is down.

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