Nonprofit news roundup for Aug. 26, 2009

No-loan movement at private colleges in jeopardy

More than 30 top-ranked U.S. private colleges have instituted loan-free programs in which they replace student loans with grants, but those programs now may be in jeopardy given hits college endowments have taken at the hand of the recession, Bloomberg News reported Aug. 25 (see no-loan colleges story). Given budget pressures, some colleges could be forced to choose between laying off faculty or continuing the grant program.

Harvard set to build endowment-investment staff

As Harvard University’s endowment claws its way back, the school is looking to boost its battered endowment staff, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 25 (see Harvard story). Having sustained losses of about 30 percent and laying off about 50 people, the school is looking to hire three or four senior money managers as it brings more of its portfolio back under the school’s roof.

Gates Foundation aims to boost technology in libraries

As part of its Global Libraries Initiative, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $1 million to a foundation in Columbia that uses technology in libraries to further community development, Kristi Heim wrote in the Seattle Times Aug. 25 (see Gates Foundation story). The foundation’s effort is led by Deborah Jacobs, a librarian who helped build Seattle’s Central Library.

Wikipedia organization gets $2 million boost

Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, received $2 million from the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investing group started by the founder of eBay, The Associated Press reported Aug. 25 (see Wikipedia donation story). The funds will be used to expand Wikimedia’s efforts to expand fee educational content to people around the world.

New nonprofit uses Internet videos to match donors, causes

World Flix, a new nonprofit, aims to use Internet-based videos to connect potential donors with people and communities in need around the world, The San Jose Mercury News reported Aug. 26 (see World Flix story). The group’s library of “mini movies” shows community needs and how donated funds would be used.

Russian funders say they plan to continue giving

While many Russian companies and foundations are not willing to discuss the effects of the recession on their finances, more than half say they plan to continue their philanthropic activities, Paulina Filippova of the Charities Aid Foundation Russia wrote in The Moscow Times Aug. 25 (see economic study story). And while more than six in 10 nonprofits in the country have seen their funding fall, most say they are looking at strategies to weather the storm.

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