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Nonprofit news roundup for Aug. 31, 2009

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Pittsburgh‘s public schools seek $50 million grant

Public school administrators and teachers in Pittsburgh are seeking $50 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to boost teacher effectiveness in the city’s school system, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Aug. 29 (see Pittsburgh schools story). The proposal calls for pay-for-performance, additional pay for teachers who take on extra assignments, and an “academy” to train both new and experienced teachers.

‘Venture philanthropy’ takes hold in Britain

Employing lessons learned in the venture capital field, the new breed of “venture philanthropists,” are investing money in charities they deem worthy and are looking for accountability in return, The Telegraph reported Aug. 29 (see British charities story). One such British firm, called Impetus, is run by a former venture capitalist and has invested in 13 nonprofits, which together have increased the number of people served by an average of 53 percent a year over five years.

Nonprofit launched to raise money for San Jose parks

Facing a $90 million budget deficit in the city of San Jose, Calif., a new nonprofit will launch in September with the mission of funding park services, The San Jose Mercury News reported Aug. 31 (see San Jose parks story). The San Jose Parks Foundation, which will be independent from the city, will raise money to be used for youth and senior programs, its board says.

Health-care reform worries some

While President Obama’s health-care reform plan aims to provide insurance for more Americans, some, including one nonprofit hospital director, worry proposed changes could exacerbate the current doctor shortage and increase demand for care while cutting revenue to providers, The Washington Post reported Aug. 28 (see nonprofit hospitals story). “There will be new vulnerabilities inside whatever changes get made,” Charles J. Bennett, CEO of a nonprofit hospital in Texas, said in the article.

University of New Mexico raises record $90 million

The University of New Mexico Foundation raised a record total of more than $90 million from almost 17,000 donors during fiscal 2009, an increase of 5.3 percent over fiscal 2008, The Associated Press reported Aug. 28 (see University of New Mexico story). The foundation will pay out $15.2 million from its endowment this year to support the operations of the university.

Canadian university endowments shift away from risk

In the wake of the 2008 market declines, endowment managers at universities in Canada are beginning to rebalance their portfolios in favor of less risk, The Financial Post reported Aug. 28 (see Canadian university endowments story). That investment shift will mean a shift in performance expectations, the article says.

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