Individuals continue to fuel giving…

Nonprofit news roundup 

Individuals continue to fuel giving

While the media spotlight shines brightest on mega gifts and billionaire donors, modest contributions from individual donors continue to be the backbone of the majority of U.S. charities, The New York Times reported Nov. 11 (see individual donors story). Everyday Americans are continuing to give, in spite of the recession, while many institutional donors are nursing the wounds their portfolios suffered during the downturn.

Founder of Feed the Children fired

Larry Jones, founder of Feed the Children, was fired by the nonprofit’s board of directors, which declined to comment on the termination, citing pending litigation, The Christian Post reported Nov. 9 (see Feed the Children story). There had been a power struggle between Jones and the board, news sources say, and Jones admitted to installing microphones in the offices of three board members.

Super-rich philanthropists look to influence politics, policy

Super-rich philanthropists like Bill Gates, who traditionally approached their philanthropy as they do their businesses, as a way to “bypass government,” increasingly are looking to politics to effect the changes they seek, Matthew Bishop and Michael Green wrote in an essay in The New York Times Nov. 11 (see billionaire givers story). However, these “philanthrocapitalists” could face a backlash as people question the use of money to bring about political change.

Charities, foundations oppose estate-tax reduction

Charities and foundations in the U.S. are urging lawmakers to hold the estate tax at 2009 levels, which means a tax rate of 45 percent and an exemption for estates valued at less than $3.5 million, Dow Jones reported Nov. 10 (see estate tax story). Nonprofits are worried a reduction in the tax could cause giving to drop, while the reduction in revenue could mean cuts to government-funded programs.

Former Gates Foundation exec nominated to lead USAID

According to anonymous U.S. officials, Rajiv Shah, a former executive with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been nominated to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development, Kristi Heim wrote in a blog in The Seattle Times Nov. 10 (see Rajiv Shah article).

Charitable giving in Britain holding up

Donations by British individuals and corporations are holding steady in spite of the recession, with an increasing number directing their gifts to local community foundations, The Times reported Nov. 10 (see British charities story). More donors, however, are contributing in installments or anonymously.

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