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Employee giving shows signs of rebound…

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Nonprofit news roundup 

Employee giving shows signs of rebound

After a rough 2008, employee-giving campaigns are showing some signs of recovery, but have yet to reach the pre-recession levels, The Chicago Tribune reported Nov. 23 (see corporate giving story). Employee morale and optimism are up at many companies, a trend that could lead to higher donations, and many companies are looking for ways to help their employees give time in addition to money.

Feds probe foundation’s donations to Columbia

The Alavi Foundation, which supports efforts to boost Islamic and Iranian cultural programs at schools, has donated more than $100,000 to Columbia University, contributions federal prosecutors are looking into, The New York Times reported Nov. 23 (see Alavi Foundation story). The foundation has been accused of “illegally providing money and services to Iran,” and is denying the charges.

Wikipedia losing volunteer editors

Now eight years old with 325 million monthly visitors, Wikipedia.org is seeing an increase in the net loss of its volunteer editors, who are down by more than 49,000 in the first quarter of 2009, 10 times the net loss it saw it the same period of 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 23 (see Wikipedia volunteers story). Some worry the loss of volunteer help could affect the site’s ability to expand its breadth and boost its accuracy.

Gates Foundation’s grants totaled $2.8 billion in 2008

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $2.8 billion in 2008, spent $385.8 million on operations and logged $117.4 in capital investments, The Puget Sound Business Journal reported Nov. 20 (see Gates Foundation Trust story). Gratmaking was up from $2.01 billion in 2007.

Pitt and Jolie together donate $6.8 million in 2008

Celebrities Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie together donated $6.8 million to charity last year, The Press Association reported Nov. 24 (see Jolie and Pitt story). The Global Health Committee received $2 million from the couple, more than any other single organization.

Medvedev aims to boost Russian philanthropy

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is promoting a host of measures designed “stimulate philanthropy” and boost nonprofits in his country, The New York Times reported Nov. 23 (see Russian nonprofits story). Medvedev already has lessened bureaucratic requirements for nonprofits and now is calling for tax incentives and other changes.

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