Acorn Housing cuts employees, offices…

Nonprofit news roundup 

Acorn Housing cuts employees, offices

Acorn Housing, an offshoot of Acorn, the grassroots organizing group reeling from recent scandal, is cutting costs in an effort to survive the public-relations backlash and loss of government funding caused by its namesake, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 25 (see Acorn Housing story). Acorn Housing, which provides free counseling for mortgage borrowers, is laying off employees and closing offices.

America‘s largest nonprofits struggle in 2009

America’s largest 200 nonprofits struggled in 2009, finishing the year with an average $6 million loss, compared to an average surplus of $66 million in 2008, Forbes reported Nov. 24 (see largest nonprofits story). While investment losses were the primary engine for decline, giving to the group was up by $7 billion, or about 16 percent, and average compensation for chief executives grew 21 percent to top $650,000.

Charity sabbaticals gain in popularity

Increasingly, professionals are taking weeks- or months-long breaks from their corporate day jobs to serves as volunteers for charities in emerging markets, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 26 (see charity sabbaticals story). The practice can serve as a kind of executive-training program while giving employees an opportunity to give back in meaningful ways.

New York City charity under investigation

The United Homeless Organization, which operates in the five boroughs of New York City, is a fraud, says a complaint filed by the state’s attorney general, The New York Times reported Nov. 24 (see United Homeless story). The group raises donations, but operates no shelters and provides no food or clothing to the homeless, the complaint alleges.

Albertson Foundation invests $20 million in Idaho students

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is investing $20 million to improve college-completion rates in Idaho, which ranks 43rd in the U.S. in 9th graders who complete post-high-school education, The Idaho Statesman reported Nov. 24 (see Albertson Foundation story). The grants primarily will fund scholarships, with priority for first-generation college students, students returning to complete degrees and non-traditional students who have been out of high school a year or more.

Prep school gets $28 million gift

Chaminade College Prep, a Catholic Boys School, received $28 million from the family of Skip Viragh, an alumnus and mutual fund manager who died in 2003, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Nov. 24 (see Chaminade story). The donation will fund construction and endowment of a 79,000-square-foot arts center at the school, which currently has about 800 students.

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