Education endowments see slight rebound…

Nonprofit news roundup 

Education endowments see slight rebound

Coming off a dismal 2008, education endowments could be seeing the beginning of a rebound, with fiscal-year investment returns down an average of 19 percent, better than the 22.3 percent decline logged in the first five months of the fiscal year, Inside Higher Education reported Dec. 10 (see education endowments story). The data indicate the latter months of the fiscal year saw some positive returns.

Arts attendance waning

Attendance at arts and culture events has dropped to its lowest level since 1982, hurt in part by the economic downturn and a rise in gasoline prices, says a new study from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 10 (see museum attendance story). However, larger trends have had an impact as well, including the drop in funding for arts education over the last several years.

Charity gift cards plagued by fees, delays

The popularity of charity gift cards, which allow recipients to pass the money along to the nonprofit he or she chooses, is tempered by realities like fees and expiration dates, says Consumer Reports, The Seattle Times reported Dec. 10 (see charity gift card story). About $5 typically goes to the issuer of the card, another 3 percent often is kept by the issuer when the recipient redeems the card, and it can take months for the donation to be processed.

Navigating charitable deductions can be tricky

While charitable deductions can tame tax bills for many Americans, and many wait until December to make their donations, navigating the tax code can be difficult, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 10 (see charitable deduction story). There are ways to avoid tax hits, but the IRS’s recent tightening of the rules can make things complicated.

Minneapolis Orchestra holding its own during downturn

Bucking a national trend among symphonies, the Minnesota Orchestra is operating with a balanced budget and has raised $24 million toward its goal of $40 million, which it plans to use to renovate Orchestra Hall, The Star Tribune reported Dec. 9 (see Minnesota Orchestra story). Although attendance has dropped, ticket revenue is up by 4.4 percent.

University of Manitoba‘s lead fundraising to retire

Elaine Goldie, the lead fundraiser for the University of Manitoba, will retire after 25 years with the school, The Winnipeg Free Press reported Dec. 11 (see University of Manitoba story). During her tenure, she led two capital campaigns, the most recent of which brought in $237.5 million, more than double the original goal.

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