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University endowments fall 19 percent…

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Nonprofit news roundup 

University endowments fall 19 percent

While college and university endowments lost 19 percent on their investments in fiscal 2009, they outperformed the Standard & Poor’s Index, which posted a loss of 28 percent, Reuters reported Dec. 10 (see university endowments story). Collectively, universities invested more than half their portfolios in alternative investments, with only 19 percent invested in U.S. stocks.

Consumer Reports pans charity gift cards

Consumer Reports is recommending buyers steer away from charity gift cards and instead give directly to nonprofits, thereby cutting out fees and other “gotchas,” a recommendation that has angered many card providers, The New York Times reported Dec. 10 (see charity gift cards story). Card providers have issued a press release stating the cards are not meant to be the same as a donation, but are fun and meaningful gifts.

Kurz Foundation accused of self dealing

The Kurz Family Foundation, which aims to acquire Presidential Life Corp., is being accused of “potential self dealing” by the insurance company, Dow Jones reported Dec. 19 (see Presidential Life story). The company claims the foundation’s founder, who is the recently-ousted chairman of the insurance company, improperly used charitable assets for personal expenses.

Detroit Symphony finishes fiscal 2009 with $3.7 million deficit

With a fiscal 2009 deficit of more than $3.7 million and corporate support off by more than half, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra could face a $5 million deficit in 2010, The Detroit News reported Dec. 11 (see Detroit Symphony story). The organization does not foresee bankruptcy, but may be forced to implement layoffs and program cuts.

Cleveland Orchestra faces $2 million deficit

The Cleveland Orchestra finished fiscal 2009 with a $2 million deficit, a drop in assets of more than $27 million, and a revenue decline of 5 percent, The Plain Dealer reported Dec. 11 (see Cleveland Orchestra story). The organization has instituted pay cuts and has launched several initiatives designed to attract new audiences.

JPMorgan to give away $5 million through Facebook

JPMorgan Chase is using its Facebook page to give away $5 million, and is allowing the website’s users to vote on which charities will receive funds, The Star-Ledger reported Dec. 11 (see Facebook giving story). The 100 nonprofits who get the most votes will receive $25,000 and the opportunity to vie for another $1 million.

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