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City Spends to Aid Minority Firms but Falls Short
Jul 29, 2009; New York Times | New York City’s City Council spent more than $3 million on 177 nonprofits that, for the most part, appear to have been linked to if not controlled by members of the Council, to certify women- and minority-owned businesses for the purposes of qualifying for WMBE set-asides in municipal contracting.  This works out to a cost of $17,000 per successfully certified business.  That’s 90 certifications a year, compared to the program run by Mayor Bloomberg’s office which has certified about 400 a year.  The New York City Council, with some members enmired in legal problems with their nonprofit affiliations, is not demonstrating much credibility in its not-illegal relationships with nonprofits either.  —Rick Cohen

Local firms help Pan Mass Challenge raise funds using virtual bikers
Jul 31, 2009; Mass High Tech | Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund hosts the Pan Mass Challenge this weekend, a cross-state bike ride fundraiser that this year has a digital counterpart – an application called PaceLine.  Donors can hop on a digital tandem bicycle with their rider, and invite an infinite number of friends to join them.  Each time a new rider joins, the bike grows, and so do the funds for cancer research.  —James David Morgan

Mid-South nonprofits see less money, more demand
Jul 31, 2009; Commercial Appeal | I encourage you to take a look both at its content and presentation of one the more thorough and grounded snapshot reports on the financial status of an area’s nonprofits that we have seen. I especially like the title, Downstream and In Demand [PDF]. Very evocative.  —Ruth McCambridge

Trip to Jackson’s funeral spurs funding questions
Jul 27, 2009; The Hill | The only member of Congress to attend the superstar’s funeral, Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), is facing questions about her trip.  Did she attend the funeral and present the unpassed resolution in her official capacity or not?  What moneys did she use to pay for the trip?  She’s refused to identify whether the costs were paid by public or private or nonprofit resources, having repeatedly said that she used “resources that I had” to pay the travel costs.  The Hill nicely reminded readers that the new Congressional ethic rules overturned the restrictions enacted in the wake of the Abramoff scandal to allow once again foundations and nonprofits to pay for the costs of trips lasting longer than two days.  —Rick Cohen

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