Monday, January 5, 2009

Weekend Roundup - Clinton Foundation Donor, Theater Companies & Colleges

With apologies for the blogging hiatus over the weekend, here are several interesting stories from Saturday and Sunday:

The New York Times reports that New York developer Robert J. Congel donated $100,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation in November 2004 shortly after Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton helped enact legislation that gave one of the developer's projects access to tax-exempt bonds.  In August 2005, Senator Clinton also successful obtained a legislative provision that set aside $5 million for roadway construction relating to the same project.  Both the developer and a spokesman for Senator Clinton denied any connection between the donation and the Senator's efforts.

The Denver Post reports that the National Endowment for the Arts has issued its first ever study on nonprofit theaters, showing a doubling of groups with budgets of $75,000 or more from 1990 to 2005, from 991 to 1,981, even as attendance remained relatively flat.  The study also showed an increased reliance on earned income as opposed to contributions, with the average ratio reaching 52 to 48 percent in 2005 as compared to 65 to 35 percent in 1990.  The report does not reflect the impact of the recent economic troubles, although it notes that nonprofit theaters are particularly sensitive to financial downturns.  The Washington Post previously reported on this study.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a survey of chief business officers reveals that most colleges are avoiding layoffs but targeting other types of expenditures to deal with the economic downturn.  The areas targeted include partial hiring freezes and postponing or canceling building projects.  A Moody's analyst noted, however, that unlike most other sectors of the economy, colleges are unlikely to start to fell the full impact of the current economic troubles until enrollment for the fall 2009 term.  It therefore remains to be seen whether more drastic steps will be required for many or most colleges to remain financially sound.  The Chronicle conducted the survey in cooperation with Moody's Investors Service.


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