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April 18, 2017

Daily News Roundup: Universities Pushing Back on Endowment Scrutiny

Colleges Ramp Up Lobbying on  Endowments: As Congress questions the tax exemption for university endowments, well-heeled institutions like Princeton and Notre Dame are adding the issue to their lobbying agenda, Bloomberg reports, citing disclosure forms. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said endowments will be on the table as Congress and the Trump administration tackle a tax-code overhaul.

Tech Dominates — and Perhaps Distorts — Education Aid for Refugees: Many big companies and foundations taking part in a surge of philanthropic support for educating displaced Syrian children are providing technological tools that have questionable utility in areas that lack school facilities, teachers, books, and other basic needs, according to a University of Massachusetts at Boston study, NPR reports.

Nonprofit Coalition Battling Drug Imports Has Ties to Big Pharma: More than a third of members of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, which has led a high-profile campaign against legislation to allow Americans to buy medications from Canada, have gotten funding from the drug industry's lobbying arm or are local affiliates of pharma-backed groups, according to Kaiser Health News.

Movie Proceeds Earmarked for UCLA Human-Rights Center: Box-office receipts from The Promise, a drama about the World War I-era Armenian genocide that opens this week, will buttress a $20 million commitment to establish an institute for human rights at the university's law school, reports Deadline. Producers of the film financed by the late Armenian-American philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian had already pledged to donate all profits to charity, The Hollywood Reporter writes.

END Fund Takes Lead in Battling Tropical Illnesses: As part of a special report on the fight against neglected tropical diseases like schistosomiasis, the Financial Times details the genesis of the END Fund, which has drawn $75 million from donors to back cost-effective interventions like distributing regular doses of drugs to schoolchildren in developing countries. Read a Chronicle article about Geneva Global, the philanthropic advisory firm that spawned the END Fund.

Nonprofits Focused on Student Success Team Up: Say Yes to Education, launched by money manager George Weiss 30 years ago, is joining forces with America's Promise Alliance, another charity working on raising high-school graduation rates, reports The Wall Street Journal (subscription). Their joint venture, the Weiss Institute, will advise governments and communities on marshaling local resources to boost student success.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the amount of investment collected by the END Fund. It is $75 million, not $84 million.