Dispatches > The Buzz
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy last week reported that America's leading charities raised more than $38 billion last year, up 13 percent from 1998. Topping the list: the Salvation Army at over $1.3 billion, YMCA of the USA at $693 million, and the American Red Cross at $678 million. It was the eighth straight year that the Salvation Army led the list of the top 400 charities, which together account for about one-fifth of charitable giving nationwide.
- A Georgia church will inherit $60 million from a local businessman who hadn't attended for over 20 years. St. Mary's United Methodist Church has about 350 members and an annual budget of $285,000. Warren Bailey, who owned 49 percent of the region's Camden Telephone Co., left no instructions on using the money.
- A federal judge last week ruled that a Virginia law requiring students in public schools to observe a moment of silence does not violate the U.S. Constitution. "The court finds that the daily observance of one minute of silence act is constitutional, the act was enacted for a secular purpose, does not advance or inhibit religion, nor is there excessive entanglement with religion," said Judge Claude Hilton. The ACLU says it will appeal.
- Grad students of the world, unite! The National Labor Relations Board last week granted collective-bargaining rights to New York University graduate students who also teach or conduct research for the school. The decision makes NYU the first private American university subject to collective bargaining with graduate students. The ruling does not apply to city and state universities, which operate under the various state labor laws.
- A Miami group sued the producers of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, arguing that the show's telephone-qualifying round violates the Americans With Disabilities Act. The group claimed the contest discriminates against people who can't use touch-tone phones. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno threw out the suit, saying the ADA is not broad enough to cover the show's screening process, but he said the show's goal "should be to encourage participants with disabilities." A million people call the show every day.