Globe Staff Photo. Photo by Bill Greene

(The Boston Globe) Sweaty competition certainly comes to mind when we think of the Boston Marathon, but charitable giving is another side to the coin.  About 1,350 runners out of 25,000 will be running to aid nonprofits today.  Since 1989, the Boston Marathon charity program has raised nearly $100 million, and some think that number more accurately amounts to $150 million or even $200 million, considering the unofficial charities and qualified runners who run to benefit their own charities.  In any case, this year’s run will add to that sum.  Mark Van Dine, for example, is running for the Hingham Education Foundation, a charity that raises money for teachers and schools hoping to fund field trips, various programs, and equipment.  Van Dine has raised $5,000.  “It’s amazing,” he said.  “People you don’t even know will stop you in a store and say, ‘I heard you were running, I want to donate.’”  Runners are crossing the finish line to support other charitable groups as well, including The American Stroke Association, the Special Olympics Massachusetts, and Homes for Our Troops.

(The New York Times)  In New York City, the Bloomberg administration is making massive adjustments in their monetary distribution to nonprofits.  Government reimbursements for New York nonprofits require excessive amounts of paperwork, and many groups lack sufficient funding due to red tape delays.  Michael Zisser, executive director of University Settlement on the Lower East Side, sums up the process with a question: “Have you read Kafka?”  Some are skeptical of the new system, citing a decrease in accountability.  Daniel Bromberg, a professor at Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration, said, “Any time government tries to ‘streamline’ processes or ‘cut red tape,’ we have to question what will be lost from a standpoint of accountability.”  Piles of paperwork required for funding these nonprofits are a product of the Koch administration in the 1980s, when no-bid contracts, influence-peddling, and  the suicide of former Queens borough president Donald R. Manes created a scandal.  Ultra-careful regulations ensued.  The details of the new, simplified system are not yet fully disclosed, but the concept is undoubtedly welcomed by many weary, paperwork-ridden nonprofits.
 

 
Italian aid workers; from left, Matteo Pagani, Marco Garatti (sitting next to his wife) and Matteo Dell’Aira.  Photo by Yasin Dar, Associated Press.

(The Associated Press)  Three Italian Emergency medical workers, Matteo Pagani, Marco Garatti, and Matteo Dell’Aira, have been freed from jail in Afghanistan.   Afghan and British forces discovered explosives and handguns in the Emergency hospital and took action, detaining the aid workers on April 10.  Helmund officials suspected that the Italian aid workers were bribed by the Taliban and storing their weapons, which were meant for an assassination attempt on the governor of Helmund.  All charges against the aid workers have been dropped, however.  Garatti said they were treated well given the circumstances and expressed his relief: “We are happy to be released and to be released with a clean, clear name.”

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