Universities and other nonprofit organizations in two dozen states face a frustrating quandary: They might have the money they need to save jobs, offer scholarships, invest in campus technology, or put on a solid schedule of programs--but they face state laws that keep them from using any of the money.

Many colleges and universities are in the same boat as the North Carolina Symphony, which has all the money it needs. But in this economy, the orchestra isn't allowed to touch it.

The value of its endowment stands at nearly $6.9 million, a fund the symphony planned to tap this year to...

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