Advancement Services Report

Provided as a service of Bentz Whaley Flessner

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Donors Seek Restrictions On Big Money Gifts

Recent disputes regarding the actual intent of donors for gifts given long ago has roiled such institutions as Princeton, Tulane, and Randolph College in Virginia. Now, donors are banding together to get advice on how best to place restrictions on gifts so they are used specifically and narrowly.

This article in the
Wall Street Journal by John Hechinger reports that a new Indianapolis-based Center for Excellence in Higher Education has been formed to advise donors on how best to restrict their gifts. We need to take heed of this movement, and not only be vigilant on the usage of the gifts, but also to be sure that the gifts are legally gifts, or if the restrictions on the gift negate the charitable intent.

Big-Money Donors Move to Curb Colleges' Discretion to Spend Gifts
By John Hechinger
September 18, 2007; Page B1

For generations, wealthy alumni have donated big money to their alma maters with near-religious devotion. But some blue-chip donors are no longer willing to give merely on faith.

In an initiative to be announced today, several philanthropists -- including Bernard Marcus, the billionaire founder of Home Depot Inc., and investor John Templeton, who made a fortune running mutual funds -- are launching a nonprofit that will advise donors on how to attach legally enforceable conditions to their gifts.

The new Indianapolis-based Center for Excellence in Higher Education aims to curb colleges' discretion in spending donors' contributions. The three foundations backing the center -- those founded by Messrs. Marcus and Templeton and the John William Pope Foundation -- have about $1.25 billion in assets and have made $585 million in gifts over the past five years.


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