I thought you would be interested the story, “Testing Donor’s Intent, 350 Years Later” from The Wall Street Journal.I have taken a couple of months off from writing my blog. Some of you have asked about my health, attitude, etc. I assure you all is fine. It took a violation of donor intent, now over 350 years old to awaken my writing about philanthropy again.I find myself a bit frustrated with how philanthropy, fundraising and nonprofits are being characterized and managed today. My pronouncements over a year ago about the threats on the charitable deduction are becoming more real every day. Meanwhile, many nonprofit leaders are surprised that the promises of “it won’t happen” continue to be wiped away.My instinct that fundraisers and nonprofits want to raise money get brushed aside in an argument about why rich people have money and have the right to say where it goes.Now this issue has reared its head in Ipswichip, Massachusetts 350 years later.I have written and spoken about fulfilling donor intent for years. Read the article, think about William Payne and what the best ways to fulfill his intent are. Was his intent to preserve the land or help the school? Did he believe the best way to preserve the schools was to preserve the land? Have the trustees of the land trust operated appropriately? And by the way, who is in charge of watching this? Politically ambitious attorney generals?What would you decide about this matter and more importantly, why?It’s not a matter of what you or any other person would have done if you were William Payne. Even from the grave, it is about what he wanted.That’s why it’s called donor intent.
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