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"If you're giving while you're living, you're knowing where it's going"

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has published a short book, "The Intelligent Donor's Guide to College Giving," that lays out some basic ground rules for donating to higher education. These include placing clear restrictions on gifts, working with a particular professor (and, if possible, bypassing the development office) and avoiding endowments in perpetuity. As Sir John Templeton wisely said: "If you're giving while you're living, you're knowing where it's going."

Obviously, this sort of due diligence does require time and effort on the part of the donor, But if even a few more philanthropists were watching where their funds ended up, college officials would surely monitor their programs more carefully. There have been a few celebrated cases in recent years in which donors have asked for their funds to be returned after discovering that they were misused, and these cases have sent a shudder through the academic community.


For the full commentary, see:

JAMES PIERESON. "Only Encouraging Them." The Wall Street Journal (Fri., November 18, 2005): W13.




Comments

On the front page of the wall street journal yesterday (2/7) there was a story about Stanford misappropriating money from a donor and then lying in an attempt to cover it up. In this instance the better argument is to give directly while you're alive because restrictive uses didn't seem to matter.

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