- Product Author
- Martin Morse Wooster
- Capital Research Center
- Publication Date
- Item Number
The Great Philanthropists & the Problem of “Donor Intent”
How can those who create charitable foundations ensure that their wishes will be followed after their deaths? What’s to prevent relatives, lawyers, and foundation officials from ignoring or reinterpreting a donor’s charitable intentions to fit their own plans for the money? The Great Philanthropists and the Problem of “Donor Intent” testifies to the continuing importance of the issue of donor intent.
In this third edition, Capital Research Center Visiting Fellow Martin Morse Wooster offers a fascinating overview of the founding fathers of American philanthropy. He examines the entrepreneurship and charity of Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and others less well known who created vast new wealth and then contemplated what would become of it after they died. In some cases, such as the JM Foundation, Bradley Foundation, and Duke Endowment, the intentions of donors have been upheld. In far too many others, however – including the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Pew Charitable Trusts – donor intent has been disregarded or brazenly violated. Wooster explains why this is the case and offers advice for donors who wish to ensure that their intentions are upheld. W.J. Hume says in the preface, “There is a world of difference between those who earn great wealth and those who are bequeathed great wealth, and then find themselves responsible for spending someone else’s money. Martin Wooster’s recommendations should be carefully considered by those who wish to avoid the pitfalls of modern philanthropy.”
As time goes on most Foundations stray from the original intent of the founder. This is certainly true in the last twenty years, where conservative founders during the early 1900′s left money aimed at specific causes, and now the foundations they funded have become very liberal organizations that do not even try to pretend they are serving the will of the founder. This book goes into problem, but I don’t forsee this problem changing in the near future.