Philanthropists | Donor Intent

Philanthropy Roundtable’s “Protecting Donor Intent in Higher Education Grantmaking”

  • Date

    November 19, 2020

  • Time

    2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

  • Location



Higher education can be among the most rewarding and meaningful areas for one’s donor dollars, yet it is the most challenging sector for donor intent and grant compliance. Unless one is careful, college and university administrations may ignore, creatively interpret, disregard, or directly violate your donor intent.

In 2001, Michael Moritz and Ohio State University entered into an endowment agreement under which Michael provided $30.3 million designated for 30 full scholarships to law students each year in perpetuity. Nine months later, Michael was killed by a hit-and-run driver. OSU never provided the 30 annual scholarships, but rather spent the endowment dollars on salaries and expenses to entertain wealthy alumni. Now Jeffrey Moritz is trying to find a way to enforce the endowment agreement between OSU and his father. He moved the probate court to reopen Michael’s estate for that purpose. He sued no one, but OSU and the Ohio Attorney General suddenly appeared at a hearing to oppose reopening the estate, and three years of litigation ensued. The result: The probate court declined to reopen the estate, and the court of appeals affirmed. Jeffrey is deciding whether to seek review in the Ohio Supreme Court.

Led by Joanne Florino, the Adam Meyerson Distinguished Fellow in Philanthropic Excellence and co-author of our donor intent guidebook Protecting Your Legacy, this webinar will discuss the Moritz case and how higher education donors can protect their donor intent and identify potential violations.


Emily Koons Jae, Director, Fund for Academic Renewal, American Council of Trustees and Alumni

David Marburger, Attorney, Marburger Law and Former Colleague of Michael Moritz

Jeffrey Moritz, Son of Michael Moritz

Joanne Florino, Adam Meyerson Distinguished Fellow in Philanthropic Excellence, The Philanthropy Roundtable (Moderator)

*Hosted by Philanthropy Roundtable


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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