Philanthropists | Philanthropy

Guidebook Advises Donors on Controlling How Their Gifts to Colleges Are Spent

CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION   |  December 18, 1998 by Money & Management

A group of trustees and alumni who favor traditional curricula has released a new guidebook designed to help donors make “intelligent” gifts. 

Described in a news release as “the first book designed to show donors how to avoid pitfalls in their college giving,” The Intelligent Donor’s Guide to College Giving advocates a free-market approach to higher-education philanthropy. “You should be as wise a shopper in your higher education giving as you are in selecting a stock or mutual funds,” the guidebook says. 

Among other things, it explains how donors can control how their gifts are spent. They can give to a specific program or create their own, the book says, and state the purpose of their gifts in writing. The authors also advise donors to find faculty members who will advocate the projects that the benefactors wish to support. Donors should even be willing to go to court, the book says, to insure that institutions do not misuse their gifts. 

The book was written by Jerry L. Martin, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and Anne D. Neal, vice-president and general counsel of the organization. Since its founding, in 1995, the council has been part of a debate over the role that donors and trustees should play in shaping curricula at colleges and universities.


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