Strings-attached gifts impact organizations' sustainability
February 06, 2013
Nonprofit organizations often rely on funding from foundations and philanthropic contributors to help them build new facilities, fund important programs and cover payroll for the people working in the field every day. However, these generous gifts can sometimes present challenges when they come with long-term provisions, according to The New York Times.
If a donor has made legacy commitment with parameters that don't expire, nonprofits and other organizations can be forced to make difficult decisions down the road - do they honor their donors' wishes or do what's best for the program's sustainability, the source asks. For instance, Fisk University in Tennessee needed to seek court permission to sell a stake in its art collection to stay open, but it ran into static because the collection's donor, Georgia O'Keefe, had given it with the provision that it not be sold.
In another example, John's Hopkins University is facing a roadblock in its attempt to develop a 4.7 million-square-foot research park on campus, which was donated in 1988 by Elizabeth Banks, a farmer and school teacher, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Banks gave the university the 138-acre plot of land in Maryland to protect it from development, but the school's new plans exceed the 1.8 million-square-foot plot of land that was originally set aside for development.
These organizations are making their cases in front of judges to get permission to do what's best for their future outlooks. Nonprofits can similarly assess and demonstrate their financial needs with fund accounting software.