The following is a section of The Philanthropy Roundtable’s extensive Donor Intent Resource Library. Click here to see the full library.
The Philanthropy Roundtable published this guidebook for successful individuals who want to ensure that their intent is followed within the grantmaking organizations they found. It covers every major practical consideration and highlights the best strategies for securing donor intent. Using real-life examples, topics include deciding on a timeframe, defining a mission, choosing philanthropic vehicles, selecting board members, and instituting safeguards, both internally and externally, that will help reinforce donor intent.
Starting a Private Foundation: Carrying Out the Donor’s Intent
by Paul K. Rhoads and Stephanie H. Denby
A classic guide to the nitty-gritty of establishing a foundation that will respect its donor’s intent. Details the benefits and drawbacks of the conventional foundation, tax considerations, choice of location, and many other practical issues. Walks donors through the planning stage, initial funding, and opening meetings, as well as explaining the basics of record-keeping, grant guidelines, and more.
“Why Donors Must Protect Their Philanthropic Principles” by Adam Meyerson
Adam Meyerson highlights the need for Jeff Cain’s Protecting Donor Intent by discussing examples of grantmaking institutions which have strayed from the principles of their initial donors. With this guidebook, The Philanthropy Roundtable hopes to help philanthropists think through the best strategies for carrying out their charitable purposes and core values.
A 70-something philanthropist looks back on what he’s learned, starting with his wobbly beginnings at the family foundation in his 20s. He casts a skeptical eye on perpetuity and warns, “If you don’t have well-thought-through ideas about the focus of your foundation, don’t create it.”
Philanthropic Choice and Donor Intent: Freedom, Responsibility and Public Interest by Curtis W. Meadows Jr.
A long-time veteran of foundation life—who has served as a foundation CEO, trustee, estate planner, and more—explains how various stakeholders view their roles, and also how to build an institutional memory of what motivated the gift and what was expected of the organization in return.
“Daniel C. Searle: 1926-2007” by Kimberly O. Dennis
How one notable philanthropist used both a detailed mission statement and a set of three governing committees to spell out his intent and ensure it would be respected.
“The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Choosing Board Members”
by Jeffrey J. Cain
In this sesssion from the 2010 Annual Meeting of The Philanthropy Roundtable, the president of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation explains why choosing board members may be the most important decision you make. He offers guidance in how to select your trustees carefully and how they can perpetuate themselves after you’re gone.
“Donor Intent: Preserving the Mission of Charitable Foundations” by Lloyd H. Mayer
An experienced lawyer sketches the legal landscape governing foundations and offers guidance on how to structure legal control over a foundation in ways that increase the odds the donor’s intent will be respected after his or her life.
“Putting the ‘Trust’ back in ‘Trustee’” by Edwin J. Feulner
A trustee of South Carolina’s Roe Foundation explains the way its founder selected outside groups to monitor the foundation’s fidelity to his intent, and, if necessary, to sue the foundation if it strays from its founding mission.
More Donor Intent Resources from The Philanthropy Roundtable
Donor Intent Resource Library
- Visit the full resource library to see the best articles, books, and discussions on the topic of donor intent
Protecting Donor Intent by Jeffrey J. Cain
- Get an electronic or print version of this practical guidebook.
- The Philanthropy Roundtable website’s special Donor Intent section where you can find our most recent articles and resources related to protecting donor intent.