In the Sunday Washington Times I came across the column "No Will Power" by Cal Thomas (no doubt it will be posted on Townhall also by Monday morning). Mr. Thomas writes about the descendants of wealthy people who have brought various suits against universities for misapplying the funds from endowments. Rich folks died leaving large sums of money to be used for specific things, and the universities disregard the wishes of such contributors; now we wait to see what the courts will do in these cases.
Part of the column says:
The universities have no right — legal or moral — to use them for anything else. To do so violates the intent and the spirit of the gift and the giver.
There are a lot more cases like these but the operative phrase, as with so many things, is donor beware. Think twice before you give money to any charitable organization or institution — even your alma mater — unless it endorses the Donor Bill of Rights. To do otherwise and to give "in good faith" may have worked in the distant past, but not today. A few precautions can enhance the power of a will.The precedent set by these cases will be relevant to a certain institution here in the United States called the Episcopal Church. Over the last few centuries they have horded up a fortune in endowments from people who had no intention of leaving their money to a wannebe Unitarian cult and ecclesiastical "gay bar" with priestesses who cross dress in men's vestments, and that sings "Anything Goes" instead of "Faith of our Fathers." It is safe to say that most of their endowment money has been misapplied and should be given, to be true to the wishes of those who willed the endowments, to faithful Continuing Anglican churches that still practice the Faith. Only such churches fit the description these people had in mind when leaving money to what the Episcopal Church was- as opposed to the "morphed" organization that bears no resemblance to what these deceased people understood the Church to be.
The thoughts of lawyers, such as Fr. Nalls and Fr. Hollister would be of interest here.