Lessons for Donors Considering a Higher Education Legacy Gift

In Philanthropy Daily, Emily Koons Jae offers lessons on legacy giving from a recent case involving a $5 million donation for a stated purpose. From the article:

After a six-month legal battle, the University of Missouri and Hillsdale College have ended a dispute with an anti-climactic resolution. The two institutions agreed to split a gift that Sherlock Hibbs gave to Mizzou in 2002, currently valued at $9.2 million.

Mr. Hibbs, now deceased, donated $5 million to the University of Missouri in his will, with the stated intent of Missouri hiring “dedicated and articulate disciples of the Ludwig von Mises (Austrian) school of economics.” If Missouri were to fail in upholding its end of the arrangement, Mr. Hibbs stated that the money would go to Hillsdale College, a conservative college in Michigan. From emails between Mizzou administrators that were made public by the case, it appears that the University of Missouri sought a way around Mr. Hibbs’ restrictions by simply recasting descriptions of current faculty members in business and marketing. Hillsdale called their bluff and sued.

Ms. Jae serves as Director of the Fund for Academic Renewal, a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) that works closely with higher education donors to design, monitor, and evaluate transformative gifts that meet their philanthropic objectives.