Sandy and Joan Weill and the $20 Million Gift That Went Awry

philanthropy

From left, Paula Zahn, Sanford Weill, and Joan Weill at the opening night gala of Carnegie Hall’s 116th season, held at the Waldorf Astoria. Credit Christopher Smith for The New York Times

If you take a tour of some of New York’s most notable cultural and medical complexes, you are bound to encounter — and re-encounter — one prominent family name.

There is Weill Cornell Medical College on the Upper East Side, where numerous buildings carry the names of its two longtime benefactors, Joan Weill and her husband, Sanford I. Weill ; the latter was the chairman of its board of overseers until the end of 2014. Across town, there is Weill Recital Hall, the 268-seat theater at Carnegie Hall, named after the couple when Mr. Weill helped lead a $60 million fund-raising drive for the concert center in the mid-’80s.

Farther west and a few blocks down is the Joan Weill Center for Dance – Alvin Ailey’s eight-floor, 12-studio complex, opened in 2005 – which bears the name of its former chairwoman, who stepped down last year. (There is even the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, a theater at Sonoma State University, in Rohnert Park, Calif., and the Joan and Sanford I. Weill pediatric hematology-oncology department at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel).

But one place that will not bear their name is on the campus of Paul Smith’s College, in upstate New York, close to where the couple owns a home. For a brief spell this last year, the school was on the verge of being named Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College, courtesy of a promised $20 million donation from the Weills.

Things there hit a snag. The college was created with money and land bequeathed by its founder, Phelps Smith, to honor his father, a local hotelier. When Phelps died in 1937, his will stipulated that the school be built on the site of the former Paul Smith’s Hotel. The will also required that the institution be “forever known” as Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The college, which has a student body of about 1,000, argued that it was so financially strapped (operating at a loss as recently as 2013) that it needed to be released from this restriction in order to safeguard its future.

While some people immediately objected to the name change, Cathy S. Dove, the college’s president, posted an open letter on the college website, praising the Weills and arguing for the name change.

“Joan and Sandy are presenting us with an opportunity to solidify the long-term financial health of our school,” Dr. Dove wrote. “Joan and Sandy are held in high esteem among the world’s most generous philanthropic and educational circles, and her name will bring us new opportunities to introduce our school to other supporters of higher education.”

But in October, a judge ruled that the college had not offered enough evidence to prove it could not survive financially without a name change and blocked the agreement to do so. A few weeks later, the college announced that the Weills would no longer donate the $20 million.

“It was a naming gift, so without the court allowing us to go forward, there was no money,” said Bob Bennett, Paul Smith’s spokesman. “That was the deal, right from the beginning.”

“I think it’s unfortunate that the Weills are not going to give the money,” Mark Schneider, a lawyer who represented alumni who opposed the name change, told The New York Times after the offer was rescinded. “If they really wanted to give a gift to the school, it shouldn’t be contingent on something as self-glorifying as naming the school after Mrs. Weill. They could have named something else.”

“I find it in sort of bad taste,” he added.

It was an ignominious and messy moment for a couple whose social prominence and philanthropic largess were well known, dating back to when Mrs. Weill and her husband, who is known as Sandy, began to make their ascent up the rungs of the city’s financial and cultural institutions.

The recent setback at Paul Smith’s, and the damage it seemingly has done to the couple’s reputation, is largely undeserved, friends say.

The theater producer Daryl Roth, who has gotten to know Mrs. Weill at Alvin Ailey, cautioned that one possible misstep in a lifetime of charitable giving should not cement a reputation that took more than 60 years to build.

“They’re really good people,” she said of the couple. “It upsets me when there’s this kind of finger-pointing.”

“They have been basically excellent examples of people who were fortunate enough to succeed and used it for the betterment of society,” said Kenneth J. Bialkin, who is on the board of directors at Carnegie Hall, and was Mr. Weill’s legal counsel for much of his 50-year career in the financial services industry.

Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Weill would respond to several requests for comment, nor did most of the people associated with the institutions they have contributed to over the years.

If Mr. and Mrs. Weill have given back an enormous amount, it is partly because they know what it is like not to have the world handed over on a silver platter.

Mr. Weill grew up in Brooklyn in the 1940s. His father, Max, ran a dressmaking business and then a steel importing company. His mother, Etta, was a housewife. Max’s successes were overshadowed by financial setbacks. The marriage to Etta frayed, before resulting in divorce. Max was constantly spending too much money on clothes and cars.

As a teenager, Mr. Weill was determined not to be like his father, but he also shared with him a propensity to get too close to the sun, alternating between tremendous self-discipline and moments of sloppiness.

 Weill Cornell Medical College, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Credit Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times

Weill Cornell Medical College, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Credit Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times

Faced with dropping grades as a teenager, he was shipped off to military school, where he shaped up and got into Cornell University, according to his 2006 memoir, “The Real Deal: My Life in Business and Philanthropy.” At Cornell, he joined a fraternity, began driving around in a yellow convertible and nearly flunked out during his freshman year.

While on spring break two years later, Mr. Weill received a phone call from his aunt. There was a new girl in the neighborhood who had recently come East from California. Her name was Joan Mosher. She was studying at Brooklyn College and living nearby with her parents.

As he recalled in his autobiography, when he showed up at her doorstep on April 1, 1954, for their first date, her mother looked him up and down, and then walked off to tell her daughter that perhaps she should wear flats instead of heels, so as not to loom over her date.

But the evening went well, and the following year the couple married at a ceremony at the Essex House before 50 friends and family members. Mr. Weill’s father didn’t show up.

At this point, Mr. Weill didn’t exactly have a career plan. But one day, he passed a stock brokerage where the sputtering ticker tape and clanging phones immediately attracted him. So he got a $150-a-month job as a runner at Bear Stearns and began studying to get his brokerage license, which he obtained in 1956.

In the 1960s, Mr. Weill formed the securities firm Carter, Berlind, Potoma & Weill with his friends Arthur Carter, Roger Berlind and Peter Potoma.

As it grew over the next two decades, gobbling up other brokerages and ultimately becoming Shearson Loeb Rhoades, Mr. Weill had a fireplace installed in his office on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center, smoking cigars between meals at the company’s lavish dining room, where, according to Monica Langley’s biography “Tearing Down the Walls,” there was a painting featuring Mr. Weill shaking hands with Gerald Ford.

Mrs. Weill, meanwhile, became a trusted adviser to her husband, one his employees came to respect. “It was clear Sandy shared all his concerns and plans and problems with her,” Mr. Bialkin said. “He would never make an important decision without talking it over with her.”

In 1982, Mr. Weill joined the board of Carnegie Hall shortly after selling his company to American Express for close to $1 billion.

With the merger complete, he was due to become the new company’s president. But it didn’t go well, and he wound up being pushed out, gradually stripped of power with nothing but an empty office and a lone assistant.

During his next year of unemployment – before he started building another securities firm into the colossus that became Citigroup – Carnegie Hall served as his unofficial clubhouse.

There, he led the steering committee for the organization that went on to raise $60 million for the restoration of Carnegie Hall, $2.5 million of which came from the Weills’ own pocket. When the renovation was complete, the name on its smaller 268-seat theater became the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall.

At a fall gala in 1986, Mr. and Mrs. Weill beamed as they were name-checked from the stage in between performances by Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Vladimir Horowitz and Leonard Bernstein.

“Somehow,” Mr. Weill later wrote in his memoir, “it felt even better to give money away than it had to earn it in the first place.”

So they did more of it.

“They’re spectacular,” said Herbert Pardes, the former chief executive of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “They’re smart as can be, they’re generous as can be, and they’ve been involved. What they did there was not from a distance.”

Still, there were detractors, particularly during the aughts, when the couple received a torrent of negative press for what occasionally seemed like self-serving behavior on the boards on which they served, and when Citigroup nearly collapsed during the financial crisis of 2008.

For Mrs. Weill, the association with Paul Smith’s College – one that had grown over 20 years, during which the couple contributed $10 million for a new library and a student center (both of which were named for her) and raised millions more from other donors – was seen by many as a measure to cement a legacy of her own, one on par with  that of her more flamboyant, better-known husband.

But it was not to be.

“The Weills are really wonderful people, and I know they’re disappointed.” said Dr. Dove, the college’s president. “I’m disappointed. Honestly, in every conversation I’ve had with them they’ve continued to say we care about the students, and I don’t think that will ever change.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/20/fashion/sandy-and-joan-weill-and-the-20-million-gift-that-went-awry.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2F2015-year-in-styles&action=click&contentCollection=style&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=collection&_r=0

 

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime. To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

Paper Trail: An Abundant Gore Vidal Collection Gets Archived

How a mess of papers becomes a priceless archive. —By Eugenia Williams

Boston Magazine | March 2014

philanthropy, philanthropic gifts When Gore Vidal gave his manuscripts, notes, and letters to Harvard in 2002, Houghton Library – home to a number of noteworthy archives – so impressed the author that he bequeathed his entire $37 million estate to the university upon his death.  As Vidal’s gift wends its way through the legal system (his half-sister has challenged his will), some of his papers sit in boxes waiting to be catalogued in the basement office of Houghton curator, Leslie Morris.  Here, Morris explains how a collection like Vidal’s makes the journey from boxes of stuff to researchable archive.

1.

While the tax code once allowed living authors to claim a deduction for their donated archives, these days a Nobel laureate’s draft is worth no more to the IRS than the paper it’s printed on. This legal change has forced curators to purchase collections through dealers—driving prices up so high that even Harvard must sometimes pay in installments to afford them. Some authors might even occasion a fundraising effort, as was the case with John Updike, whose papers the university bought for an undisclosed sum in 2009.image of post cards, letters and cup of coffer, philanthropy

 2.

A good archive reflects its author’s inner life. Updike’s contains items that factored into his novels, including hospital pamphlets, postcards, and a bag of Keystone Corn Chips. Not everything makes the cut: “We do like to have some personal objects,” Morris says, but not all. “We don’t have room.”

3.

philanthropy, man standing in front of pile of boxesWhen an archive arrives at the library, Morris and her colleagues roughly sort it into boxes. Hence the present disordered state of Gore Vidal’s papers, which came to Harvard in nearly 400 cartons. Once an archive is catalogued, anything can happen. Warren Beatty was once spotted in the Houghton reading room hunched over the papers of Harvard alum John Reed, whom he played in Reds. But Morris says that researchers shouldn’t fear hunky actors: “It doesn’t happen here all that often, I have to say.”

 4.philanthropy, boxes with a checkbox on one and a circle with a line in it.

Just because someone gives Harvard his or her manuscripts free of charge doesn’t mean its libraries will accept them. Morris says that Houghton regularly rejects papers that don’t fit within its collections. So how do they decline them? “Gently.”

Source:  Boston Magazine – entire article can be found here: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2014/03/04/gore-vidal-archive/

 

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

A Mother’s Last Gift to Her Children May Be a Legacy Video

non-profits, philanthropyThis recent Wall Street Journal article by Jeanne Whalen really touched me.  What an incredible gift to ‘leave’ your family.

Just So You Know, Thru My Eyes Are Nonprofits That Create Legacy Videos at No Cost to Patients

Before she died of cancer in 2011 at age 43, Michelle Wallace recorded a legacy video for her newborn son. Her daughter, Kallie Greenly, talks about making the video with her mother. Photo: Ben Sklar for The Wall Street Journal

The day Michelle Wallace gave birth to her fourth child, her doctors discovered she was suffering from an advanced case of endometrial cancer.

Ms. Wallace worried she was going to die before her newborn son, Toby, grew up. “Her biggest fear was that he was not going to remember her,” says Kallie Greenly, Ms. Wallace’s adult daughter. So before she died in 2011 at age 43, Ms. Wallace recorded a 17-minute video for her son, talking about her life, her idea of happiness and how she wanted to be remembered.

It is a step more terminally ill patients are taking these days, either on their own or with the help of nonprofit groups specializing in what are called “legacy videos.” Just So You Know, the group that recorded Ms. Wallace’s footage, offers its services free to patients at hospitals and cancer-patient conferences. Another nonprofit group, Thru My Eyes, records videos free in patients’ homes.

“I think there’s a sense of relief” for patients who make the videos, says Danielle Gagner, a physician assistant at White Plains Hospital in New York who helps guide breast-cancer patients through treatment. “I think they feel they’ve left something for their family members, so they’re at peace with that.”

Diana Nash, a bereavement counselor in New York City, says the videos can give children and other relatives a lasting memento of a loved one. Still, she says, “sometimes it’s hard for family members to see a video in the first couple of months after a person has died, because it’s just too soon. They’re still in shock, they’re still numb.” Legacy videos also can sometimes contain painful messages, overbearing advice or wishes that the children don’t feel they can carry out.

Research has shown that improvements in mental health and general well-being can result when people have the chance to tell their stories. In numerous studies, subjects who completed a daily writing exercise reported feeling more positive and less anxious, sleeping better and visiting the doctor less often, according to James Pennebaker, chairman of the psychology department at the University of Texas, Austin. There has been less research on the effects of videotaped expression, he says.

Kallie Greenly, 25, appears in the legacy video that her mother, Michelle Wallace, in photo at rear, created for Toby, age 5, before she died. Ben Sklar for The Wall Street Journal

Ms. Wallace decided to make her video on the spur of the moment, after coming upon a Just So You Know display at a conference for cancer patients in 2010, says Ms. Greenly, 25, of Refugio, Texas, who appears with her mother in the video. Robin Weinberg, who founded Just So You Know in 2008, gave the two women a list of suggested discussion topics and left them alone in the taping room at the conference.

In the video, a teary-eyed Ms. Greenly asks her mother about happiness, her faults and strengths, her heroes and even her favorite curse word. Asked what she would like people to remember her for, Ms. Wallace tears up, too. “How much I love my family,” she says. “I know if I die before Toby is old enough to remember me, that’s the one thing I would want everybody to share, is just how much I love my family.”

Ms. Wallace died seven months later, when Toby was 2. She never watched the video but was relieved to have made it and put it in a keepsake box for Toby, her daughter says. Toby, now 5, recently watched the video, according to his father, Glen Bullock.

He says Toby recognized his mother but isn’t sure what other impact it had on him, as Toby is still young. “He was just like, that’s my mom!” says Ms. Greenly. “I know that as he gets older it’ll be more important to him, more special.”

Just So You Know, based in Westport, Conn., and Thru My Eyes, in Scarsdale, N.Y., operate mainly in the Northeast but also have helped people make legacy videos elsewhere in the country.

Just So You Know, which makes videos for cancer patients at every stage of disease, charges hospitals and conferences a fee to cover its costs. Thru My Eyes relies on donations and grants. Both offer their services at no charge to patients.

Some hospitals tell patients about the video opportunity when their diagnosis reaches an advanced stage. Health-care professionals say the topic must be raised carefully. “It is very delicate.…I have to establish trust with patients to broach this,” says Eileen Heller, a social worker at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. “Almost always the patients are emotional about it because they’re directly confronting the fact they won’t be alive to raise their children.”

Ms. Heller refers willing patients to Thru My Eyes, founded in 2010 by Carri Rubinstein, a 22-year breast-cancer survivor. Ms. Rubinstein says she got the idea after meeting a cancer patient at her gym who wanted to make a video for her child.

With grants from donors including the Countess Moira Charitable Foundation, based in Pelham, N.Y., Thru My Eyes has made some 40 videos so far in patients’ homes.

Sometimes the group lends families video cameras so they can capture meals, bath time and other everyday rituals for the video.

Sometimes Ms. Rubinstein interviews patients on tape. Other times family members or a psychiatrist volunteers with Thru My Eyes. One patient who was too frail to get up from her hospital bed spoke for 2½ hours, though her family thought she couldn’t go for more than 15 minutes, Ms. Rubinstein said.

Not every patient making a video has young children. Natalie Corbo recorded a video with Thru My Eyes before she died of breast cancer in 2012, when her children were in their 30s. Her daughter, Faith Corbo, now 34, watched the DVD about three months after her mother passed away. She says it is “one of the best gifts” she has ever received.

Ms. Corbo says she was struggling in her marriage at the time her mother made the video. “She, in a very diplomatic way, commented on my husband maybe not being the best choice for me, but that we were working very hard and she supported me in all my endeavors,” Ms. Corbo says. She ended up getting a divorce before her mother died.

Ralph Corbo, Faith’s father, says he has watched the video of his late wife twice. “You do put yourself through it again and of course you’re looking at your lover and loved one and listening to her voice,” he says of the experience. “It is real, which is different from a photograph.”

Write to Jeanne Whalen at jeanne.whalen@wsj.com  Click here for the article online!

Chinese Government Creates Philanthropy Partnership with Rockefeller Foundation

philanthropyIn the January 2014 issue of Town & Country Magazine there is an interesting article about Chinese philanthropy.

It points out that in the US, major foundations are rushing to give it all away and Chinese philanthropists are more closely following the Rockefeller style of philanthropy.

Members of the Rockefeller family and Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, traveled to Bejing to meet with potential Chinese billionaires. Unlike the foundations that are moving toward sun setting at definite times, The Rockefeller Foundation has laid out plans that will take it well into its second century.

As the article notes, the Chinese government has recently started allowing private charities to act in concert with government initiatives for improving the environment. It will be very interesting to see what the Rockefeller/Bejiing partnership brings.

 Source: Town & Country Magazine

 

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com

James Pierson Responds to – Robert Wilson & Bill Gates Philanthropy Differences

philanthropyWe recently posted about how Robert Wilson and Bill Gates differ on philanthropy.  Here’s an article by

James Pierson, president of the William E. Simon Foundation that goes a step further: 

Donate to causes you care about, think long term, and remember it’s your money.

As is clear from the exchange (between Wilson and Gates), Wilson did not care whether his giving made him popular. But it is becoming harder and harder for philanthropists to take the kind of stand that he did. There are various pressures being placed on philanthropists to join the herd. The arm-twisting comes not only from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, but from state and local governments, professional staffs of various foundations and, of course, academics.

So here are a few things that people starting out in philanthropy might want to keep in mind, especially if they can’t wait until middle age to start:

• When it comes time to donate, don’t think that you are “giving back,” because you haven’t taken anything in the first place. The vast majority of Americans who become wealthy have not done so by exploiting the poor. Nor have they simply lived off their family’s fortune.

Two-hundred seventy-three people on the 2013 Forbes 400 list earned their wealth through businesses they started or invested in. And making all that money had many positive benefits for society. Thanks to the technology developed by Bill Gates or the inexpensive goods available to people who shop at Wal-MartWMT -0.12% or the salaries paid by Facebook, FB +3.14% America benefits from the contributions of wealthy individuals before they give away a dime.

• Find a cause that interests you, learn more about it, and then give. This may sound obvious, but the fashionable advice in philanthropic circles is to give to charities that don’t interest you. Princeton’s bioethicist Peter Singer argues that donors should not give to higher education or arts institutions until every poor or handicapped person has been given needed assistance. A recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, “Donors Should Give Based on Need, Not on Personal Interests or Whims,” makes the same point.

By that logic, Andrew Carnegie should have spent his funds on the needy instead of building libraries and Carnegie Hall. Stripped of subtleties, the point is that philanthropy should become an adjunct of the welfare state, a thoroughly mindless injunction.

• Think about the long term. Of course, philanthropists should measure results like businesses do. But unlike profit-making enterprises, foundations can wait to see the effects of their giving 10, 20 or 30 years into the future. Philanthropy conferences are filled with people who want to help you “benchmark” the effects of your charitable dollars. But donors can have more patience to find out where their interests lie and what strategies might offer the best results.

• It’s your money, not public money. Many advocates say that because of the charitable tax deduction, government has a right to direct donations to politically-favored causes. In their view, charitable gifts are a form of public money because otherwise (absent the deduction) the charity money would have been used to pay taxes. In New York City, newly installed mayor Bill de Blasio wants to force the Central Park Conservancy to redistribute its charitable funds to other public parks, even though these gifts were made for the sole purpose of maintaining Central Park.

Beginning in the 1960s, some foundations began to take on the role of a shadow government working with public officials to promote new programs such as urban renewal, the expansion of welfare, and race and gender preferences in higher education. But as government expanded it also became beholden to interest groups.

The great advantage of private philanthropy is that it is independent and not beholden to the interests that have turned government into an inflexible behemoth. Why would anyone think it is a good idea to turn philanthropy into a mirror image of the federal government? Some of the most important contributions of philanthropists, such as privately funded school vouchers, have come about by challenging government monopolies or circumventing inefficient governments.

• Find people you trust to help give away your money. There have been moves across the country to get philanthropists to “diversify” their boards and staffs. Groups like Philanthropy New York, a professional group of foundations, release reports about the lack of racial, ethnic, gender or sexual-orientation diversity on philanthropic boards. Other groups want to find ways for the government to exert more pressure and make philanthropy more “representative” of the nation as a whole. They are especially critical of family-oriented foundations with family members, friends and associates on their boards.

This is but another version of the same bad idea: Let’s turn foundations into political institutions in which funds are allocated by some representative formula. Young philanthropists are better off picking people they know and trust rather than taking orders from the philanthropic elite.

There is a world of people in government and the nonprofit sector who see philanthropists as fools easily parted from their money. Robert Wilson may have been right that it is prudent to wait till one is older to become a philanthropist. It may make you better able to resist such pressures. But don’t wait too long.

As Sir John Templeton, one of the wisest philanthropists of the 20th century once said, “If you’re giving while you’re living, you’re knowing where it’s going.”

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

Groups Pledge $330 Million to Save Detroit’s Art Collection

By Matthew Dolan for the Wall Street Journal

Update to an article I posted in December…

philanthropy, DetroitDETROIT—A judge has found a way for Detroit to sell masterworks by van Gogh, Bruegel and Michelangelo without letting them out of sight.

The proposal by the judge, who is mediating Detroit’s bankruptcy case, got a $330 million boost Monday after some of the nation’s leading foundations publicly pledged to try to prevent a fire sale of city-owned art.

The so-called grand bargain has attracted nine foundations that have promised to help pay the city and place the holdings of the Detroit Institute of Arts into the hands of a new nonprofit public trust. In turn, the city could use the proceeds to help make up the shortfall in its municipal pension system, estimated by Detroit’s emergency manager at $3.5 billion.

The concept was hatched by Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen for the Eastern District of Michigan. He was appointed mediator by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes in the city’s Chapter 9 case filed in July, with an estimated $18 billion in long-term obligations. A recent valuation of the city-purchased portion of the DIA collection estimated it was worth as much as $866 million.

In many ways, the philanthropic rescue mission tapped into the connection between the Motor City and some of the nation’s largest foundations, including the Ford Foundation, started by the family behind the auto maker.

“It’s extraordinary. Honestly, the magnitude is the kind of response that you only see in the wake of disasters,” said Larry McGill, vice president for research at the Foundation Center, a nonprofit that tracks patterns of foundation giving.

Judge Rosen has had separate talks with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and foundation presidents, people familiar with the matter said. The judge briefed foundation leaders in a conference call Saturday before releasing his first public statement on the fundraising Monday.

“We kind of feel the weight of history because it’s the biggest case of its kind and we feel the need to get it right,” said a person involved in the talks.

So far, the state hasn’t committed any funds for the plan, though Mr. Snyder, a Republican, expressed some support for the idea.

Mr. Orr said in a statement Monday, “This is a very important step, but there is still much work to do.”

Without a bailout, there is growing fear that potential lawsuits over a possible sale of the art and a dispute over cuts to pension payments would help tie up the Detroit bankruptcy case for months, if not years, people familiar with the matter said.

Originally, Judge Rosen estimated that the art deal required $500 million in outside support. But since meetings began in November, the judge has indicated that the number is expected to grow, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Leading the pack among philanthropic groups is Ford, expected to commit $125 million to save the art, according to two people familiar with the matter. Other pledges include $100 million from the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich., a group that developed an urban renewal master plan for Detroit last year, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has promised $30 million, the largest gift in the group’s history, while the Michigan-based William Davidson Foundation has pledged $25 million.

But hurdles remain as the parties involved race to finish talks before the city completes a plan, expected as early as next week, to cut debt, pay off creditors and reinvest in crime- and blight-reduction efforts. In the past, Mr. Orr has said that all of the city’s assets, including its art collection, could be sold to pay creditors. Among philanthropic leaders’ outstanding concerns is a desire to protect a new regional tax that provides operating funds for the museum.

For the deal to work, unions and pension funds would likely need to agree on the shortfall in future pension payments and stop their legal challenges over whether the city is allowed to cut pension payments at all under the state Constitution. It is also possible that other creditors may balk at the deal, questioning why the city’s pension funds should be paid back while there is no deal to repay unsecured bondholders.

 

Source:  Wall Street Journal wsj.com

 

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

Ryan O’Neal can keep Farrah Fawcett portrait, jury says

By Ann O’Neill, CNN

Here’s an update on an article I posted in mid-December.

STORY HIGHLIGHTSFarrah Fawcett, estate planning, philanthropy

  • Jury’s verdict comes after three-week trial involving celebrity testimony
  • Pop artist Andy Warhol painted two portraits of Farrah Fawcett
  • University of Texas received one after the actress’ death in 2009
  • School sued Ryan O’Neal, her on-again, off-again partner of 30 years, for other portrait

Los Angeles (CNN) — Actor Ryan O’Neal can keep an Andy Warhol portrait of his longtime love, “Charlie’s Angels” star Farrah Fawcett, a jury has found.

O’Neal underwent minor surgery to remove a skin cancer lesion and was not in court when the Los Angeles jury returned the verdict at 3:25 p.m. PT on Thursday.

But his lawyer, Marty Singer, said the actor was elated he did not have to hand the portrait over to the University of Texas. The university had claimed Fawcett left the portrait in her will.

The verdict was reached shortly after O’Neal’s testimony was read to the jury again. He testified Warhol gave him one portrait and Fawcett another in 1980. The verdict indicated that nearly all of the jurors found his testimony credible.

The decision was not unanimous. But O’Neal needed to convince just nine of the 12 jurors to prevail.

The jury of six men and six women began their deliberations on a Monday afternoon in December. Most of them are too young to remember O’Neal’s 1970 tearjerker movie “Love Story,” Fawcett’s 1976 television hit series “Charlie’s Angels” or the era when they reigned at the top of Hollywood’s A list. Back then, People magazine was on the rise, and nobody had heard of reality shows, TMZ or Twitter.

Source:  Los Angeles CNN

 

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

Donations to Restore Rome’s Colosseum Encourages Corporate Philanthropy

corporate philanthropy, philanthropyTo Rome, With Love is a recent Wall Street Journal article highlighting the funding of the restoration of the Colosseum in Rome by Diego Della Valle, the billionaire president and CEO of the luxury group Tod’s.

His group has contracted to give $25million Euros to this endeavor. This gift is nearly half of the government’s entire budget for projects of this type. In 2009 Rome’s mayor began to solicit private corporate donations for the restoration, packaging it as corporate sponsorships.

Originally 20 companies were interested. In the end Tod’s beat out the Irish airline Ryannair for sponsorship of this restoration because Tod’s agreed not to use it for advertising. The Ryannair proposal wrapped the Coliseum in advertising banners. The Tod’s donation has sparked controversy over a “rights of image” clause that allows Tod’s use of the Colosseum for preapproved corporate events.

A member of the Ministry of Culture is quoted in the article as saying that most of the debate is occurring because Italy has almost no culture of private philanthropy and few rules to regulated it. Private funding of public cultural endeavors is very rare and for much lower amounts, and there has been no precedent for a donation like this one.

The Italian consumer protection agency, Codacons, tied up the agreement in court for two years because they were concerned that the use for preapproved corporate events could be used to smear logos over the Colosseum. The court dismissed Codacons case saying it did not have legal standing to test the contract. The funds were unused for two years and the restoration plan is now underway. The controversy has sparked additional corporate philanthropy in Italy – Fendi has now agreed to restore the Trevi Fountain and Diesel has pledged to restore Venice’s Rialto Bridge.

Della Valle noted that not only is private funding of Italy’s enormous cultural legacy of profound social value, it employs Italian citizens, tourists will continue to enjoy the historic sites and the Italian economy will be better for it.

Read entire article:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303914304579193891982221478

 

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

Could Detroit’s Sale of Museum Art Become a National Tragedy?

Detroit Institute of ArtsIn a December 10th Wall Street Journal article “Delusions in Detroit” highlights the unique pressure brought on the Detroit Institute of Art to bail out Detroit by selling part of its very valuable art collection.

The Bankruptcy Court approved the city’s Chapter 9 filing and allowed the emergency manager to proceed with his restructuring plan, including selling art even though that plan exceeded the emergency manager’s goal of getting $500 million from the museum.

This is unprecedented and as the article points out violates two cardinal principles of museum ethics: the doctrine that museums hold art in trust for future generations and that therefore artworks may be sold only to purchase more art.

The article points out that no U.S. museum has ever been pressed to bail out its hometown and stresses that part of the plan is delusional. It gives specific examples and stresses that the museum’s art must be treated like all other city assets (for example Belle Isle which houses the aquarium and yacht club has been taken off the table), the delusion that the museum could easily part with some of its 66,000 artworks (the article points out that of the 2,871 pieces evaluated for sale, 75% of the value lies in 11 pieces of art) and other U.S. museums will buy the art to keep it in public view (the article points out that most museums do not have the capital to do this).

The article posits two possible solutions. One is that $500million be raised from foundations to buy the art and the second is that the State of Michigan buy the art and transfer the ownership from the City of Detroit to the State of Michigan.

So far neither of those options seem feasible and Judith Dobryznksi, the author of the article, notes that Midchiganders might remember that in the 1920s and 1930s the cash hungry Soviets sold off Russia’s art treasures dispersing them to other countries. Today that episode is viewed as a national tragedy. I know I will be watching this story very closely as it unfolds.

Read entire article:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304096104579242490968248588

 

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

How to Start Your Own College Scholarship

Naming rights and deductions vary, but donors are increasing.

In late October, the Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on starting your own scholarship funds and notes that donors are on the rise… education is the back bone of success in this country and it is a wonderful reminder of the importance of establishing scholarship funds.  Here’s the article:

By Anne Tergesen

When Margie Fegley retired from the James E. Fegley Violin Shop in April, she started a scholarship fund to honor her late husband, James.

Ms. Fegley, age 69, who sold the family business making and repairing string instruments, plans to give away $2,500 a year in perpetuity to a music student in the area with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. “We always talked about doing something to help local students pursue careers in music,” says the Reading, Pa., resident.

Reacting to the rising cost of college, growing numbers of individuals are starting their own scholarships, some with as little as $1,000. The Reading-based Berks County Community Foundation, which administers Ms. Fegley’s $50,000 grant, handles 90 such funds, up from 62 in 2008. Similarly, the number of scholarship funds at the San Diego Foundation and the Arizona Community Foundation has risen 23% and 60%, respectively, since 2008.

James Fegley violin shopJames Fegley in the mid-1980s in his Reading, Pa., violin shop. His wife recently set up a college scholarship in his memory for music students from the Reading area. The Reading Eagle

Of course, altruism is only part of the equation. Helping young adults attend college can yield tax breaks for the charitably inclined. If you are thinking about creating a scholarship, there are several points to keep in mind.

Donors who want help starting a scholarship can outsource some or all of the work to a college or one of a growing number of nonprofits with expertise in scholarship administration. What is right for you will depend on factors including the type of student you want to help, how much you want to give away, and how much say you want to have in picking the winners.

Those with $1 million or more to give away may want to consider establishing a private foundation. As long as the Internal Revenue Service approves the foundation’s gift-giving procedures, the donor can maintain control over who receives the grants, says Karen Leaffer, a Denver lawyer who specializes in nonprofit law. But in addition to being costly to set up and run, private foundations limit donors’ annual tax deductions to 30% of adjusted gross income for cash contributions and to 20% for gifts of property.

Those willing to work with an existing public charity can get naming rights for donations of as little as $1,000. They also pay lower fees and can deduct more—as much as 50% of adjusted gross income for donations of cash and up to 30% for other assets, says Ms. Leaffer. The hitch: The donor—and his or her relatives and business associates—can have only a minority vote in the selection of the scholarship recipient, says Ms. Leaffer.

Many donors choose to work with colleges and universities. For endowed scholarships, which are intended to last forever, Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio requires at least $50,000. At Texas A&M University,philanthropy, philanthropic gifts the minimum is $25,000. Oberlin, which waives fees, also extends naming rights to those who give $2,500 or more annually for at least three years, says Kassy Wyman, director of development operations.

While many colleges allow donors to specify broad preferences for who will receive their money (for example, math majors from Michigan), many bar them from participating in the selection process. “The awarding of scholarships is handled by our financial aid team, who utilize a complex program to match up students to funds in the most optimal way,” says Ms. Wyman.

If, like Ms. Fegley, your goal is to help students from a specific area, such as your hometown, consider giving the money through a community foundation. While Ms. Fegley will help choose the winner of the Jim and Margie Fegley Orchestral String Scholarship, she is legally required to be in the minority on the selection committee, says Kevin Murphy, president of the Berks County Community Foundation.

Some state agencies administer scholarship programs—the Oregon Student Access Commission and Vermont Student Assistance Corp., among them. These organizations primarily publicize their scholarships in the communities they serve, so some donors use groups with national reach. For example, Scholarship America, a nonprofit based in Minneapolis, administers grant programs for corporations and individuals.

Source:  Ms. Tergesen is a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal in New York. She can be reached at encore@wsj.com.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently announced the release of an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  Annino’s book is an exhortation, resource and trusted companion for women in all facets of life.  To purchase the book visit:  http://amzn.to/hOHuEV or for more about Annino, visit: www.patriciaannino.com

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