What is an Endowment
Grantmaking and Gift Planning

What is an Endowment?

Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th ed., defines an endowment as: A gift of money or property to an institution (such as a university) for a specific

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Top Five Nonprofit Legal Risks

Too often, we see nonprofits signing contracts that are presented to them by vendors without appropriate legal review. Many vendors use form contracts that are extremely one sided in the vendor’s favor on the theory that many clients will sign whatever is given to them without scrutinizing the terms.

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Managing Donor Restricted Gifts

Giving donors the power to restrict their gifts for a specific purpose or program or to restrict the timing and amount of expenditures can be a powerful giving incentive. Restrictions give donors comfort that their gift will be used as they envision.

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jargon buster: doctrine of cy pres
Grantmaking and Gift Planning

Nonprofit Law Jargon Buster: What is the Cy Pres Doctrine?

From time to time, charities are faced with what to do with a restricted gift when the terms of the donor’s restriction can no longer be fulfilled. The doctrine of cy pres permits the courts to modify the charitable purpose of a charitable trust to a purpose that reasonably approximates the designated purpose, where the designated charitable purpose becomes unlawful, impossible, or impracticable to carry out or where it becomes wasteful to apply all of the property to the designated purpose.

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Permanent Endowment = Infinity and Beyond

Most non-profits understand that if a fund is a permanent endowment, the principal must be preserved in perpetuity. Still, in my practice I am often surprised by how little some fundraising professionals understand about the mechanics of gift restrictions – particularly the implications of permanent restrictions and legal meaning of the term endowment.

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How to Start a Non-Profit Organization

Download our free guide to learn about the many elements needed to run a successful nonprofit organization, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes.