Giving Ventures Podcast: Preserving Donor Intent

Foundations, Universities Drifting from Original Values

Numerous charitable foundations — created thanks to the wealth generated by titans of industry exercising their talents in a capitalist society — have drifted from the values espoused by the very people whose talents and entrepreneurial drive gave rise to the charitable foundations.

Instead, those same charitable foundations seek to overturn the freedoms that pave the way for industry and prosperity. Similarly, universities have drifted from the values they originally espoused and today fail to adequately denounce the antisemitism rampant on college campuses.

There is still a way, however, for charitable givers to protect their donor intent and make sure their charitable dollars — for as long as they last — go toward endeavors that align with a givers’ deeply held beliefs and personal values.

William E. Simon ‘Made It Very Clear’ He Wanted Foundation to Sunset

Take, for example, the William E. Simon Foundation. Established in 1967 by William Edward Simon, a Nixon appointee and successful businessman, the foundation supports Catholic charities, education freedom and other liberty-minded programs that reflect Simon’s values.

“Dad was a man who expressed his opinions very clearly, and he was a leader in so many ways, and a great example for his children, of which I’m one of seven. So, in terms of his intent, he made it very clear to us … exactly how he wanted his foundation to operate after he died,” says Bill Simon, so of William E. Simon.

One of Simon’s wishes was that — after his death — his foundation “sunset.” In other words, he wanted the board after his death to finish granting out any remaining charitable dollars and ensure the dollars go exclusively toward charities that help people help themselves.

“We knew that dad, later in his life, had begun to focus more and more on — I might call it — person-to-person contact — initiatives that related to family, faith and education. He’d been a huge public figure, had been active in expressing his opinions on a variety of public-policy issues. So, we knew that he would have loved to focus a little bit on the policy.

Simon’s seven children sit on the board of directors at their father’s foundation. James Piereson, a DonorsTrust board member, likewise sits on the board at the William E. Simon Foundation and is an “extraordinary counselor” to the family and a “world-class [policy] expert,” adds Simon.

“[M]ostly we focused on helping people — helping people help themselves, consistent with dad’s idea that personal responsibility was a pillar of his own personal philosophy,” Simon says of him and his siblings’ faithful stewardship of their dad’s charitable dollars and donor intent.

Rubin Wealth Advisors ‘Safe Haven’ for Conservatives

Bill Rubin, similarly, takes special care to steward his clients’ dollars — whether for charity or otherwise — and works closely with men and women like Simon, who value the principles that enable people to leverage their God-given talents and provide for themselves and others.

“I think what makes us a little bit different here at Rubin Wealth Advisors is that we stand as a safe-haven for those who share our conservative values — and that’s politically conservative values — and are generally concerned about the direction in which our country is headed.”

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