The Brandeis Art Decision: What Does it Say to Donors

One of the still unfolding stories of the current economic crisis evolves around donor rights. As we first wrote about last week, this has long been the basis of legal suits. As to Brandeis, while the original decision to close the Rose Art Museum and sell the collection – though the latter is apparently now in question – may well be the best of not great choices for the University, the impression portrayed in multiple publications is Brandeis did not consider how this will play out with their donor community.

As organizations, large and small, reevaluate their finances and investments, they need to remember they would not be were they are without their donor base. Some are clearly shooting themselves in the foot and this could ultimately lead to far more serious problems and less appealing choices in the future.

from The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Brandeis Decision May Threaten Future Donations

Some previous donors — of cash and of artwork — have said they will not give to Brandeis again. Others, because of Internal Revenue Service regulations, may not be able to realize the full tax deduction they expected when they donated art to the museum, now that the museum’s intentions for their gifts have changed.

for a related article:

see our post from yesterday Bad Times Beget Bad Decisions