Ivy League Charity Case

January 20, 2011 at 8:26 PM Leave a comment

Recently, we criticized Georgetown academic Pablo Eisenberg for his argument that the billionaire Giving Pledge donors were getting too much credit; that they would end up giving their money not to help the marginal and the needy, but to “universities and colleges, hospitals and medical schools, and museums and art institutions.” Part of our argument was that institutions like colleges and universities are worthy of munificent benevolence.

This short but pungent report on some recent grants to Yale shakes our confidence a bit:

Last week, the Yale Daily News reported that the university agreed to pay $1 million to Industrial Enterprises of America, to settle the company’s complaint that its former CEO, a Yale alum named John Mazzuto, made a $1.7 million donation to Yale in shares of stock that he may have obtained illegally through an option plan meant for company employees. Yale used the gift to build a baseball facility.

Well, let’s try to be fair. A baseball facility may seem less than essential to a well-rounded Ivy League education, but successful sports teams do attract talented, high-level college applicants. So Yale’s alumnus wanted to help out his cash-strapped alma mater; surely that can’t be considered squandering money for a frivolous purpose on an institution that hardly needs it.

Yale boasts America’s second-largest university endowment. Ranking behind only Harvard’s, [their] kitty was worth more than $16 billion, even after the crash of 2008.



Entry filed under: General.

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News about philanthropy and the charitable instinct


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