Nonprofit Newswire | Donor Sues for Return of Gift

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March 16, 2010; Yale Daily News | There are any number of tales about donors who have attempted to have gifts returned when, say, they feel that the charity has not lived up to their side of the bargain but this case, as it is reported, has a different twist.

Bearing Point, Inc., a consulting firm, pledged $30 million to Yale University for a combination of things—naming rights for facilities, an endowed chair, an employee education program . . . and, in fact it did pay Yale $8.1 million but now it wants it back.

The problem? It went bankrupt and needed the money back. What ground are they hoping to stand on? According to the article, “The naming opportunities did not generate any business for BearingPoint, the trustee said in the filing . . . No material consideration flowed to BearingPoint, and no benefit to its business or assets was derived from the endowing of chairs or the naming of buildings at Yale.”

So much for altruism. The company is $2.2 billion in debt and trying to take back the cash it gave to endow a management professorship. Ironic.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Bob

    To call Bearing Point Inc. a donor is a stretch, not because of the request for return of the fees paid but because what they were getting for their marketing dollars. Surely,naming rights for facilities and possibly an endowed chair, don’t meet the definition or spirit of “a gift is a voluntary transfer of property without valuable consideration to the donor”. This would seem to be a marketing contract between two parties and not philanthropy.