Salvation Army tries to cut Greenpeace from donor's $260 million trust
One of the dirtiest secrets nonprofit fundraisers may try to keep from donors is the extent to which planned giving officers and lawyers will fight over a deceased donor's estate.
Doris Margaret Di Stefano passed away in June 2005 at the age of 90. Her husband, H. Guy Di Stefano, died a little over a year later. The quiet couple had an estate of more than $260 million (mostly from UPS stock from Doris' dad) and no heirs.
Last fall, eight charities were notified that would each receive roughly $33 million:
* Direct Relief InternationalBut there was a catch. Technically, the legal entity "Greenpeace International Inc." does not exist anymore and the Western Terrority Salvation Army has gone to court in Seattle to challenge the Di Stefano trust.
* Salvation Army
* Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation
* Santa Barbara Visiting Nurse Association
* American Humane Society
* Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust
* Greenpeace International Inc.
* World Wildlife Fund
According to the New York Times:
Greenpeace has several different nonprofit incarnations. Greenpeace International was created in 1978... and Greenpeace Fund was created in 1980. They shared the same central phone number and offices in Washington, D.C., and many employees. During an I.R.S. audit that affirmed the organization’s tax-exempt status, an auditor suggested that Greenpeace reduce the number of its units.The same Times article mentions "internal friction" at the Salvation Army stemming from the fact that the Western Territory filed its objection without telling national headquarters in Virginia. If the Salvation Army succeeds in cutting Greenpeace out of the will, each of the remaining seven charities would split the $33 million.
In response, it dissolved Greenpeace International in December 2005. That organization’s board named the Greenpeace Fund as its successor-in-interest.
What do you think - will this come down to a legal question of trying to decide "donor intent" in the court room or will this one be fought in the court of public opinion? Vote now.