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The Robertson v. Princeton Case: Too Important To Be Left to the Lawyers

Neal B. Freeman

With Comments by Pablo Eisenberg, Peter Frumkin, Heather Higgins, Adam Meyerson, Anne Neal, James Piereson, Terrence Scanlon, Jack Siegel, Tim Walter, and Martin Morse Wooster, and a Response by Neal Freeman

Commissioned by Hudson Institute’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal
February 2009

Foundation management consultant Neal Freeman analyzes the settlement of Robertson v. Princeton University, arguably the most important court case on donor intent in a generation, from an insider’s perspective. The case was settled in late 2008 when Princeton agreed to pay nearly $100 million to a new foundation created by the Robertson family. Freeman, who was part of the family’s litigation support team, offers his insights on the reasons Princeton may have settled, how the Robertson family viewed the outcome, and what the settlement – a just one, in Freeman’s opinion – means for donors, grantees, and philanthropy in America. Freeman’s essay is followed by comments from several opinion leaders in philanthropy, and Freeman’s thoughtful, thought-provoking, and often entertaining responses.

For more information on this and other Bradley Center publications, please email Kristen or (202) 974-2424.

Hudson Institute’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal aims to explore the usually unexamined intellectual assumptions underlying the grantmaking practices of America’s foundations and provide practical advice and guidance to grantmakers who seek to support smaller, grassroots institutions in the name of civic renewal.

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