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Kentucky Senate adopts measure to keep an eye on endowment fund donations

Kentucky Senate 2024
Stu Johnson
Kentucky Senate 2024

The Kentucky Senate has overwhelmingly approved what the bill sponsor called “The Donor Intent Act.” Pikeville GOP Senator Phillip Wheeler said the measure allows individuals who make endowment donations to a charitable group to go to court if the organization is not meeting the intent. Wheeler said he’s not pointing any fingers, saying non-profits and charitable foundations do wonderful work throughout Kentucky.

“This is merely a tool that will provide ever greater confidence in those organizations because the people will know that, if in fact, something has gone wrong, that they have a right to have their intent enforced,” said Wheeler.

The bill passed the Senate 34 to two. One of the no votes came from Benton GOP Senator Danny Carroll, president of Easter Seals West Kentucky. He said non-profits go to great lengths to make sure donations are spent with the donors’ requests.

“So the concern is that this sheds an unnecessary cloud over non-profits in the state without citing one single case in this Commonwealth where this was an issue…not one single case,” said Carroll.

Wheeler told his colleagues the bill doesn’t give grounds to get reimbursed for charitable funds. The Pikeville senator said the state’s largest charitable foundation, the James Graham Foundation and many members of the Philanthropic Roundtable are supportive.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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