Struggling Hospital Depletes $135M Endowment
Doliner believes most hospital development departments live by the Donor Bill of Rights, a document that was developed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, among others, to protect donors and keep them informed of how their contributions are being spent.
"We all endorse it," she says. "I make my staff read the Donor Bill of Rights once a year as a team, and we discuss it. It sets the standards of conduct related to philanthropy. If someone [were] to make a gift to Maine Medical Center for cardiac research, and we didn't use it for that purpose, then shame on us. That is exactly what we should be using it for."
Although The Wall Street Journal may have gotten it right when it called the LICH scandal a "cautionary tale for wealthy donors," that kind of negative publicity doesn't help Doliner and executives in similar roles at healthcare organizations around the country.
"Any bad news around philanthropy hurts all of us. It really does," she says.
Disgraced LICH is also a cautionary tale for hospitals. Spending down principal donations and flouting donor requests are definite no-nos in the realm of healthcare philanthropy.
"Our number one responsibility is to the people who are giving those resources," Doliner says. "It's our job, and we are responsible for that. … The donor has a right to know how their funds are being invested and being used. That is just good stewardship."
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