Donor jitters – Pledges on hold

The downturn in the U.S. economy is hurting charities as skittish donors put the brakes on their philanthropy, according to several news reports.

Donors who pledged gifts during the New Economy boom are now putting them on hold or even canceling them, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 2.

Some donors have big investments in a single security that has plunged in value, Charles Collier, senior philanthropic adviser at Harvard, told the Journal.

Citing a New Yorker whose $250,000 pledge was due in December, Collier said, “Now it’s on slow bleed. He’s going to wait and see if he can make it by the fall.”

The downturn also has stymied plans by high-tech chief Michael Saylor, who pledged $100 million in March to create a free online university, the Boston Globe reported Feb. 1.

The project is on hold while Saylor focuses on MicroStrategy, his company in Vienna, Va., that saw its stock plunge from $333 a share to $9 by the end of the year.

And Bay Area charities say they’re suffering as donors whose wealth is tied to tech and Internet stocks retrench, the San Jose Mercury News reported Jan. 30.

The value of planned donations that have dried up isn’t known but could total millions of dollars, the Mercury News said.

For full story, go to the Boston Globe and the San Jose Mercury News.

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