Good thing Penn State has a big endowment

Readers of this blog know that I periodically comment on news stories that somehow intersect with planned giving.

Penn State story and planned giving?  Well, yes.  Here is a link to a Reuters story that just broke on the Sandusky scandal:

What caught my attention?  The following two sentences from the article:

“The report could influence Penn State as it prepares for potential civil lawsuits. The university has already invited victims to try to resolve claims against the school.”


It reminded me that Penn State is on my list of “Big Ten of Planned Giving” for being one of the most productive university planned giving programs in the country, reporting over $100 million received from 1,451 planned gifts (bequests and deferred gifts) between 2005 and 2010.  That is an average of around 240 planned gifts a year over those 6 reporting years.  For anyone familiar with planned giving programs, that number is incredible.  A strong planned giving program with a few staff members and significant marketing might bring in 40 or 50 planned gifts a year.  Over 200 a year?  They are a planned giving machine!  Maybe even more of a machine than their vaunted football program.

That brings us to Penn State’s endowment.  According to Commonfund research on university endowments, Penn State’s stands at around $1.7 billion, the 39th largest in the country.

Not that endowment money is available to settle law suits but it sure does help.  If I were one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, I would take note!

The other question I am wondering about is what will be with their planned giving program going forward?  Let’s see if they can keep it up.  The football program looks like it will be fine – and that is where the scandal lies.  But, certain illusions about Penn State’s purity of heart have been smashed.  Maybe the planned giving donors will realize this and have a change of heart about their final plans.

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