Story behind the story

Huguette Clark

I hate to publish this one but it is out there and it is a major planned giving story.  The NY Times, of all publications, has jumped on the bandwagon of greedy, “long lost” relatives of the late Huguette Clark.

Here is the link to a NY Times article ( detailing the latest accusations regarding one of the most unusual planned giving stories ever told (search my blog for all of the links and stories I’ve written).

Basically, you are seeing in this article, based on court papers, hospital fundraising operations exposed in a very negative light.  The problem is that I can personally testify (having been the planned giving director at the hospital in question between 2004 and 2006) that the story is utterly skewed!  Beth Israel, for the most part, had very high standards of integrity and the former President’s efforts to secure donations was a matter of someone doing their job!

I could go on and on about this one.  The story behind the story is really about a greedy family that never met Ms. Clark in person, several generations removed from half-siblings of hers (who were already a generation older than her and probably hated her for being a “love child” of their father in his old age).  From the little I heard about her when I worked there, it sounded like she called the shots and knew exactly what she was doing !  The media on this one and the ongoing lawsuits are only about a sorry bunch of descendants from a formerly wealthy family making a desperate lunge to get some cash out of someone that they had the slimmest of connections with.


  1. I happened upon this thanks to a Google search I did to see if anyone in the blogosphere was talking about this case. I’m glad I landed on yours. I’m a fundraiser in annual giving early in her career so I read this NYTimes story with great interest, if only because of the way that they so skewered the fundraising practices of the hospital in question. The hospital appeared to do everything by the book (or at least the book *I* read for my major gifts class at UCLA Extension). This story made it seem like even cultivating a prospect was scandalous and just wrong. It made me question the motives and the values, and perhaps the upbringing, of the story’s reporter

    . At my university, the wife of one of our professional school deans is intimately involved in stewarding a major gifts donor couple. The dean and his wife are Korean and they have taken the donors on cultural tourism adventures in LA’s Koreatown. It was a way for the four of them to bond. The wives have since gone shopping together in Koreatown. The way that came about was through the kind of creative thinking that can make being a fundraiser so gratifying and even fun.

    That the doctor brought in his mom, who had lived in the same country as the patient, and his wife, who baked food that the patient – who was confined to a hospital room – absolutely loved? I struggle to see what was wrong with that, I really do.

    1. I am glad the right message came across! If you read previous posts on this topic, you will find a really interesting story.

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