Doug White, a long-time leader in the nation's philanthropic community, is an author, professor, and an advisor to nonprofit organizations and philanthropists. He is the director of Columbia University's Master of Science in Fundraising Management program, where he also teaches board governance, ethics and fundraising. He is the former academic director of New York University's Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising where, in addition to his management responsibilities, he taught ethics-based fundraising and board governance. He has also been an advisor to BoardSource, the nation's leading organization dedicated to "building exceptional nonprofit boards and inspiring board service."
In 2014 Doug published his fourth book, "Abusing Donor Intent" (Paragon House, described as "a groundbreaking publisher"), which is about the historic lawsuit brought against Princeton by the children of Charles and Marie Robertson, a couple who donated $35 million in 1961 (the biggest one-time gift to a university ever at the time) to endow the graduate program at the Woodrow Wilson School. In the complaint, which was filed in 2002, the family contended that Princeton abused its mandate to spend the money as the donors wished.
From the Foundation Center: "Just as White earlier explored a rogues' gallery of swindlers and incompetent trustees in Charity on Trial, he here invites the reader to look behind the curtain of privilege and wealth, this time to learn just how bad things can get when a donor and beneficiary no longer see eye-to-eye. Informed by the slow burn of a decades-old frustration, not to mention the disposition of hundreds of millions of dollars and the reputation of one of America's oldest and most respected universities, Abusing Donor Intent is equal parts thriller and cautionary tale."
From Library Journal: "White provides an accessible review of the complex chain of events mixed with telling observations on the key actors in the proceedings. He looks at the law, its practical application, and other select cases in which donor intent was at issue. The process that led to a settlement with the institution is carefully recounted and bolstered with references to original documents related to the action and countless interviews. VERDICT This is an important book for gift givers, recipients, and boards administering philanthropic charities. White's balanced account of the dispute connects the personal and legal dramas to create an informative and engaging work."
And from the Wall Street Journal: "Doug White, who teaches fundraising management at Columbia University, gives a detailed . . . account of a case that attracted national attention and highlighted the frustrations that donors feel when they see their money being used for purposes they never intended."
The other three books: "The Nonprofit Challenge: Integrating Ethics into the Purpose and Promise of Our Nation's Charities" (2010, Palgrave Macmillan), which examines charities in an ethical context; "Charity on Trial: What You Need to Know Before You Give" (2007, Barricade Books); and "The Art of Planned Giving: Understanding Donors and the Culture of Giving" (1996, John Wiley & Sons), which was awarded the 1996 Staley/Robeson/Ryan/St. Lawrence Prize for Research by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He has written several articles for a variety of magazines and periodicals, including Trusts and Estates, the Journal of Gift Planning, Charitable Gift Planning News, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Since 1979 Doug has advised hundreds of charities of all types and sizes. Today, he works closely with select organizations on ethics decision-making, board governance, and fundraising. A few of the more interesting organizations with which he has worked include:
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Doug has worked as the development director at Holderness School (NH), and has served as a trustee at several charities. For almost two decades (1982 – 2000) he served on the Capital Giving Committee at Phillips Exeter Academy and as its national chair for several years during that time. He has served in leading roles with two national planned gift and endowment investment firms. As a long-term consultant to Blackbaud, Inc. in the 1980s and 1990s, he developed one of the first planned giving software programs.
Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (formerly the National Committee on Planned Giving). In 1996, while on the NCPG board, he founded the national initiative of Leave A Legacy. He is also a past chair of the NCPG Ethics Committee and the 1995 NCPG National Conference. He is a past president of the Planned Giving Group of New England and a past president of the New Hampshire/Vermont chapter of AFP. In 2002 the National Capital Gift Planning Council presented Doug with its “Distinguished Service Award.” Today he chairs that council’s Ethics Committee and writes the "Ethics Corner," a monthly column on ethics and fundraising.
In 1995 Doug testified before a Congressional committee in support of the Philanthropy Protection Act, and, in a related development, served as an expert witness for the charitable defendants in a national class-action lawsuit - informally known as the "Texas Lawsuit" and formally known as Ozee, et. al. v. the American Council on Gift Annuities - that threatened the ability of charities to raise money. Doug has also served as an expert witness in Community Infusion Services v. the National Organization for Rare Disorders (2012) and Oatman v. InfoCision (2013).
Since 1981 he has spoken at over 750 conferences on philanthropy, including the the National Capital Gift Planning Council, the Association for Fundraising Professionals, The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, United Jewish Communities, and hundreds of local professional organizations and planned giving councils, as well as many audiences sponsored by local charities and other groups.