Court Rules NJ Charities Must Follow Donor’s Wishes or Return Money
by Christine M. Vanek on August 21, 2013
The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court recently clarified what happens
when a charity receives a donation slated for a particular mission and then cannot fulfill
the purpose of the gift. In these cases, the decision in Adler v. SAVE is clear —charities
must return the funds.
The Facts of the Case
SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals, is a non-profit animal shelter located in the
greater Princeton area. Bernard and Jeanne Adler, who were animal lovers and long-time supporters of the shelter, donated $50,000 towards a capital building campaign that sought to construct a new facility. The Alders maintain that their charitable gift was
intended to create two rooms dedicated to the care of large dogs and elderly cats, for
which the Adlers would also receive naming rights. The two sides never discussed what
would happen if SAVE decided not to construct the planned facility.
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