Donor intent bill passes Senate

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Legislation designed to ensure donors to non-profit agencies can be sure the organization receiving their gift follows their instructions was approved by the state Senate on Monday afternoon.

Sen. Phillip Wheeler, R-Pikeville, is the main sponsor of the measure. He told his colleagues, “Senate Bill 90, also known as the ‘Donor Intent Act,’ is designed to give more confidence in our 501 (c) 3s and other charitable organizations, to allow large donors to know when they endow or give a large gift, that they have a possible course of action, if they find out that that organization is using the funds contrary to the donor’s intent.”

He said the bill is not seeking grounds to get reimbursement from a charitable group, “It is merely a tool to ensure performance.”

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Wheeler said across the U.S. there are somewhat uncertain grounds on whether people who donate charitable gifts have standing to request accountability regarding their gift.

“This bill is supported by the largest charitable foundation in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the J. Graham Brown, as well as many members of the Philanthropic Roundtable, which is the largest philanthropic group of organizations in the United States.”

Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Benton, spoke against the bill, saying there is already a mechanism for the Kentucky Attorney General to investigate this issue.

“My concern is this casts an unnecessary cloud over non-profits in the state, without finding one single case in this commonwealth where this is an issue. Not one single case, and we’re going to make a law based on something that could happen.”

The bill passed 34-2, with Carroll and Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville casting the “no” votes. It now heads to the House.