I thought this was an interesting news item. Someone or some group has mysteriously given away a total of $45 million dollars to nine American universities under the legal stipulation that the schools cannot, in any way, seek to determine who the donor is. For one of those schools — the University of Southern Mississippi — the $6 million “super-anonymous” donation was the largest single gift the school has ever received. Another school, UNC-Ashville, contacted the Department of Homeland Security to make sure it was legally safe to take the funds, since money from nefarious sources or from ill-gotten gains can pose future legal hazards (not to mention moral hazards).
You can read the AP article about the mystery here:
As the article points out, it is not uncommon for anonymous donations to be given to universities, but in those cases the university, itself, knows the identity of the donor. What makes this unusual is that (1) the universities themselves do not know the identity of the donor(s), and (2) the receipt of the money is actually conditioned on not seeking out that identity. The transactions were handled through various lawyers and what not to legally ensure anonymity and, in somce cases, involved signed agreements to fulfill the conditions. The article discusses other stipulations that were attached to the money, as well (e.g., most to be used for scholarships).
What do you think? Is this a case of someone or some group truly trying to take to heart the principles of Matthew 6:1-4? Is it something more sinister? I’d like to think it’s the former, but I’m interested to hear what you think as well.