A new law signed by Gov. Jim Doyle this week allows nonprofits such as the University of Wisconsin Foundation and Marquette University more flexibility in tapping into endowment funds at a time when many have incurred losses because of the economic downturn.perhaps the key phrase here is "an informed judgment." the new law does not change, however, situations where specific spending instructions from the donor are already in place, likely the situation with the 2004 skylight endowment to support the position of artistic director.
Until now, organizations were typically barred from spending from an endowment fund when the value dipped below the historical dollar amount - the amount the endowment was originally set up with. They could spend only interest, dividends or appreciation.
Under Senate Bill 31, signed into law Monday, charitable organizations that manage endowments can make an informed judgment about whether to tap the original funding, said attorney Adam Wiensch, a partner at Foley & Lardner who specializes in trust and estates and lobbied for the bill.
(hat tip: a tuesdays commenter)