#GivingTuesday Human Interest Story: Johns Hopkins University's Development of Belward Farm Impacts Charitable Giving for Donors Everywhere

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The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is being nicknamed “#GivingTuesday” – a special day dedicated to charitable giving, just as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are synonymous with shopping. For more than a year now, Tim Newell has been at the center of the national conversation about donor rights and donor intent. Newell has been fighting on behalf of donors everywhere as the spokesperson for a high-profile “donor intent” lawsuit seeking to force Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to keep its promise to one of its largest donors.

Belward Farm

The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which this year falls on November 27, 2012, is being nicknamed “#GivingTuesday” – a newly launched special day dedicated to charitable giving, just as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are synonymous with shopping.

For more than a year now, Tim Newell has been at the center of the national conversation about donor rights and donor intent. Newell has been fighting on behalf of donors everywhere as the spokesperson for a high-profile “donor intent” lawsuit (John Timothy Newell, et.al. v. Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County Circuit Court, 355237-V) seeking to force Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to keep its promise to one of its largest donors.

Newell’s story offers a cautionary tale to donors who may be considering giving gifts to their favorite charities on #GivingTuesday and who want to trust that their donations will be used as promised:

ABOUT THE LAWSUIT: (Montgomery County Circuit Court, 355237-V)
Newell’s Aunt, Elizabeth Banks (now deceased), worked her family’s historic 138-acre farm in the Washington, DC suburbs until she gave the land to JHU in 1989. She was famously reported to have chased commercial developers off her land with a shotgun, and ultimately gave her property to JHU with the promise the land would be used as university owned-and-operated research campus.

Belward Farm was worth more than $50 million to developers at the time of its transfer to Hopkins, but it was given to the University for pennies-on-the-dollar – a deal made possible only because Hopkins promised that it wouldn’t turn the farm into a commercial real-estate development.

Now, that’s exactly what Hopkins intends to do.

As a result, Newell and his sibling filed suit against JHU in 2011, seeking to force the University to honor its promises. The case is making its way through the court system.

"If my family loses our lawsuit, it could have a negative impact on the future of #GivingTuesday," said Newell.

ABOUT TIM NEWELL:
For more than a year now, Tim Newell has been at the center of a national conversation about donor rights and donor intent. Newell has been fighting on behalf of donors everywhere as the spokesperson for a high-profile “donor intent” lawsuit seeking to force Johns Hopkins University to keep its promises: specifically that his Aunt’s charitable gift, Belward Farm, be used as promised - for a university owned-and-operated research campus, not a commercial real-estate development.

The result of this lawsuit could impact charitable giving across the country.

Newell is available from New York by request and has appeared on television in the local Washington, D.C. market. A clip of one of his appearances can be viewed here: http://on.fb.me/Ta1Tom

The lawsuit, John Timothy Newell, et.al. v. Johns Hopkins University, has been covered in Forbes, The Washington Post, The Washington Examiner, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The NonProfit Times, as well as additional local outlets in the DC metro area.

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Sonia Blumstein
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