Philadelphia's slow-grow economy depends more than most places on colleges, hospitals and other nonprofits, and the donors who give them millions. Institutions love to publicize these gifts. But how often are they funded as promised? Sometimes the millions never arrive, and nobody wants to talk about it. From my Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer column:
Drexel University's plan to name its law school for plaintiff's lawyer Thomas R. Kline, for his pledge of $50 million in cash and real estate, is the second time that school has sold naming rights. Maybe it'll last longer this time:
In 2008, Drexel said the law school would be named for 1959 grad Earle I. Mack, the real estate mogul who ran Mack-Cali Realty Corp., in exchange for Mack's pledge of a $15 million matching grant, once Drexel found a second $15 million.
The recession hammered charities and law school enrollments. Still, Mack went ahead and gave Drexel $4 million in 2010, according to his foundation's tax returns. Mack also made smaller gifts to Drexel totaling at least $180,000 in 2009-12. But last December, Drexel and Mack agreed to take his name off the school. In a polite statement citing "the unprecedented economic pressures facing law schools today," they agreed "a change is warranted in order for Drexel University to attract other major benefactors to the Law School."
"Mr. Mack would like to say he greatly admires the job that President [John] Fry and the distinguished faculty have done for the law school," Marcia Horowitz, a representative of the foundation, told me earlier this year. Neither the foundation nor Drexel spokeswoman Niki Gianakaris would confirm how much Mack money ended up at the law school.