COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It was an incredible gesture by one family, but now major donors say the the Ohio State University has gone silent about where donated funds have gone.
The Ohio State University’s law school was named for Michael Moritz. He gave $30 million to the university for an endowment fund, to provide 30 full-ride scholarships the deserving law students each year.
NBC4’s Colleen Marshall first talked to Jeff Moritz last year, after he said the university had not only reduced the number of scholarships, but was draining the principal of his late father’s fund. After that, others came forward and told similar stories. They are in the same fight for answers.
Greer Rouda’s father made a fortune after founding the very successful HER Realty Company. He wanted to share his good fortune with deserving students and with the football program he loved. He gave OSU millions.
Rouda says the principal in his father’s fund is now down over 20%.
“I think the last communication I got from Ohio State relative to my fund was in 2015,” said Fred Miller. In the late 90s, Miller set up a fund with the business school for accounting and finance students. He wrote a check to add to it every year until he stopped hearing from the university.
Daver Marburger, an attorney for the Moritz Family, says he believes the university is breaching its duty to those donors, as many as 2,000 of them. He says the university is dipping into those funds to pay for further fundraising activity.
The university issued a statement responding to the issue:
Ohio State is forever grateful to our donors. Their gifts fund student scholarships, teaching and learning, and research advancements across the university and around the world. Approximately 250,000 donors support the university and Wexner Medical Center annually. Together, they have generously given over $500 million in each of the last several years.
Ohio State’s development fees and distribution rates are responsible, prudent and in-line with peer institutions. The university manages all endowment funds in accordance with the state Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, which sets forth the standard of care for management and investment of endowment funds. Development fees are recognized by Ohio law as a “prudent” cost associated with managing an endowment. In a 2010 survey, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges in partnership with the Commonfund Institute found that 100 percent of institutionally related foundations with an endowment of $500 million or more assess an endowment management fee.
Ohio State will continue to be open and transparent with all of our donors. We always welcome their involvement and input as we work together on ways to support the future of Ohio State and our students and faculty.