Tough Times for Philanthropy

THE CHECK IS IN THE TANK

For the instant jillionaires of the tech-stock IPO boom, pledging lavish gifts to charities and universities was a way of parading both their compassion and their clout. But with the tech bubble gone poof, many of those same promises are worth about as much as dotcom-stock shares. Cancel that new dorm.

Take, for example, the $100 million that MicroStrategy founder Michael Saylor vowed to donate last year to endow a foundation that would create the world's premier online university. That was shortly before the software company stunned Wall Street by restating its revenues for the previous two years--a shock that caused...

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