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Cornelius B. Prior, Jr. ’62

Neil Prior began thinking about his ultimate gift to Harvard Law School in the late 1990’s. He was motivated by the leadership at Harvard Law School — former Deans Elena Kagan and Robert Clark.

Mr. Prior established a charitable remainder trust (trust) to provide income to a family member for life, and designated the remainder to fund a professorship named in honor of the then-retiring Dean Clark. He named himself as trustee, and funded the trust with stock from a company he founded (now a publicly traded company). Harvard Law School recognized Neil as a leadership donor.

A few years later, Neil learned that Harvard had been granted the option to invest charitable trusts within Harvard’s endowment. This investment option became possible thanks to an IRS private ruling, which enables Harvard to put its trust assets in investments that otherwise would generate problematic tax consequences. Because Neil had long been aware of Harvard’s impressive investment record, he investigated how he might take advantage of this new opportunity.

Neil made the decision to transfer the trusteeship and management of his trust to the Harvard Management Company which, unlike a commercial trust management firm, charges no management fees. He also chose to have his trust invested within Harvard’s endowment, and his trust now has the possible benefit of impressive potential growth. Neil has been pleased with the results ever since.