With postmortem enlightenment, Jacob Marley's ghost sternly forewarns Ebenezer Scrooge to embrace the "business of charity," which Marley's ghost associates with mercy, forbearance, and benevolence. This Article analyzes an aspect of the business of charity tainted with stealth bordering on trickery, mandatory ingratitude, and judicial contrivances. This Article seeks to make two contributions to the important debate about the enforceability of charitable pledges. First, new empirical evidence developed for this Article indicates approximately 95 percent of charities fail to disclose in their pledge forms that the donor will be legally bound to make all the pledge payments. Despite the absence of an agreement to be bound, consideration, or substantial detrimental reliance, courts almost always enforce charitable pledges. Second, this Article proposes reforming this sullied aspect of the business of charity with a new, workable approach focusing on traditional contract rules, basic promissory estoppel doctrine, and the donor's intent.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.