It is not with a happy heart that I share this story, but it may help others who want to help their community by the gifts they make in their wills.
A very successful stock broker left an estate of a very sizable amount. He left it to the Salvation Army in his home town, and designated that he wanted some of it to go to a community project that was a center piece of the downtown area.
When all was settled none of the funds ended up in the community project. It seems that when funds are left to a local branch of a Salvation Army Church, the national officials and officers take over. I am not absolutely sure of the legal descriptions but it sounded like the local branch of the Salvation Army is simply an extension of the national organization and anything given to the local branch becomes the property of the national organization and they decide what to do with the funds.
After what has happened in our small town with this donation to the Salvation Army many of the people who are committed to the major community project in the heart of the town have stopped donating to the Salvation Army. A brand new super new building is being built for the local branch of the Army in our town so the Salvation Army is using the money to enrich their own program but have refused the wishes of the donor to help with the community wide supported program.
My recommendation is that one look very careful at the legal restrictions, strings, and operational models of the charity to which one wants to make a donation. For me, there will be no more gifts to the Salvation Army.