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The Balancing Act: Using Private Money for Public Projects





As public resources become scarcer, private donations for capital projects and public services may become increasingly important. Modern donors, using the new philanthropy philosophy common now in the nonprofit sector, may desire more control over the use of their funding than in the past. This research examines the effects of private donations on capital decision making, and explores the balancing act required by public officials between best practices and private norms in this process. The study uses the city of Omaha, Nebraska case, where corporate and individual donors have made significant financial contributions for the construction of a convention center/arena and a baseball stadium. Findings include both costs and benefits of this approach, and may be beneficial for theory-building related to this relatively unexplored topic, as well as for practitioners faced with similar needs and demands.