03/13/2015 11:33 am ET Updated Mar 13, 2015

Why Groups Should Stop Naming Buildings After Billionaire Donors


Lincoln Center’s announcement last week that David Geffen had contributed $100 million to put his name on a concert hall put front and center how willing big nonprofits are to do anything for a buck and how much fundraisers have encouraged one of the most distressing features in our society: The extraordinarily inflated egos of America’s growing number of multimillionaires and billionaires.

It’s hard today to find a gymnasium, laboratory, college dorm, hospital wing, or athletic field that is not named after a benefactor.

A generation ago, streets, buildings and some public institutions were named after people who had earned their reputations and celebrity status, not just because they had lots of money. That no longer seems to be the case.