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The Newman’s Own Foundation, which is responsible for controlling the Newman’s Own food company, was created in 2005. Now, the daughters of Paul Newman have brought suit against the foundation, making claims that their late father’s wishes aren’t being followed. The goal, the daughters allege, was to keep family members empowered in making decisions and dealing with the foundation and the food company, so that Newman’s family would retain plenty of control over what was created in his name.
One of the biggest points of contention is that the daughters want to contribute a significant portion of the foundation’s funds to charitable causes that they find important. However, in 2020 the foundation’s board of directors made changes to how much the daughters could receive.
The yearly amount was reduced by half, meaning that Newman’s daughters now only have 50% of the budget they used to have for charitable donations. Total assets for the foundation are valued at approximately $234 million. Now the daughters are asking for $1.6 million in their lawsuit for damages, and they want that money to be donated to charities they choose.
It’s clear that Newman’s daughters are not looking for money for themselves, but only to add to what they’ve already given to charity through the foundation. With significant total assets, it would seem surprising that the foundation doesn’t have the budget it used to have to provide charitable giving options for the daughters. However, the foundation claims that the lawsuit doesn’t have any merit, and that a dedicated amount of money for the daughters to give every year was never the agreement.
The daughters, and their attorney, argue that the suit is not about compensation for the daughters, but the protecting of the late Mr. Newman’s wishes and the opportunity to give to charities the daughters believe have been shortchanged by the foundation’s decision. Newman has five daughters, only two of which are involved in the suit.
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