The J. Paul Getty Museum Trust

Under its 1953 charter, the mission of the J. Paul Getty Museum Trust was remarkably broad: to provide for "the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge."

Historical context helps explain the establishment of the Trust and its mission. Revisions to the tax code in the 1950s provided new incentives for wealthy entrepreneurs to establish tax exempt foundations and trusts. Lawyers often advised their clients to adopt broad purposes for these entities to give the donor greater spending freedom.

Broad mission statements had also been promoted in an earlier era by philanthropists John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, who did not want to restrict the ability of future trustees to address society's needs as they saw fit.