Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 294: Governor's Commission on the Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund

Date: 12/31/1990
Issuer: Michael S. Dukakis
Mass Register: No. 652
Revoked by: Executive Order 383

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, Benjamin Franklin died April 17, 1790 and left a will dated July 17, 1788 and a codicil dated June 23, 1789, both the will and codicil were proved and allowed in Philadelphia on April 23, 1790 and a copy of the will and codicil were duly filed in the Suffolk County Probate Registry; and

WHEREAS, Franklin's codicil contains a provision providing a bequest of 1,000 pounds each to the inhabitants of Boston and Philadelphia in trust to provide loans at 5% interest rate to young, married artificers, under the age of 25, who have served in an apprenticeship in such town; and

WHEREAS, after 100 years three-fourths of the Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund was to be spent on a "public project" decided upon by the citizens of such town, and the remaining one-fourth was to be continued to be loaned out at interest; and

WHEREAS, after a second hundred years passed, the principal and accumulated interest from the one-fourth portion is to be disbursed, giving approximately seventy-six percent to the Commonwealth and twenty-four percent to the city of Boston, at which time the trust is to terminate; and

WHEREAS, the second hundred years will terminate on June 30, 1991 and it is anticipated that approximately $4.4 million is to be given to the Commonwealth (approximately 10 percent in cash as of June 30, 1991, with the balance of the funds to be received over a 10 year period) and the codicil does not specify any further what is to be done with the funds once given to the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth must determine the best and most appropriate use of the funds it will be receiving from the Franklin Trust and the purposes and objectives of Benjamin Franklin can best be determined by the appointment of a commission to advise the Governor on its determinations;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Michael S. Dukakis, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order as follows:

  1. There is hereby created the Governor's Advisory Commission on the Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund (The Advisory Commission).
  2. The Advisory Commission shall be composed of six to eight persons drawn from diverse racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds who are residents of the Commonwealth.
  3. The Advisory Commission members shall be appointed by the Governor for terms of two years. Any vacancies which may occur shall be filled by the Governor. The Governor shall select one of the members as chairperson and one as vice-chairperson. Members of the Advisory Commission shall serve without compensation, but shall be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable and necessary expenses as funds and policies permit.
  4. The Advisory Commission shall meet regularly, and meet periodically with the Governor.
  5. The purpose of the Advisory Commission shall be to:

A. Investigate a range of potential uses in the Commonwealth for the Franklin Trust funds that would be in keeping with Benjamin Franklin's spirit and goals for the funds.

B. Determine how best to spend and perpetuate the funds in ways keeping with Benjamin Franklin's spirit and goals for the funds.

C. Inform itself of the plans of the City of Boston with respect to the portion of the funds Boston will receive, and the same with respect to the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

D. The Advisory Commission shall present a report to the Governor on or before May 15, 1991 which will include the;

a) results of its investigation and study, and

b) recommendations to the Governor regarding the:

1) best use of the monies from the Benjamin Franklin Trust Fund.

2) procedure for implementing its recommendations, and

3) proposed legislation which may be necessary.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 31st day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred and fourteen.


Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Secretary of the Commonwealth

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