Posted on Apr 17, 1997 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 97-03
April 17, 1997
Private Donor Records of the UH Foundation

It has not been determined whether the U. H. Foundation is a “government agency” under the UIPA, however, for the purposes of this opinion letter only, the OIP assumed that the U. H. Foundation is a government agency. Under this assumption, disclosure of the names of individual donors and amounts donated by them to the U. H. Foundation are exempt from disclosure under section 92F-13(1), Hawaii Revised Statutes. Under section 92F-14(b)(6), Hawaii Revised Statutes, an individual’s “financial information” carries a significant privacy interest which must be balanced against the public interest in disclosure.

The OIP found that there is a minimal public interest in knowing the names of individual donors and the amounts donated by them which is not outweighed by an individual’s privacy interest therein. If the U. H. Foundation discloses the amounts donated in a manner that will not identify individual donors, or if the individual donors provide written consent to disclosure of their identities, then disclosure of that limited information should not violate the individual’s privacy rights. However, information regarding corporate donors (including corporations, partnerships, business trusts, or associations) may be disclosed as corporate donors are not natural persons and do not have any significant privacy interests that are recognized by the UIPA. In addition, the information maintained by the U. H. Foundation on corporate donors is not detailed financial information which is protected under section 92F-13(3), Hawaii Revised Statutes.

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