Corporate Governance Redesigned: A Sweet Briar College & San Diego Opera Update

 Last year, we highlighted two intriguing governance stories that captured the attention of the philanthropy community. There were certain striking similarities in these cases on opposite sides of the U.S. continent.  Each involved a prestigious community institution in which board and executive insiders strong-armed a shutdown vote on the grounds of purportedly insurmountable financial difficulties. Each was Read More

When the Revenue Agent Comes Calling: Nonprofit Executive Compensation

In “When the Revenue Agent Comes Calling,” we explained that the Enron and Worldcom scandals in the early 2000’s had a profound effect on charity regulators at all levels of government. They have doubled-down on the scrutiny of 501(c)(3) organizations (and public charities, specifically) on issues of governance, organizational control, and conflict of interest as well as on compensation and financial Read More

Foundations of Public Universities: Too Secretive?

They have been called “‘slush funds’ and ‘shadow corporations’ that too often operate in secrecy, ….”   “Public officials are raising questions about the spending practices of the nonprofit fundraising arms of public universities,” according to the Council of Nonprofits. They control huge amounts of money with little accountability. Recently, in at least two states - North Carolina and Connecticut - this issue has Read More

Consent Agenda: A Tool for Better Meetings

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings.'"   - Dave Barry Nonprofits are great at making the world a better place. Conducting productive board meetings? Not so much. Of course, this is nothing inherent or unique in the philanthropy sector. Even successful businesses suffer from Read More