Tainted Charity Trustees: The Dilemma

In October 2019, just days before the official reopening celebration for Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), protestors gathered near the entrance. The site had been closed all summer for a grand redesign costing $450 million. At that preliminary event, their target was Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, Inc. who is a MOMA board member. They and other critics charge that BlackRock invests in “prison companies, Read More

Make Succession Planning a Priority

When BoardSource  recently announced its newest “Leading with Intent Survey Questionnaire” to collect data for a 2020 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, it touted the critical information collected and analyzed last time for the 2017 Index. Among the most important - but discouraging - data reviewed was “alarming data about CEO turnover and retirement coupled with a lack of planning for a Read More

Help with Charity Board Meeting Minutes

“It’s not surprising that nonprofit board meeting minutes are often either overlooked or under-utilized,” according to the helpful folks over at Wild Apricot. There’s too much to do in any organization, large or small, to focus on minute-taking and this duty may be brushed aside as a quaint formality or custom from a bygone era. And, of course, taking minutes is intimidating because the document to be produced Read More

Monkey Business at the Austin Zoo

Update: Previously published versions of the blog identified the zoo director as "Patti Cook." The correct name for the zoo director is "Patti Clark." HT @changeforATXZoo. First, there was Monkey Gets Day in Court (July 2018). Then, it was Gorillas, Guerrillas, and 501(c)(3)s (March 14, 2019). Was this the beginning of a new series for our blog; a “primates & philanthropy” theme? In concluding the March Read More

BoardSource Wants You For New “Leading With Intent” Survey

BoardSource, whose mission “is to inspire and support excellence in nonprofit governance and board and staff leadership,” has been in the forefront of the movement to collect and analyze data on U.S. charities’ governance practices. The organization launched its first effort in 1994 and followed up the next year with a comprehensive report on and analysis of the responses by board CEOs and chairs around the nation. Read More

The Shocking Turmoil at the SPLC

"... UNTIL JUSTICE ROLLS DOWN LIKE WATERS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS LIKE A MIGHTY STREAM" - Martin Luther King, Jr. The announcement was stunning - and cryptic. Just below Dr. King’s stirring language on the header of the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Richard Cohen had posted a confirmation of breaking news reports that same day, March 14, 2019: “Our founder Morris Dees is no longer working at SPLC.” Read More

More Troubles for the March of Dimes

During the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, it was not widely known that, as a younger man, he had been stricken with polio, then called infantile paralysis. Unlike the current practice of the news media poking its collective nose into the deepest crevices of public figures’ private lives and concerns, there was an understanding that Roosevelt’s deep desire to keep his medical condition private would be honored. Read More

Conflicts Scandals at Major Medical Centers

Major scandals at two prominent nonprofit medical institutions erupted in the fall of 2018, capping an already tough year that had seen “an endless stream of improprieties” rocking “U.S. healthcare." In the nonprofit world, the matter of avoiding actual or potential conflicts of interest is high on the list of key governance issues. It’s tawdry and unethical; sometimes illegal. But, in the healthcare field, it Read More

Lessons for the Nonprofit Board from SVCF Crisis

 “Recent events at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) have rocked the philanthropic community and left many wondering why things went so terribly wrong.” In April 2018, the largest community foundation in the United States (with assets of over $13 billion) imploded quite spectacularly when journalist Marc Gunther published a blockbuster expose in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. We covered this scandal in Read More

Stakeholder Revolts and Successful Comebacks

Back in 2015, we featured two stories about troubled nonprofit institutions on opposite coasts. The common thread in each tale was a stakeholder revolt which successfully challenged the board's apparent emergency decisions to shut down operations. The rebel force in each organization (bolstered by supporters in and beyond the local communities) not only averted a dissolution but also quickly regrouped. Old Read More