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Ethics, Law, and Board Governance in Philanthropic Organizations

Today the nonprofit sector faces public scrutiny once reserved for corporations and government. Well-publicized scandals have contributed to a decline in trust, even though an overwhelming number of nonprofit professionals and board members act honorably. Once universally held in high esteem, the nonprofit sector must act to repair and protect its reputation. Examine the institutions, processes, and policies related to ethical behavior, legal compliance, and effective governance in the nonprofit sector. Boards of directors have ultimate responsibility in this regard; they are the last stop in the chain of accountability. But staff members, as well, must be aware of their obligations. The main topics of this course include the nonprofit board of directors (structures, functions, roles, and responsibilities), federal regulations, New York State regulations, financial oversight, and ethics in the nonprofit sector. In addition to practical matters, we will address theoretical questions, such as what constitutes an ethical culture, whether self-regulation works, and what the future holds for nonprofit governance. We will examine case studies to illustrate key points. Some classes will include student-led discussion of case studies.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • An awareness of the problems facing the nonprofit sector with regard to ethics, law, and board governance
  • The knowledge needed to act in ways that strengthen an organization’s performance with regard to ethics, law, and board governance
  • A framework for ethical decision-making
  • The ability to identify and explain case studies that detail problems facing the nonprofit sector
  • Strengthened writing skills and presentation skills
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.