This morning I attended a presentation on the fiduciary obligations of non-profit Boards of Directors. The panelists were Darya Allen-Attar (Morgan Stanley), Cheryl A. Calhoun (CBIZ MHM LLC), Lisa Greer Quateman (Polsinelli) and Mary Adams O’Connell (Adams O’Connell, Inc.). The panelists, all active on nonprofit Boards of Directors including the American Lung Association, Westside Family YMCA and Children’s Hospital, spoke about conflicts of interest and other fiduciary obligations. Just because you are volunteering your time to a worth charity, you as a Director are still subject to duties of loyalty, duties of care and, in the non-profit world, duties of obedience. An excellent take away from the talk, which applies to your for-profit business as well as non-profits, is to identify the biggest risks to your organization. Oftentimes this is called the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). The standards of conduct for Directors in non-profit Boards is set forth in the California Corporations Code, sections 5210-5260.
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