Management 101: Don’t Make Campaign Contributions from Your Nonprofit Account

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August 3, 2011; Source: Mercury News | The head of the Alameda Boys & Girls Club called it an “extremely minor incident” that the organization sent a check for $250 to Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore’s fundraiser to help retire her campaign debt.  The Boys & Girls club CEO, George Phillips, called the issuance of the check “an accident,” unrelated to Gilmore’s having voted in 2009 to award the organization $1 million in park bond funds and an additional $1 million loan to complete its new facility.  Phillips said that he might have been carrying a pre-signed (and co-signed by the board president) Boys & Girls Club check when he attended the fundraiser and inadvertently handed in that check rather than a personal check at the Mayor’s fundraiser (he says he carries pre-signed checks to pay for club supplies).  When the mayor saw the donation, unfortunately after the check had been cashed, she returned the money to the Boys & Girls Club and Phillips promised to write a personal check for the same amount.  It seems like Phillips might have had a brain freeze while attending the Mayor’s event.  Given the risk, not just of writing an inadvertent check to politicians, but getting mugged, one might be reconsider walking around with pre-signed nonprofit organization checks.—Rick Cohen

  • Trixie

    Management 101A: When someone donates a car to your organization with the understanding you’ll sell it to raise money, don’t drive it for a year as your personal vehicle before selling it. Rumor has it this is a common practice of this CEO.

    Of course, it will be my fault for pointing this out, rather than his for blurring the lines. Of course.