• Michael F. Cade

    This is an important issue and Boards need to use good judgement when dealing with conflicts of interest. The original article from Mercury News provides both sides of the story (as it should). It even noted that the Board member who resigned writes for the author’s publication.

    The NPQ summary, on the other hand, is disappointingly one-sided.

    The original article describes the situation as: the Board made a COI determination, a Board members took issue with the decision and resigned. After her resignation, some donors started raising issues. It is unclear if the resignation was the trigger or the issue of the conflict. Several opinions from each side of the issue were presented.

    The NPQ article immediately criticizes the Board’s decision, discusses what was going on in people’s heads, and finishes by stating that “a number of board members are leaving in protest” when in fact the number is one!

    After reading the NPQ article, I was shocked at what seemed to be a near negligent lack of thoughtfulness on the part of the Board at Sempervirens and even more surprised by the dismissive tone of the communication from the Chair. However, after reading the original article, it was clear that there was thoughtful discussion and clear communication. I am not sure if the Board acted correctly, but I can begin to see the issue from both sides.

    I want to hear Ms. Rubin’s opinions, as well as the others who write for NPQ on the topics that are meaningful to them. I expect them to take positions, but not to ignore or diminish those with alternate positions.

    I fear that simplifying issues and ignoring the other side of the argument can turn reporting into punditry. I believe that those in the NFP media are better than that.

    This is far from the first article of its ilk and I hope that NPQ will adopt a more balanced editorial style.