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
About The Author
Rick joined NPQ in 2006, after almost eight years as the executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). Before that he played various roles as a community worker and advisor to others doing community work. He also worked in government. Cohen pursued investigative and analytical articles, advocated for increased philanthropic giving and access for disenfranchised constituencies, and promoted increased philanthropic and nonprofit accountability.