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Thoughts From Sandra

By Sandra Trice Gray

The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, convened by INDEPENDENT SECTOR to recommend standards of accountability for charities in America, released a report in June proposing 120 steps to improve nonprofit groups' openness, governance and accountability.

Among other items, the national panel recommends that:

  • Nonprofits with at least $1 million in annual revenues conduct an audit and attach their audited financial statements to their federal Form 990;
  • Penalties be increased on taxpayers who claim excessive deductions or overstate value of donated property, and appraisers who knowingly provide overstated appraisals;
  • Compensation to board members be discouraged;
  • Congress prohibit loans from charities to their board members;
  • Nonprofit boards set up separate audit committees; and
  • Conflict-of-interest statements and policies to protect whistleblowers be established.

To read an article about Pittsburgh's response to the panel's standards, visit

by Richard C. Harwood

The mechanistic response is a kind of milquetoast, middle of the road, make-few-waves approach to the deep challenges we face in our society, which I talk about in Hope Unraveled. I believe that we must discard this mechanistic approach and embrace an alternative which has two big components:

1. First, those of us pursuing civic-oriented initiatives must become what I call ?ruthlessly strategic.? We must be clear on the conditions we face, what it takes for communities to actually change, what the right levers are at the right time to spark such change, and the capacity that is needed in the community to bring about change. We all have limited resources. So, my concern is how we determine the best set of actions that will increase our likelihood for real progress. I often say in speeches that we have become ?activity happy and action deprived.? We must be much more strategic in our efforts.

2. Second, I also believe that we must focus much more on the so-called soft side of the equation ? what I would call ?hope? or ?civic faith? or people?s aspirations . . . different people will use different terms. But the point is that we are in the business of people, of generating a sense of possibility and hope. After all, this is the most basic element of life that enables people to keep going, keep trying, keep aspiring to fulfill their needs and their dreams. Too often we discard this piece precisely because we want to appear strategic.

The mechanistic approach robs us of these two components. It puts us on automatic pilot just when we need to make choices about what it means to be truly strategic and what will give people hope.

So, here I am Seattle and the good news is that many of the community foundation executives here want to figure out how to take an alternate path in public life and politics. I?m ready to get going.

Cited and used with permission from The Harwood Institute. To read the entire article, click here.

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by Dr. John C. Maxwell

  1. Personal growth. It is the responsibility of each individual to grow personally, but it's the leader's responsibility to help facilitate that process.
  2. Making a significant contribution. I believe every person ought to do something that he or she truly believes is making a difference.
  3. Living and working with passion. I don't know about you, but I want everyone around me to love what they do as much as I do. I have no desire to motivate people the people I work with to get passionate about life. I would rather beg them to find another job!
  4. Commitment to excellence. As I've written in this column before, I believe each of us should set the bar higher for ourselves than anybody else will.
  5. Team leadership. The only way to build a successful organization is by developing a great team around you.
  6. Living a life of integrity. Without this, everything else is meaningless.

Cited and used with permission from Leadership Wired. To read the entire article, click here.

by Tom Adams, President, TransitionGuides

The relationship between the founder or long-term executive and the board contributes to the complexity of founder transitions (see the monograph for a full discussion of these challenges).

  • Accountability/who's "really" in charge
  • Survival fear/responsibility panic
  • Time and commitment anxiety
  • Authority and power issues
  • Competing values
  • Accountability
  • Fundraising dependence on founder

While there may be no simple solutions to these difficult problems, there are several paths founders and their boards can pursue to address these issues and strengthen their organizations.

Cited and used with permission from To read the entire article, click here.

by Katherine Tyler Scott

Yale researchers, Peter Salovey, Ph.D. and John Mayer, Ph.D. define emotional intelligence as "the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and action."

Emotional intelligence integrates emotion and cognition and measures four related abilities.

  1. Perception: The ability to accurately identify your own and others emotions.
  2. Use: The ability to use emotions to facilitate thought and to generate emotions to solve problems.
  3. Understanding: The ability to comprehend the causes and progressive changes in emotions.
  4. Management: The ability to manage emotions and use emotional awareness in making prudent decisions.

All four abilities are related and have a high correlation with performance.

Cited and used with permission from Trustee Leadership Development. To read the entire article, click here.