Below is a brief summary of the key points covered in Tzedakah, Inc.’s “Standards of Practice for Jewish Philanthropies in the United States.” The full nine-page document may be found in Be Pure Before God and Israel: Principles of Ethics, Governance, and Accountability of Jewish Philanthropies in the United States . Paper copies are available from Tzedakah, Inc. at $10.
The governing board should be an active, informed, and independent body that provides ongoing oversight and direction intended to promote the organization’s best interest.
· Compliance with all laws
The organization should be aware of, and comply with, all federal, state, and local laws governing its operations.
· Reporting and disclosure
The organization should operate in an open fashion. It should make available to the public specified financial reports prepared in full compliance with relevant accounting standards, a narrative description of its activities, and other relevant information.
· Stewardship of resources
The organizational resources should be devoted to optimally achieving its mission. An appropriate balance should be struck among expenditures on program, fundraising, and administration. Assets should be adequate, but not excessive. Appropriate controls should be imposed to protect organizational resources.
· Fundraising practices
Solicitation materials should fairly describe the purposes to which funds will be put. Donors and those being solicited should be treated respect and consideration.
· Human resources
The organization should establish and follow written polices that treat employees, volunteers, and beneficiaries fairly and respectfully. Such policy should include an adequate grievance procedure.
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