Nonprofit Ethics

Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are held to higher moral standards. Because their social and community values associated with their missions, NPOs that commit unethical or illegal activities make us have more resentments towards them. Although the nonprofit sector incorporates all the values and failures of any other businesses and organizations, the public has entrusted these special types of organizations with a mandate to “do good and do it well.” 

In the MNA program, we believe that leadership and ethics are at the core of our learning and our dedicated careers for the social sector. Hence, our graduate students learn and reflect on the proper behaviors by analyzing unethical and illegal case studies and the reasons that brought such individuals and organizations to act against their public mandate.

The following are examples of the case studies we identify and analyze during our graduate studies. We share them with the public in the hope of promoting more ethical practices and avoid unethical and illegal pitfalls in our mission-driven works.

Unethical Case Studies Fall 2019

Money Over Mission- A Case Study of International Life Sciences Institute
By Jieun Lee and Megan Clare

This case study analyzes the connection between the health and food regulatory industry and the unhealthy food industry through an investigation of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). This cases study questions if there is an unethical connection between the two industries and if ILSI should be considered a nonprofit.
Case Study 1 Presentation

Voldemort’s Money: Donations From “He Who Must Not be Named”- A Case Study of MIT’s Reception of Unethical Donations from Jeffrey Epstein and his Foundation
By Oak Suradet Sansern and Amelia Ashley

This case study takes a look at the purposely hidden and off the record donations that MIT continued to accept from Epstein after his criminal charges and subsequent placement on MIT’s unacceptable donor list. The case study also briefly touches on the “whitewashing of donors” and the “colonization of academia.”
Case Study 2 Presentation
Case Study 2 Analysis

Culture of Impunity in the United Nations Peacekeeper Operations- A Case Study of Sexual Assault During UN Peacekeeping Operations

This case study provides a critique of UN peacekeeping operations specifically the sexual assault cases committed by UN peacekeepers. These case result in little to no compensation for the victims and absolutely no punitive action being taken against the assailants. This case study also questions the validity of peacekeeping operations as a whole.
Case Study 3 Presentation

Unethical Telemarketing by Disabled Police And Sheriffs Foundation, Inc.- A Case Study of False Claims Regarding Allocations of Donor Funds

This case study investigates a nonprofit created to assist disabled police officers and sheriffs and it’s false claims of donation allocation. This case study provides research and analysis on this nonprofit, which after multiple complaints were filed against it, was dissolved and the founder was banned from engaging in charitable fundraising or nonprofit organizational activities.
Case Study 4 Presentation
Case Study 4 Analysis

Unethical Case Studies Spring 2019

Catholic Charity Sexual Abuses – NunsToo Movement
Case Study 1 Presentation
Case Study 1 Description

Manufacturing College Applications – A Case Study of Key Worldwide Foundation, Edge College & Career Network LLC, and William Singer
Case Study Presentation
Case Study Description

American Red Cross Mismanagement – Transparency and Aid, Hurricane Harvey
Case Study Presentation
Case Study Description

Food for the Poor (FFTP) – Bribery, Fraud, and Deceit
Case Study Presentation
Case Study Description

Unethical Case Studies 2018

The Donald J. Trump Foundation: Morally Bankrupt Leadership

Our case study will examine the unethical behavior of the Donald J Trump Foundation and the impending lawsuit against members of the Trump family. The study will address the illegal use of foundation funds and the ethical implications surrounding a lack of transparency in foundation reporting. We will discuss the ways that this case study can help enhance our understanding of several topics relevant to class including foundation transparency, self-dealing transactions, board oversight, and unethical leadership. We will also share two videos related to the case that will provide a quick snapshot of the facts. From there we will ask several crucial questions about ethical behavior, the role of foundations in the nonprofit sector, and the lack of integrity in the current administration.

Case Study 1 Description
Case Study 1 Presentation

The Oxfam Sex Scandal: “A Lie has no Leg, but a Scandal has Wings” -Thomas Fuller

The Oxfam case study covers the organization’s reaction to sexual allegations of aid workers with aid recipients after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti under the leadership of Roland van Hauwermeiren, Oxfam’s former head of operations in Haiti. The internal investigations led by the former head of Global safeguarding Helen Evans show sexual misconduct in not only Haiti
but numerous other places where the organization operated. However, the leadership did not take her findings into account and instead of confronting this problem, it tried to cover it up. This was
not until February 2018 when more whistleblowers spoke up and the case got the attention of the media that actions needed to be taken. The case study will chronologically describe the events that occurred and what actions Oxfam has taken to prevent this situation from happening again.

Case Study 2 Description
Case Study 2 Presentation

Betraying the Trust of SDWR Clients

This case study examines the Services Dogs by Warren Retrievers Nonprofit organization controversy and a lawsuit that emerged in May 2018. SDWR was sued by Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring. SDWR and Warren (founder & ED) have violated the VCPA (Virginia consumer protection act) and the VSOC (Virginia Solicitation of Contributions) law, by misrepresenting to clients, or deceiving clients, about the Diabetic Alert Dog’s testing, training,
skills, abilities, and efficacy (Erin, R, 2018). All of the services that would be included in the cost of the dogs and how the dogs could be paid for. They also misrepresented to clients how long consumers would have to pay their balances due to their dogs and whether consumers could receive refunds or not. Finally, Warren also made specific misrepresentations about his military service and background as well as their partnership with JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) a charitable organization dedicated to funding type 1 diabetes research.

Case Study 4 Description
Case Study 4 Presentation

Unethical Case Studies 2017

The Church at Pierce Creek and the Johnson Amendment: How the First Amendment Intersects with the Tax Code and Present Applications

Download the Presentation of Case 1.

Where’s the goodwill at Goodwill Omaha?

Download the Presentation of Case 2.

Embezzlement and Murder: An Examination of MidCentral Educational Cooperative (MCEC) and Gear Up 

Download the Presentation of Case 3.

The Gregarious Gregorys: Wounded Warriors Support Group, Central Coast Equine Rescue & Retirement

UWA: Creating Lemonade out of Lemons: A Road to Rebuilding Trust.

Download the Presentation of Case 5.

Feed The Children: Repeat Offenders: Illegal and/or Unethical?

Download the Presentation of Case 6.

Helpers Community Inc.: The Devil Wears Prada: Socialite is Served – With Justice

Download the Presentation of Case 7.

Reynolds’ fraudulent cancer charities

Download the Presentation Case 8

The Downfall of the Vanguard Public Foundation 

Download the Presentation of Case 9.

Families for Excellent Schools: Deception and Political Malpractice 

Download the Presentation of Case 10.

Wounded Warrior Project: Using Veteran Pain for Executive Gain 

Download the Presentation of Case 11.

Where did the money go? $500 million raised for Haiti after 2010 earthquake, 6 homes built so far. 

Download the Presentation of Case 12.

– Educating Social Sector Leaders Since 1983 –

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