Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What pisses me OFF ! (shonky non profits and shonky board directors)Open letter to Enlightennext Inc Board Directors

Open letter to

Enlightennext Inc Board Directors
Non Profit 22-2951275

Impersonal Enlightenment Fellowship Inc
850 Summer StreetLee MA 01238Lenox MA
Andrew Cohen
Cathy Snow
Robert Voss
Jeffrey Carreria
Gerard Senai

The Board directors of Impersonal Enlightenment Fellowship Inc are by definition fiduciaries, this is a legal duty that takes precedence over the narrower roles you may also play within the community of Andrew Cohen.

As fiduciaries, you are each responsible for setting the strategic direction and policies for Enlightennext to achieve its mission .

You represent Elightennext Inc to the public and are answerable to it. Unlike any volunteer, advisor or special-interest member, you are "legally" accountable for the effective and appropriate use of the nonprofit’s monetary and human resources and for the health, sustainability, and vitality of the organization.

Because of your special responsibilities, fiduciaries are called upon to ask the difficult questions and to make hard, even unpopular decisions.

It is the board that may have to prompt the executive director to consider budgetary cuts, to shift direction to meet changing community needs, or to think more strategically about potential growth opportunities. It is the board that is legally responsible for ensuring that Elightennext is forfilling its legal and statutary obligations as a registered non profit organisation.
It is the board that must decide to ask an executive director to step aside.

Fiduciaries are also responsible for the board’s own health, effectiveness, and sustainability. A well-organized, engaged board can carry out its oversight duties effectively, while a dysfunctional or passive board cannot.

Part of the board’s role then, is to structure itself appropriately, recruit and replenish its membership, orient new members to their critical role as fiduciaries, train and develop its leaders, and provide for succession planning.

The board, too, may need to decide to ask its board chair to step down, an under-performing board member to resign, or to revamp its board’s governance or committee structure to meet changing needs.

Ultimately, a director is more than just a volunteer, or advisor, an ambassador or advocate. Although these roles are all important, they are only pieces of the overall charge – as a fiduciary on behalf of the public.
The board must – first and foremost – be able to recognize and describe its accountability, asking the questions: How does our organization define its community? Who is our constituency? Who are we accountable to? Any member of the public may ask you for this information.

Why ask these particular questions first? In an alarming study of boards in New York and Connecticut published in The Nonprofit Quarterly (Summer 2002), Judith Miller found that when nonprofit board members were asked about their perspectives on accountability, over 70% of them believed that they were accountable only to their fellow board members, or to no one at all.

Miller also addressed the “dual ownership” responsibility that nonprofit boards have: board members have both a legal responsibility to discharge a public benefit/purpose, and an ethical obligation to meet the expectations of those on whose behalf the organization exists. John Carver, one of the founders of the more traditional policy-governance model, uses the term “moral ownership” to describe this dual role.

How can a board assume “moral ownership” if it is not clear who, in fact, it is accountable to?
May I sugesst that in this regard both members and ex members still share "moral ownership" of Elightennext Inc.

Further that as Board Members you expected to determine Elightenext Inc's policies and procedures . They are the safety steps you take to ensure your ultimate service works smoothly. Without them, if anything goes wrong , you can expect your critics to look for your policies and procedures — and to blame the board if they are not in place.

So what kind of policies and procedures should you have? Although they will vary somewhat according to the size and type of organization, here are some suggestions:

Board policies
Board job descriptions
Board self-evaluation
Board nomination process
Conflict of interest policy
Confidentiality policy
Personnel policies
Hiring and firing policies
Harassment policies
Whistleblower policy
Conflict of interest and confidentiality policies
Others Document destruction policy
Code of Ethics

I request that these policies be published immediately and for you to advise the owners http://whatenlightenment.blogspot.com/ of their location so that interested parties and members of the public may view these documents. Please send these documents to whatenlightenment@hotmail.com

The conflict of interest policies are especially important.

These policies will help avoid intermediate sanctions penalties — and the headlines of your local paper or people like Bill Oreilly taking an interest in your affairs. The IRS considers these policies so important that it now requires organizations seeking tax-exemption to submit conflict of interest policies along with their Forms 1023.

Significant and serious allegations have been raised with respect to the proper conduct by directors of Enlightennext Inc of their fiduciary responsibilities. We ask those directors to respond to those concerns or we seek the investigation of the Attorney General so that the public may be satisfied as to the proper operation of Impersonal Enlightenment Fellowship Inc.

A public charity is an entity that is nonprofit, which has a primary purpose to provide assistance or service benefiting an indefinite portion of the public other than the nonprofit's own membership. In addition to philanthropic organizations and foundations, a few examples of public charities include nonprofit hospitals, universities and schools, churches, social service providers, museums, cultural organizations, and youth sports organizations.
Charities provide vital services in our communities.

They also enjoy certain benefits due to their tax exempt status, and assume certain obligations as a result of those benefits.

The Attorney General's responsibility to represent the public interest in the proper use and solicitation of charitable funds includes the authority to take steps, including lawsuits, to ensure that charities are meeting donors' expectations, that charitable donations are not diverted or wasted, and that charities are acting as responsible stewards of their assets.

The Attorney General's authority includes protecting the public from both fraudulent or deceptive fund-raising practices and the misapplication of donated funds. In addition, the Attorney General has authority to ensure that charity officials fulfill their fiduciary duties of loyalty to the charity and of due care in properly seeing that the charities carry out their mission.

As such I have copied this email to David Capeless District Attorney and representative of the Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly .

We are seeking that the Attorney General make further investigations so that ascertain whether this non profit is being properly conducted according to law.


Att David CapelessDistrict Attorney OFFICE ADDRESS: 7 North StreetP.O. Box 1969Pittsfield, MA 01202-1969 PHONE: (413) 443-5951 FAX: (413) 499-6349

A registered copy of this letter has been sent to the Attorney General Tom Reilly , District Attorney David Copeless, Enlightennext Inc Directors (Andrew Cohen,Cathy Snow,Robert Voss,Jeffrey Carreria,Gerard Senai) and Fox Television (Bill Oreilly)

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