With that in mind, I have chosen three nonprofit organizations to evaluate by examining their websites for their core values. The first organization I have chosen, primarily because of recent negative publicity, is the Susan G. Semen Foundation. The second two groups Vive chosen are Immerse Arkansas and CB, for the simple reason that they have been formed to aid the same segment of the population that Vive chosen for my HON., namely children who age-out of the foster care system. The Susan G. Semen Foundation has come under fire for two issues.
The iris issue is that Nancy Brinier, founder and then CEO caused uproar among supporters of Semen and even heads of other nonprofit agencies with her unprecedented 64% pay increase, taking her annual salary to $684,000. Critics argue that this financial move was unethical and Brinier has since stepped down. The other furor began when The Semen Foundation decided to defend Planned Parenthood. As quoted by NBC News: ” In early 2012, Semen announced it was pulling its grants for breast-cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood, drawing an immediate backlash from Semen supporters and abortion rights advocates.
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Within days, Nancy Brinier, the group’s founder and CEO, reversed the decision to defend the organization” (NBC News, 2013). These two issues seem to fly in the face of the teachings of Rene and others. Rene states that “if the managers of public benefit nonprofits wish to ensure the ethical behavior of their organizations, staffs and themselves, then they need to create and maintain organizational cultures that hone in practice (as fundamental) a set of “core values” that are in keeping with the historic, philosophical, moral and religious roots of the voluntary sector, and that et current public expectations” (Rene, 2010).
Interestingly enough, Semen’s Code of Ethics is very inclusive, especially in the area of financial conflicts. Their code states: “Each Individual shall place the best interest of the Affiliate foremost in any dealings relating to the Affiliate, and shall not use his or her relationship with the Affiliate in any way that will inure to his or her personal benefit. Each Individual shall at all times act with decorum, honesty, integrity and in accordance with the highest ethical standards, shall avoid any conflict between his/her personal, professional or equines interests” (Semen, 2013).
Interesting enough, failure to meet these standards can result in permanent separation from the organization. The second NP I chose is Immerse Arkansas. This group, founded in 2008, uses the tagging “Preparing our Foster Youth for a Successful Tomorrow”. They go further to explain the goals of the organization, “At Immerse Arkansas our goal is to make that transition possible. We partner with foster youth and provide them the professional and emotional support needed for a successful future. They also have a mission, vision and values statement. Since this nonprofit is in my specific field of interest, I was very impressed with the straightforward simplicity of both their website and their statements of purpose. I felt their approach was much more impact than the Semen Code of Ethics. Semen’s code looked like it was written by a gaggle of lawyers. Immerse Arkansas website was designed to be concise and poignant. I was pleased with their display of success stories, personally written by two of their program successes.
I only wish there were more than two. Their section on “what we do” was quite succinct and impact. They identified the problem, and then quickly detailed their vision as one of the acceptable solutions to the problem. There was not a ton of ego involved and I respect that. One sad note is that their blob hasn’t been updated since December, 2011. I’m not sure if they’re still operational. The third nonprofit for me was CB, also known as Connected by 25.
Their goal is to do everything possible to take care of the foster children as they age-out of care, and aid them in connecting to their community. I came across about this organization during some of my search, but I was surprised to find how difficult it was to find the umbrella organization. When I goggled Connected by 25, I was referred to local chapters, none of which talked about the founder, the headquarters of the organization, or links to any other groups working in different areas of the country.
I finally found a tiny reference at the bottom of the Hillsboro chapter website that identified the trademark as belonging to CB Initiative, Inc. This website seemed to be a source of training and data management rather than an inspirational leader, referring to the National Youth in Transition database. By reviewing a few of the CB websites, I found that the intentions of this group are very good. Their code of ethics varies from site to site, but their overall intention is to identify and deliver transitional services to the newly aged-out foster youth.
The website I like the most was the CB from Hillsboro County, Florida. They detailed their mission statement and had easy access to understand all the programs they provided to empower these usually helpless, homeless youth. They also included success stories and a large plea for money – offering matching grant funding as an incentive. After reviewing these websites, I think I’m better prepared to think through what the mission statement, code of ethics and public face that I would prefer for my HON..