The question of whether to reject funding from wealthy donors with tainted reputations is an issue that nonprofits have grappled with for generations. This topic has garnered more widespread public attention in recent months, largely due to decisions by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other museums to reject donations from the Sackler family because of the family’s ownership of Purdue Pharma, the privately-held pharmaceutical company that produces OxyContin, one of the most common drugs involved in prescription opioid deaths.
A nonprofit board must weigh competing factors when considering its decision on this issue. Some boards may choose to decline these donations because of misalignment with the mission and values of the organization and the associated “reputational risk” of acceptance. Other boards may choose to accept the donations because in their assessment, the potential impact of the funds to serve the public good exceeds the potential damage to the organization’s reputation or the impact of declining the funds as a “symbolic statement” against the tainted donor.
Read the full article about nonprofit choices about tainted donors at BoardSource.