Fiduciary Responsibility of Nonprofit Boards

The recent high-profile ouster of Southern Poverty Law Center CEO and Founder Morris Dees, and the resignation of Board Chair Richard Cohen, show how things can go awry when a board does not provide appropriate oversight.

The board collectively, and directors/trustees individually, owe fiduciary duties to the nonprofit organization they serve. In essence, exercising fiduciary duties means that board members have a duty to act with care and in the best interest of the organization and remain loyal to its mission, as opposed to acting in their own interest or the interest of the CEO/Executive Director they supervise.