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Friday, January 19, 2018

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Conflicts of Interest: Steering Clear of Potholes and Other Bumps in the Road
National Center for Family Philanthropy

June, 2010

Most family foundations prefer to focus on the business of giving, without having to worry about tripping over the sometimes obscure rules and regulations that govern this work. But the fact is that family foundation boards need to be aware of potential potholes on the road named philanthropy. Driving blind down this road can get you into trouble.

One potential pothole is real or perceived conflict of interest, a topic frequently misunderstood, and often confused with self-dealing.

Briefly, a conflict of interest can arise when a foundation board member or officer has a personal interest in a transaction that may be inconsistent with the best interests of the foundation. Another way to think of this is that under fiduciary standards, the duty of loyalty requires that board members set aside personal interests and act solely in the best interests of the foundation.

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