Code of Ethics

Every nonprofit should adhere to a code of ethics that reflects their proper handling of donor funds and issues pertaining to how services are provided.  CLICK HERE for further information. 

Academy for Grassroots Organizations Code of Ethics

I. Introduction

As a matter of fundamental principle, the nonprofit and philanthropic community should adhere to the highest ethical standards because it is the right thing to do. As a matter of pragmatic self-interest, the community should do so because public trust in our performance is the bedrock of our legitimacy. Donors and volunteers support charitable organizations because they trust them to carry out their missions, to be good stewards of their resources, and to uphold rigorous standards of conduct.

Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations must earn this trust every day and in every possible way. But organizations are, at base, people, and it is up to the people of Academy for Grassroots Organizations board members, executive leaders, staff and volunteers to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the core values of ethical practice, inclusiveness and welcoming, transparency and accountability, and objectivity and neutrality.

Adherence to the law is the minimum standard of expected behavior. Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations must do more, however, than simply obey the law. We must embrace the spirit of the law, often going beyond legal requirements and making sure that what we do is matched by what the public understands about what we do. Transparency, openness and responsiveness to public concerns must be integral to our behavior.
 
II. Statement of Values

Any code of ethics is built on a foundation of widely shared values. The values of the independent sector include:

  • Commitment to the public good;
  • Ethical practice;
  • Accountability to the public;
  • Commitment beyond the law;
  • Respect for the worth and dignity of individuals;
  • Inclusiveness and welcoming;
  • Respect for diversity
  • Transparency, integrity and honesty;
  • Responsible stewardship of resources; and,
  • Commitment to excellence and to maintaining the public trust.
  • Objectivity and neutrality

These values lead directly to the Code of Ethics that follows. The values inform and guide the actions that Academy for Grassroots Organizations should take in developing its policies and informing its practices.

III. The Code of Ethics

A. Personal and Professional Integrity

All staff, board members and volunteers of Academy for Grassroots Organizations act with honesty, integrity and openness in all their dealings as representatives of Academy for Grassroots Organizations. Academy for Grassroots Organizations promotes a working environment that values respect, fairness and integrity. 

B. Mission

Academy for Grassroots Organizations has a clearly stated mission and purpose, approved by the board of directors, in pursuit of the public good. All of its programs support that mission and all who work for or on behalf of Academy for Grassroots Organizations understand and are loyal to that mission and purpose. The mission is responsive to the constituency and communities served by Academy for Grassroots Organizations and of value to the society at large. 

C. Governance

Academy for Grassroots Organizations has an active governing body that is responsible for setting the mission and strategic direction of Academy for Grassroots Organizations and oversight of the finances, operations, and policies of Academy for Grassroots Organizations. The governing body:

  • Ensures that its board members or trustees have the requisite skills and experience to carry out their duties and that all members understand and fulfill their governance duties acting for the benefit of Academy for Grassroots Organizations and its public purpose;
  • Has a conflict of interest policy that ensures that any conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof are avoided or appropriately managed through disclosure, recusal or other means; and
  • Is responsible for the hiring, firing, and regular review of the performance of the chief executive officer, and ensures that the compensation of the chief executive officer is reasonable and appropriate;
  • Ensures that the CEO and appropriate staff provide the governing body with timely and comprehensive information so that the governing body can effectively carry out its duties;
  • Ensures that Academy for Grassroots Organizations conducts all transactions and dealings with integrity and honesty;
  • Ensures that Academy for Grassroots Organizations promotes working relationships with board members, staff, volunteers, and program beneficiaries that are based on mutual respect, fairness and openness;
  • Ensures that Academy for Grassroots Organizations is fair and inclusive in its hiring and promotion policies and practices for all board, staff and volunteer positions;
  • Ensures that policies of Academy for Grassroots Organizations are in writing, clearly articulated and officially adopted;
  • Ensures that the resources of Academy for Grassroots Organizations are responsibly and prudently managed; and,
  • Ensures that Academy for Grassroots Organizations has the capacity to carry out its programs effectively. 

D. Legal Compliance

Academy for Grassroots Organizations is knowledgeable of and complies with all laws, regulations and applicable international conventions.

E. Responsible Stewardship

Academy for Grassroots Organizations manages its funds responsibly and prudently. This should include the following considerations:

  • It spends a reasonable percentage of its annual budget on programs in pursuance of its mission;
  • It spends an adequate amount on administrative expenses to ensure effective accounting systems, internal controls, competent staff, and other expenditures critical to professional management;
  • Academy for Grassroots Organizations compensates staff, and any others who may receive compensation, reasonably and appropriately;
  • Academy for Grassroots Organizations has reasonable fundraising costs, recognizing the variety of factors that affect fundraising costs;
  • Academy for Grassroots Organizations prudently draws from endowment funds consistent with donor intent and to support the public purpose of Academy for Grassroots Organizations;
  • Academy for Grassroots Organizations ensures that all spending practices and policies are fair, reasonable and appropriate to fulfill the mission of Academy for Grassroots Organizations; and,
  • All financial reports are factually accurate and complete in all material respects. 

F. Openness and Disclosure

Academy for Grassroots Organizations provides comprehensive and timely information to the public, the media, and all stakeholders and is responsive in a timely manner to reasonable requests for information. All information about Academy for Grassroots Organizations will fully and honestly reflect the policies and practices of Academy for Grassroots Organizations. Basic informational data about Academy for Grassroots Organizations, such as the Form 990, reviews and compilations, and audited financial statements will be posted on Academy for Grassroots Organizations's website or otherwise available to the public. All solicitation materials accurately represent Academy for Grassroots Organizations's policies and practices and will reflect the dignity of program beneficiaries. All financial, organizational, and program reports will be complete and accurate in all material respects.

G. Program Evaluation

Academy for Grassroots Organizations regularly reviews program effectiveness and has mechanisms to incorporate lessons learned into future programs. Academy for Grassroots Organizations is committed to improving program and organizational effectiveness and develops mechanisms to promote learning from its activities and the field. Academy for Grassroots Organizations is responsive to changes in its field of activity and is responsive to the needs of its constituencies.

H. Inclusiveness and Diversity

Academy for Grassroots Organizations has a policy of promoting inclusiveness and its staff, board and volunteers reflect diversity in order to enrich its programmatic effectiveness. Academy for Grassroots Organizations takes meaningful steps to promote inclusiveness in its hiring, retention, promotion, board recruitment and constituencies served.

I. Fundraising

Academy for Grassroots Organizations is truthful in its solicitation materials. It respects the privacy concerns of individual donors and expends funds consistent with donor intent. Academy for Grassroots Organizations discloses important and relevant information to potential donors.

In raising funds from the public, Academy for Grassroots Organizations will respect the rights of donors, as follows:

  • To be informed of the mission of Academy for Grassroots Organizations, the way the resources will be used and the capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes;
  • To be informed of the identity of those serving on Academy for Grassroots Organizations's governing board and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities;
  • To have access to Academy for Grassroots Organizations's most recent financial reports;
  • To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given;
  • To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition;
  • To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by the law;
  • To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature;
  • To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of Academy for Grassroots Organizations or hired solicitors;
  • To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that may be shared; and,
  • To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.