Conflict of Interest Policy
Article I, Purpose
The purpose of the conflict of interest policy is to protect the interest of the Grassy Creek Foundation (the “Foundation”) when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of a trustee of the Foundation or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction. This policy is intended to supplement but not replace the conflict of interest rules set forth in any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations such as the Foundation.
Article II, Definitions
1. Interested Person: Any trustee or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.
2. Financial Interest: A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
a. an ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the Foundation has a transaction or arrangement,
b. a compensation arrangement with the Foundation or with any entity or individual with which the Foundation has a transaction or arrangement, or
c. a potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the Foundation is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.
Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.
A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Under Article III, Section 2, a person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the appropriate governing board or committee decides that a conflict of interest exists.
Article III, Procedures
1. Duty to Disclose: In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the trustees and members of committees with governing board delegated powers considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.
2. Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists: After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, he/she shall leave the governing board or committee meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board or committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
3. Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest:
a. An interested person may make a presentation at the governing board or committee meeting, but after the presentation, he/she shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.
b. The chairperson of the governing board or committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.
c. After exercising due diligence, the governing board or committee shall determine whether the Foundation can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.
d. If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the governing board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested trustees whether the transaction or arrangement is in the Foundation's best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement.
4. Violations of the Conflict of Interest Policy:
a. If the governing board or committee has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
b. If, after hearing the member's response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the governing board or committee determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.
Article IV. Records of Proceedings
The minutes of the governing board and all committees with board delegated powers shall contain:
a. The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the governing board's or committee's decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.
b. The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.
Article V, Compensation
a. A voting member of the governing board who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Foundation for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member's compensation.
b. A voting member of any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Foundation for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member's compensation.
c. No voting member of the governing board or any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Foundation, either individually or collectively, is prohibited from providing information to any committee regarding compensation.
Article VI, Annual Statements
Each trustee and member of a committee with governing board delegated powers shall annually sign a statement which affirms such person:
a. has received a copy of the conflict of interest policy,
b. has read and understands the policy,
c. has agreed to comply with the policy, and
d. understands the Foundation is charitable and in order to maintain its federal tax exemption it must engage primarily in activities which accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes.
Article VII, Periodic Reviews
To ensure the Foundation operates in a manner consistent with charitable purposes and does not engage in activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status, periodic reviews shall be conducted. The periodic reviews shall, at a minimum, include the following subjects:
a. Whether compensation arrangements and benefits are reasonable, based on competent survey information, and the result of arm's length bargaining.
b. Whether partnerships, joint ventures, and arrangements with management organizations conform to the Foundation's written policies, are properly recorded, reflect reasonable investment or payments for goods and services, further charitable purposes and do not result in inurement, impermissible private benefit or in an excess benefit transaction.
Article VIII, Use of Outside Experts
When conducting the periodic reviews as provided for in Article VII, the Foundation may, but need not, use outside advisors. If outside experts are used, their use shall not relieve the governing board of its responsibility for ensuring periodic reviews are conducted.
This Conflict of Interest Policy was adopted by the Trustees of the Foundation as of November 30, 2011.
Whistleblower Protection Policy
Grassy Creek Foundation (GCF or the Foundation) requires trustees, officers, and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities.
This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns internally so that the Foundation can address and correct inappropriate conduct and actions. It is the responsibility of all trustees, officers, employees and volunteers to report concerns about suspected violations of law or regulations that govern the Foundation’s operations.
It is contrary to the values of the Foundation for anyone to retaliate against any trustee, officer, employee or volunteer who in good faith reports an ethics violation, or a suspected violation of law, such as a complaint of discrimination, or suspected fraud, or suspected violation of any regulation governing the operations of the Foundation. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.
The Foundation has an open door policy and suggests that employees share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with their supervisor. If you are not comfortable speaking with your supervisor or you are not satisfied with your supervisor’s response, you are encouraged to speak with a trustee. Supervisors and managers are required to report complaints or concerns about suspected ethical and legal violations in writing to a Foundation trustee, who has the responsibility to inform other trustees and ensure all reported complaints are investigated. Employees with concerns or complaints may also submit their concerns in writing directly to their supervisor or to a trustee.
Trustees are responsible for ensuring that all complaints about unethical or illegal conduct are investigated and resolved. The trustee informed of the complaint or concern will ensure that the Board of Trustees is advised of all complaints and their resolution and an annual report on any compliance activity relating to accounting or alleged financial improprieties will be presented to the trustees.
Accounting and Auditing Matters
A Foundation trustee informed of the complaint or concern shall ensure that the appropriate accounting experts are immediately notified of any concerns or complaints regarding corporate accounting practices, internal controls, or auditing, and ensure that the Foundation works with those experts until the matter is resolved.
Acting in Good Faith
Anyone filing a written complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation. Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.
Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant. Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.
Handling of Reported Violations
A Foundation trustee will notify the person who submitted a complaint and acknowledge receipt of the reported violation or suspected violation. All reports will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by the investigation.
Anti-Harassment / Anti-Discrimination Policy
The Grassy Creek Foundation is committed to a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunities and prohibits unlawful discriminatory practices, including harassment. Therefore, the Foundation expects that all relationships among persons in the office will be business-like and free of bias, prejudice and harassment.
The Foundation has developed this policy to ensure that all its employees can work in an environment free from unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation. The Foundation will make every reasonable effort to ensure that all concerned are familiar with these policies and are aware that any complaint in violation of such policies will be investigated and resolved appropriately.
Any employee who has questions or concerns about these policies should talk with his or her supervisor or, if applicable, a Trustee, any member of human resources, of the personnel practices committee.
These policies should not, and may not, be used as a basis for excluding or separating individuals of a particular gender, or any other protected characteristic, from participating in business or work-related social activities or discussions. In other words, no one should make the mistake of engaging in discrimination or exclusion to avoid allegations of harassment. The law and the policies of the Foundation prohibit disparate treatment on the basis of sex or any other protected characteristic, with regard to terms, conditions, privileges and perquisites of employment. The prohibitions against harassment, discrimination and retaliation are intended to complement and further those policies, not to form the basis of an exception to them.
Equal employment opportunity
It is the policy of the Foundation to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. The Foundation prohibits any such discrimination or harassment.
The Foundation encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination or harassment. It is the policy of the Foundation to promptly and thoroughly investigate such reports. The Foundation prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation of such reports.
Sexual harassment constitutes discrimination and is illegal under federal, state and local laws. For the purposes of this policy, “sexual harassment” is defined, as in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines, as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when, for example: a) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 recognizes two types of sexual harassment: a) quid pro quo and b) hostile work environment. Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not-so-subtle behaviors and may involve individuals of the same or different gender. Depending on the circumstances, these behaviors may include unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; sexual jokes and innuendo; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; leering, whistling or touching; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; and other physical, verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature.
Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly prohibited. Under this policy, harassment is verbal, written or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law, or that of his or her relatives, friends or associates, and that: a) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, b) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, or c) otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunities.
Harassing conduct includes epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; and written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group that is placed on walls or elsewhere on the employer’s premises or circulated in the workplace, on company time or using company equipment by e-mail, phone (including voice messages), text messages, social networking sites or other means.
Individuals and Conduct Covered
These policies apply to all applicants and employees, whether related to conduct engaged in by fellow employees or by someone not directly connected to the Foundation (e.g., an outside vendor, consultant or customer).
Conduct prohibited by these policies is unacceptable in the workplace and in any work-related setting outside the workplace, such as during business trips, business meetings and business-related social events.
Reporting an Incident of Harassment, Discrimination or Retaliation
The Foundation encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position. Individuals who believe that they have been the victim of such conduct should discuss their concerns with their immediate supervisor, any member of the personnel practices committee, human resources or any ombudsman. See the complaint procedure described below.
In addition, the Foundation encourages individuals who believe they are being subjected to such conduct to promptly advise the offender that his or her behavior is unwelcome and to request that it be discontinued. Often this action alone will resolve the problem. The Foundation recognizes, however, that an individual may prefer to pursue the matter through complaint procedures.
Individuals who believe they have been the victims of conduct prohibited by this policy or believe they have witnessed such conduct should discuss their concerns with their immediate supervisor, or, if applicable, any member of human resources, of the personnel practices committee or any ombudsman.
The Foundation encourages the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns so that rapid and constructive action can be taken before relationships become irreparably strained. Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established, early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of harassment.
Any reported allegations of harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be investigated promptly. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge.
Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action.
Retaliation against an individual for reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination itself, will be subject to disciplinary action. Acts of retaliation should be reported immediately and will be promptly investigated and addressed.
Misconduct constituting harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be dealt with appropriately. Responsive action may include, for example, training, referral to counseling or disciplinary action such as a warning, reprimand, withholding of a promotion or pay increase, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay, or termination, as the Foundation believes appropriate under the circumstances.
If a party to a complaint does not agree with its resolution, that party may appeal to the Foundation’s executive director or the chief operating officer.
False and malicious complaints of harassment, discrimination or retaliation (as opposed to complaints that, even if erroneous, are made in good faith) may be the subject of appropriate disciplinary action.