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Faith Rivers James publishes on nonprofit governance

The Berkeley Business Law Journal has published scholarship by Elon Law Professor Faith Rivers James focusing on demographic diversity as a strategy for nonprofits to achieve better corporate governance and organizational performance.

The article by Rivers James, titled “Nonprofit Pluralism and the Public Trust: Constructing a Transparent, Accountable, and Culturally Competent Board Governance Paradigm,” is available in volume 9 of the Berkeley Business Law Journal.

The abstract for the article follows:

“In recent years, the nonprofit sector has come under scrutiny for failings of governance that present themselves in the form of policy controversies and operational scandals. Notwithstanding the altruistic nature of nonprofit organizations, too often, there is a gulf between good intentions and good governance. This article suggests that nonprofits should follow the example of the for-profit corporate sector and employ demographic diversity as a strategy to achieve better corporate governance.

“Demographic data indicates that the majority of nonprofit boards are significantly exclusionary in their constitution and governance. The lack of diversity can impair a nonprofit board's efforts to be effective, inclusive, and pluralistic organizations. Nonprofits that employ diversity in governance are better positioned to maintain obedience to the organizational mission. Diverse governance enables a nonprofit board to employ better decision-making processes, and enables boards to define and achieve goals in a culturally competent, more efficient manner.

“In the spirit of democratic pluralism, nonprofit organizations and foundations should disclose board demographic composition as a strategy to achieve more transparent and accountable leadership. Modeling government-led efforts to disclose board demographic diversity (e.g., the Legal Services Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission), the sector can establish a paradigm for diverse governance that yields better nonprofit organizational performance.”

At Elon Law, Rivers James teaches Legislation, Nonprofit Organizations, Property, and Public Law & Leadership, a course she created. She also serves as director of leadership programs at the law school. She has served in the private practice of law, as a senior adviser to the Majority Leader of the United States Congress and in a variety of leadership positions in legal professional organizations. More information about Elon Law Professor Faith Rivers James is available here. 

Philip Craft,
9/25/2013 4:40 PM