restricted access Board Oversight of Community Benefit: An Ethical Imperative
Abstract

Board oversight of community benefit responsibility in tax-exempt organizations in the nonprofit health care sector is attracting considerable attention. Scrutiny by the IRS and other official bodies has led to stricter measures of compliance with the community benefit standard. But stricter compliance does not sufficiently engage the underlying ethical imperative for boards to provide effective oversight—an imperative that recent research suggests has not been sufficiently honored. This analysis considers why there is a distinctively ethical imperative for board oversight, the organizational nature of the imperative involved, and practical ways to fulfill its obligations. We adopt an organizational ethics paradigm to illuminate the constituent components of the ethical imperative and to clarify emerging benchmarks as flexible guidelines. As these emerging benchmarks enhance board oversight of community benefit they also can shed light on what it means to be a virtuous organization.


pdf