Our Roundtable on Enterprise Risk Management on March 4, 2015 proved to be very interesting and engaging.  (Click for Agenda).

Alexandra Wald of Cohen & Gresser LLP provided an great meeting environment for the group. Sudip Mukerjee, our facilitator, and organizers, Miranda Massie, Melinda Hunt and Joe DeNicola invited experts on the legal, regulatory, management and insurance faced by nonprofit board members.


Sudip kicked off the meeting by discussing “Myths About Nonprofit Liability and Risk Management”, such as insurance is NOT risk management. The members then introduced concerns and topics that they wanted the Roundtable to address.

Megan E. Bell, counsel at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, a national leader in legal services for non-profit organizations, addressed key legal and regulatory factors, including the Duty of Loyalty, Duty of Care and Duty of Obedience for Board Members.

Ellen Labita, a partner of the accounting and advisory firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, focused on key risk management issues. A copy of her presentation can be downloaded: Enterprise Risk Management: A Practical Approach.

Miranda Massie of the Climate Change Museum Launch Project discussed her approach to managing risks associated with internships at the start-up not for profit. Student interns at the CMLP sign a letter drafted to address Department of Labor concerns about unpaid internships, intellectual property issues, and confidentiality. Download a template version of this letter, which was prepared by Dechert LLP and may be freely used by YANA members, by clicking: Template Internship Letter.

Melinda Hunt of The Hart Island Project will spoke about the difficulties of buying insurance for small nonprofits, especially those that might be considered as advocacy organizations. She described how her organization followed legal advice and best practices but still got sued. Fortunately, Melinda was resourceful and found pro-bono counsel to help.

By the end of the evening, the Roundtable members felt they had gained some knowledge and tools that would help them and their organization face the uncertain future.  As Joe DeNicola said: “A terrific one hour tutorial on the risk management responsibilities of nonprofit leadership.”