Every so often, we’ll hear a story of a nonprofit turning down funding for ethical reasons — everything from a university rejecting $3 million from a philanthropist who’s made racist comments to a small, scrappy nonprofit breaking ties with a major funder because of inappropriate sexual comments to staff.
The devil’s advocate in the room will say: Nonprofits need money, right? Who cares where it comes from?
It’s a fine argument, except that nonprofits are mission-focused organizations, not businesses. If the dollars building up their work are coming from a source that directly or indirectly diminishes that work, it’s going to diminish the reputation of the receiving organization. Right?
Corinne Warnshuis of Girl Develop It, the national nonprofit with local chapters that teaches tech skills to women, responded to news that the embattled Uber had donated $1.2 million to Girls Who Code yesterday on Twitter. In a thread to her 4,500 followers, the Philly-based executive director wrote about a time the organization chose to reject a donation from an unnamed national brand with a bad reputation.
Though Girl Develop It certainly could have used to money, she wrote, accepting it from this particular company would have done more harm than good: “By aligning publicly with a company … that has a truly abhorrent track record (at all levels), we’re going against what we stand for. We stand to lose the trust of our community.”
FWIW: re Uber's GWC donation. We've turned down $$ (that we could really use) because we didn't want to clean up a bad tech co's brand.
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— Corinne (@corinnepw) August 25, 2017
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