About the NonProfit Accountability
NonprofitWatch.org is an independent project being developed by Bernardo Issel. The project's goal are to investigate public interest groups and raise issues regarding transparency, conflicts of interest, and accountability within the nonprofit community. While numerous groups exist that evaluate nonprofits by a variety of criteria, primarily accounting measures, none of these groups examine ethical issues related to conflict of interest matters and strategic differences among public interest groups. It is my belief that the widely accepted thesis regarding the influence of big money on politics also applies to the nonprofit sector. NonprofitWatch.org's seeks to provide the general public with knowledge to make better informed philanthropic decisions. While such would not affect the ability of special interests to fund nonprofits, it may encourage some individuals to direct their energies and donations to different groups.
The political "right" is highly adept in its criticism of nonprofits. The Capital Research Center (CRC) criticizes corporations for giving to charities and other non-governmental organizations oriented toward public interest goals. But CRC seldom if at all criticizes donations to trade associations or lobby groups as misplaced expenditures, probably for the obvious reason that this funding serves the corporate interest. CRC ignores the question as to whether corporate donations to the nonprofit sector also serve the corporate interest --purchasing influence to alter discourse and public debate within civil society. NonprofitWatch.org intends to invert this criticism and raise the question of what ill effect arises from nonprofits receiving corporate and other special interest funding.
Mr. Issel is a misdirected Gen-Xer who has been sidetracked on the way to medical school by quixotic hyperidealistic pursuits.
Mr. Issel owns no stock what so ever, not even for the purpose
of shareholder resolutions. His background is that of blue collar
working family. He has no trust fund, though admittedly he has
known people who do.
This project came to mind years ago while involved in researching
the immune system of people with head-injuries; Mr. Issel became
aware of scientific literature suggesting a tremendous potential
for nutrient compounds such as antioxidants to favorably impact
neurological injury as well as perhaps HIV-infection, but experienced
a reticence from the research community to pursue these avenues,
noting a preference for genetic, pharmaceutical, and surgical
strategies. The interest in philanthropic matters grew out of
having read critiques of the corporate-funded environmental groups
that supported the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA).
Upon moving to D.C. and observing the lavish offices of some of
these pro-NAFTA groups, as well as their corporate donors and
directors, it was felt that their ought to be a project that would
raise issues of accountability on policy matters and point out
conflicts of interest. Originally it was thought that a token
effort would catalyze what appeared to be a very common sense
cause. Such regrettably has not been the case.