About the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector
The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector was an independent effort by charities and foundations to ensure that the nonprofit community remains a vibrant and healthy part of American society. Formed by Independent Sector in October 2004 at the encouragement of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the Panel prepared a series of recommendations for Congress to improve the oversight and governance of charitable organizations and for individual nonprofit organizations to ensure high standards of ethics and accountability. The Panel issued a report to Congress and the nonprofit sector, Strengthening Transparency, Governance, and Accountability of Charitable Organizations, in June 2005, and followed up with a supplemental report by the same name in April 2006. In October 2007, the Panel released Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations.
The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector is comprised of 24 nonprofit and philanthropic leaders whose organizations encompass great diversity in location, mission, perspective, and scope of work. Lorie Slutsky, president of The New York Community Trust, of New York City; and Cass Wheeler, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association, of Dallas, Texas, were its co-conveners. Diana Aviv, Independent Sector president and CEO, was the Panel’s executive director, and Patricia Read, IS’s senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, was project director.
To benefit from the knowledge the nonprofit community has already developed, the Panel has received expert assistance from a series of groups. The Panel initially created an eight-member Expert Advisory Group; a nine-member Citizens Advisory Group; and five Work Groups, each of which focused on a specific area. In the spring of 2006, it created an Advisory Committee on Self-Regulation of the Charitable Sector. As with the Panel, the members of these groups come from a wide spectrum of the nonprofit community in order to ensure that any recommendations recognize the sector’s diversity.
The Panel took a number of steps to receive input from organizations across the country. It conducted a series of field hearings to explain and obtain feedback on its work, provided a form on this site for visitors to make comments, and held conference calls to update organizations and individuals about its work.
In 2014, Independent Sector convened an advisory group of 21 sector leaders to consider whether updates to the 2007 Principles were warranted. The advisory group recommended a series of updates reflected in a new edition of the Principles, released in February 2015. For more information on the 2015 edition of the Principles, please visit independentsector.org/principles.