Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Feed The Children Founder's Tenure Investigated - KansasCity.com

Feed The Children Founder's Tenure Investigated - KansasCity.com

Feed the Children, an organization founded in 1979 to provide food, clothing, and other essentials to those in need, is under investigation for alleged misdeeds by its founder. The alleged misconduct relates to its operations and management. The BBB report on Feed the Children gives us a glimpse into some of the challenges the organization has recently faced.

I suspect that what might be at play here is a really bad case of Founder's Syndrome. Effective, sustainable organizations are those that can grow beyond the vision and control of an organization's original founders. It's a lot like raising kids. Founders provide organizations with an initial influx of resources, roots, and direction. But over time,the mark of a successful organization is one that can grow and change and serve its mission outside of the control of its founder. When that doesn't happen, or when founders have trouble giving up a degree of control, an unhealthy organizational environment can develop. For the same reasons that girls don't want to date 35 year-old men who still live at home, prospective donors need to be cautious when giving to charities without proven measures in place to ensure the independence of their board of directors and accountability of charity executives.

1 comment:

  1. You are also leaving out a crucial part of the story. The investigation is of the tenure of its founder, not the current operation of Feed The Children.

    Former BBB Wise Giving Alliance board memeber and former American Heart Association CEO Cass Wheeler is now interim president of Feed The Children and they are searching for a permanent leader.

    The Board of Directors has made the changes for transparency and accountability that you mention.

    But you are correct in referencing Founder's Syndrome for the past problems.