Part I. United Way of Northeast Mississippi Code of Ethics
United Way of Northeast Mississippi is committed to the highest ethical standards. Indeed, based on the unique trust placed in United Way to serve the public good, we have a special obligation to act ethically. The success of our United Way and our reputation depend upon the ethical conduct of everyone affiliated with the United Way of Northeast Mississippi. Volunteers, staff, and representatives set an example for each other, and for member United Way agencies, by their pursuit of excellence in high standards of performance, professionalism, and ethical conduct. This document is meant to be a guideline and will assist United Way of Northeast Mississippi volunteers, staff, and representatives in making good decisions that are ethical and in accordance with applicable legal requirements. All are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns they have with the Executive Director or President of the Board of Directors.
Personal and Professional Integrity
A personal commitment to integrity in all circumstances benefits each individual as well as the organization. We therefore:
- Strive to meet the highest standards of performance, quality, service and achievement in working towards the United Way of Northeast Mississippi mission.
- Communicate honestly and openly and avoid misrepresentation.
- Promote a working environment where honesty, open communication and diverse opinions are valued.
- Exhibit respect and fairness toward all those with whom we come into contact.
United Way of Northeast Mississippi is responsible to its stakeholders, which include member agencies, donors and others who have placed faith in United Way. To uphold this trust we:
- Promote good stewardship of United Way resources, including donations, grants and other contributions that are used to pay operating expenses, salaries, and employee benefits.
- Refrain from using organizational resources for non-United Way purposes.
- Observe and comply with all laws and regulations affecting United Way of Northeast Mississippi.
Solicitations and Voluntary Giving
The most responsive contributors are those who have the opportunity to become informed and involved. We therefore:
- Promote voluntary giving in dealing with donors and vendors.
- Refrain from use of coercion in fundraising activities, including predicating professional advancement on response to solicitations.
Computer, E-mail and Internet Usage
- United Way of Northeast Mississippi employees are expected to use technology responsibly in an appropriate, ethical and professional manner. Internet access, e-mail, and phone use is for job-related activities; however, minimal personal use is acceptable.
- All technology provided by UWNEMS, including computer systems, communication networks, company-related work records and other information stored electronically, is the property of UWNEMS and not the employee. UWNEMS reserves the right to examine, monitor and regulate e-mail and other electronic communications, directories, files and all other content, including Internet use, transmitted by or stored in its technology systems, whether onsite or offsite.
- Every employee of UWNEMS is responsible for the content of all text, audio, video or image files that he or she places or sends over the company’s Internet, e-mail and phone.
Diversity and Equal Opportunity
United Way of Northeast Mississippi is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the principle of diversity. We therefore:
- Value, champion, and embrace diversity in all aspects of United Way activities and respect others without regard to race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, national origin or ancestry, marital status, veteran status, or status as a qualified disabled or handicapped individual.
- Support equal employment opportunity programs.
Conflicts of Interest
To avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest which could tarnish the reputation of United Way as well as undermine the public’s trust, United Way staff and representatives:
- Avoid any activity or outside interest which conflicts or appears to conflict with the best interest of United Way of Northeast Mississippi, including involvement with a current or potential United Way vendor, grantee, donor, or competing organization unless disclosed to and not deemed to be inappropriate by the United Way Board of Directors.
- Ensure that outside employment and other activities do not adversely affect the performance of their United Way duties or the achievement of the United Way mission.
- Ensure that travel, entertainment and related expenses are incurred on a basis consistent with the mission of United Way and not for personal gain or interests.
- Decline any gift, gratuity or favor in the performance of United Way duties except for promotional items of nominal value ($25 or less), and any food, transportation, lodging or entertainment unless directly related to United Way business.
- Refrain from influencing the selection of staff, consultants or vendors who are relatives or personal friends or affiliated with, employ, or employed by a person with whom they have a relationship that adversely affects the appearance of impartiality.
United Way Volunteers
- Should not knowingly take any action, or make any statement, intended to influence the conduct of United Way in such a way to confer any financial benefit on themselves, their immediate family members or any organization in which they or their immediate family members have a significant interest as stakeholders, directors or officers.
- Disclose all known conflicts or potential conflicts of interest in any matter before the Board of Directors, if they are Board members, or any committee upon which they serve and withdraw from any discussion, review and voting in connection with such matter.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism. We therefore:
- Ensure that all information, which is confidential, privileged or nonpublic, is not disclosed inappropriately.
- Respect the privacy rights of all individuals in the performance of their Untied Way duties.
United Way of Northeast Mississippi encourages individual participation in civic affairs. However, as a charitable organization, United Way of Northeast Mississippi may not make contributions to any candidate for public office. We therefore:
- Refrain from making any contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee on behalf of United Way.
- Refrain from making any contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee in a manner that may create the appearance that the contribution is on behalf of United Way.
- Refrain from using any organizational financial resources, facilities or personnel to endorse or oppose a candidate for public office.
- Clearly communicate that we are not acting on behalf of the organization, if identified as an official of United Way of Northeast Mississippi, while engaging in political activities in an individual capacity.
- Refrain from engaging in political activities in a manner that may create the appearance that such activity is by or on behalf of United Way of Northeast Mississippi.
Guidance and Disclosure
Volunteers, staff, and representatives are encouraged to seek guidance from the Executive Director and Board of Directors concerning the interpretation or application of these guidelines. Any known or possible breaches should be disclosed. Reports of possible breaches will be handled in the following manner:
- All reports of possible breaches will be treated in confidence as much as the organization’s duty to investigate and the law allow. If confidentiality cannot be maintained, the individual disclosing the possible breach will be notified.
- All reported breaches will be investigated and, if needed, appropriate action taken based upon the policies of the organization.
- Retaliation against a person who suspects and reports a breach in good faith will be treated as an independent breach of the guidelines.
- United Way of Northeast Mississippi affirms appropriate resolution of all reported breaches.
Part II. Conflicts of Interest
The purpose of the conflict of interest policy is to protect United Way of Northeast Mississippi when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or director of United Way of Northeast Mississippi or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction.
No member of United Way of Northeast Mississippi’s Board of Directors, or any of its Committees, shall derive any personal profit or gain, directly or indirectly, by reason of his or her participation with the United Way of Northeast Mississippi. Any interested person(s) shall disclose to United Way of Northeast Mississippi any personal or indirect interest, which he or she may have in any matter pending before United Way of Northeast Mississippi’s Board and shall not participate in any decision on such matter.
Interested Person: Any director, principal officer, member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, employee, or volunteer who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.
A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
- An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the Organization has a transaction or arrangement.
- A compensation arrangement with the Organization or with any entity or individual with which the Organization has a transaction or arrangement, or
- A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the Organization is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.
Disclosing a Conflict of Interest
In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to present all material facts to the directors and members of committees.
Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists
After disclosing the actual or potential conflict, and after any discussion with the interested person, he/she shall leave the meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board or committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest
- An interested person may make a presentation at the board or committee meeting, but after the presentation, he/she shall leave the meeting during the discussion or, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.
- The President of the Board of Directors or chairperson of the committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.
- After exercising due diligence, the board or committee shall determine whether United Way can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.
- If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in United Way’s best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement.
Recording the Conflict of Interest
The minutes of the board and all committees with board delegated powers shall contain:
- The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the board’s or committee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.
- The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceeding.
Violations of Conflict of Interest Policy
If the board of directors has reason to believe that an interested party has failed to disclose an actual or potential conflict of interest, it shall inform the person of the basis for such belief and afford the person an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
If, after hearing the response of the interested party and making such further investigation as may be warranted in the circumstances, the board determines that the interested party has in fact failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective action.