Business Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy
In order to ensure we continue to earn the trust of the public, upon whose generosity we depend to carry out our mission, the Mid-Atlantic chapter requires all employees, board members and volunteers to sign an “Annual Conflict of Interest and Ethics Assurance Statement” and to agree to be bound by the National Office’s “Statement of Values, Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy.”
To protect and preserve the Mid-Atlantic chapter’s positive image, reputation and credibility in the perception of the communities we serve, we must maintain the highest ethical standards in our workplace. Even the appearance of impropriety or the hint of a conflict of interest could jeopardize the public trust upon which we rely.
It is impossible to specify each and every situation that would be unethical, or that might result in a conflict of interest and must therefore be avoided. Mid-Atlantic chapter employees are expected and required to use common sense and the utmost discretion in all such matters. You should watch for obvious “red flags”: If you hear phrases like “Well, maybe just this once…,” or “No one will ever know…,” or “Everyone does it…,” you should exercise extreme caution because you are probably on thin ice. When in doubt, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the action legal?
- Would doing it make me feel uncomfortable?
- Is it consistent with Make-A-Wish values and policies?
- Would I want my spouse, parents, children, etc. to read about it in the newspaper?
If you are still not sure what to do, you should seek guidance from your supervisor or any other management employee whose opinion and judgment you trust.
At a minimum, Mid-Atlantic chapter employees must refrain from engaging in any activity or practice that conflicts with, can be perceived as conflicting with or giving the appearance of conflicting with, the interests of the Mid-Atlantic chapter. Such activities and practices include, without limitation, the following:
- Having a financial interest in an outside concern from which the chapter purchases goods or services;
- Accepting personal gifts with a value in excess of $75, favors or financial remuneration from any outside concern that does, or is seeking to do, business with the chapter;
- Accepting personal gifts, favors or financial remuneration from a volunteer or client, other than a courtesy gift valued at less than $75;
- Using Make-A-Wish contacts or resources for personal gain or for any purpose not directly related to the activities of the chapter;
- Directly or indirectly disclosing, or otherwise using for personal profit or advantage (or to the chapter’s disadvantage) any confidential information concerning the chapter, either during or following employment; and
- Making any decision or taking any action adverse to the chapter’s interests.
Any violations of this Business Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination.
Should you ever become aware of any serious misconduct on the part of any past or present Make-A-Wish employee, director or volunteer, whether at the national, international or local level, you should report it immediately to your supervisor, any member of management with whom you feel comfortable; and/or the chair of the chapter board (if, for example, the alleged misconduct involves the CEO). Alternatively, if you prefer to communicate any such issues or concerns on an anonymous basis, you may utilize the confidential whistle-blower hotline discussed below.
All such matters will be handled discreetly, and confidentiality will be maintained to the extent reasonably possible. No employee will be retaliated against for reporting alleged misconduct in good faith, or for participating in an investigation regarding such allegations.
As a Mid-Atlantic chapter employee, you have 24/7 access to MySafeWorkplace®, a confidential and secure third-party incident reporting hotline that you are encouraged/expected to use if you ever have serious work-related concerns that you do not feel comfortable raising directly with your supervisor or others within the organization.
MySafeWorkplace provides two ways for you to report, on an anonymous basis, instances of alleged fraud, theft or other financial irregularities, ethical violations, illegal discrimination or harassment, unsafe work conditions, etc. at any time of the day or night:
- You can log on at www.mysafeworkplace.com and follow the instructions for filing an incident report; or
- You can call a toll-free hotline at (800) 461-9330 and speak with a professionally trained call center operator.
Your confidential report will be discreetly forwarded to appropriate individuals within Make-A-Wish. Thereafter, you will be able to review and post messages anonymously through an online message board (or, if you do not have Internet access, you can call the toll-free number periodically to check on the status of your report). Either the Mid-Atlantic chapter or the National Office will review your incident report and handle it in an appropriate manner.
Document Retention and Retention Periods
The Mid-Atlantic chapter follows the document retention procedures outlined below, which complies with the guidelines established in the Make-A-Wish America Finance Manual. Documents that are not listed, but are substantially similar to those listed in the schedule, will be retained for the appropriate length of time.
General Corporate Records: Permanent, except as otherwise noted below:
- Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws
- Board Meeting and Board Committee Minutes
- Board Policies and Resolutions
- Construction Documents
- IRS Application for Tax-Exempt Status (Form 1023)
- IRS Determination Letters
- Tax Exempt Certificates and Letters
- Fully-Executed Make-A-Wish® Chapter Agreement
- Vendor Contracts: 3 years after expiration
- Wish Files: 7 years after wish completion
- Volunteer Files: 7 years after volunteer ends relationship
Accounting Records: 7 years
Corporate Tax Records and Returns: 7 years, except as otherwise noted below
- Annual Audit Reports: Permanent
- Form 990: Permanent
Bank Statements / Reconciliations: 7 years
Payroll Registers and Employment Tax Records: 10 years
Employee Records and Files: 10 years, except as otherwise noted below
- Employment and Termination Agreements: Permanent for Executive and Officer-level positions; 10 years for other positions
Benefit Plan Documents: 3 years after plan termination
Donor Records and Acknowledgement Letters: 7 years
Grant Applications and Contracts: 7 years after completion
Legal, Insurance and Safety Records
Electronic Documents and Records
- Appraisals, Copyright Registrations, Environmental Studies, Insurance Policies, Real Estate Documents, Trademark Registrations, Litigation Records: Permanent
- Leases: 3 years after expiration
- OSHA Documents: 5 years
- Accident Reports and Workers’ Compensation Records: 7 years
- Individual certificates of insurance for fundraising events not otherwise covered by the Chapter’s general liability policy: 7 years
Electronic documents will be retained as if they were paper documents. Any electronic files that fall into a document type on the above schedule will be maintained for the appropriate length of time. Backup and recovery methods will be tested on a regular basis.
The Mid-Atlantic chapter’s Chief Operating Officer & CFO is responsible for identifying records that have met required retention periods and overseeing their destruction. This process occurs annually at a minimum. Financial and personnel-related documents will be shredded by authorized personnel.
Destruction of documents in the ordinary course of business and pursuant to official policy is justifiable; however, the obligation to retain discoverable materials is an affirmative one and it requires counsel or corporate officers having notice of discovery obligations to communicate those obligations to chapter employees in possession of discoverable materials. The duty to preserve attaches when the chapter has been given notice; notice consists of a service of summons and complaint, a subpoena, letter advising of anticipated litigation as well as constructive notice. Constructive notice is when the chapter should know that evidence may be relevant to future litigation.
If an employee believes, or if the chapter informs employees, that chapter records are relevant to litigation or potential litigation (i.e., a dispute that could result in litigation), then employees must preserve those records until the President & CEO or Chief Operating Officer & CFO determines the records are no longer needed. The following should be preserved:
- Any documents known to be relevant to a lawsuit or investigation (or that should reasonably be known);
- Any documents that could reasonably be calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence;
- Any documents likely to be requested during discovery;
- Any documents related to the subject of a pending discovery request.
Documents should be preserved by temporarily suspending manual destruction of all paper and electronic documents; beginning to search for relevant records; and determining which documents are identified, normal manual destruction of paper and electronic documents can be resumed; however, all potentially relevant records must be immediately preserved.