The end of a fairly long Aspen Daily News article focused on the struggles faced by the board of the Red Brick Center for the Arts highlights some of what can go wrong when a well-meaning board just doesn't know how to fulfill its fiduciary duties:
“Where are they in terms of leadership and structure, and the finances to deliver [programming] — those are important things before we can say come on in,” Ott said.
She added a note of caution to nonprofit boards, imploring anyone involved in one to do all that they can to avoid being taken advantage of in the way things went down at the Red Brick. Ensuring regular oversight of organizational finances and implementing measures like a requirement for two signatures on checks drawing from bank accounts should be a part of every board’s responsibilities, she said. A lack of such oversight can lead to a board’s mission being “tainted,” Ott said.
“That’s what happened — their mission has been tainted by an alleged significant theft. It made them unable to do what they wanted to do, which is offer arts programming.”
In addition to the board, the primary culprit to this saga is an executive who managed to "take an estimated $159,000 in the form of fraudulent business loans applied for, extra payroll checks cashed and bogus credit card transactions". The missteps including not having insurance to cover the theft are clearly painful for those, many artists themselves, served to make their dream of an community arts center a reality. Now the Center must take several steps backwards while still trying to ensure programming is continued. The saddest part of this story from my perspective is that this didn't have to happen. There are more than enough resources in the world to provide a nonprofit board with guidance about how best to do its job. And there are more tan enough people doing their job correctly. But...