The Bernie Mac Foundation Restructures After Ethical Problems Arise

March 4, 2015  |  

The Bernie Mac Foundation, the organization founded by the late comedian to benefit those suffering from sarcoidosis, has undergone an internal restructuring after an audit found questionable practices. According to The Chicago Tribune, the group has outlined a conflict-of-interest policy, outlawed pay for board members and appointed an eight-person board that includes community leaders and others. Mac’s widow, Rhonda McCullough, will continue as president until she chooses to step down.

In addition, the group has stopped paying thousands to company’s that are linked to the Foundation’s treasurer. (!!) The group collected hundreds of thousands after Mac died in 2008 but much of the money went to salaries and expenditures rather than charitable giving.

The Tribune reports that there appears to be more transparency in place, and the appointment of independent and unrelated members should improve the nonprofit’s work.

“In response to questions from the Tribune this week, the Bernie Mac Foundation said it also intended to prohibit McCullough from discussing or voting on matters affecting the employment or pay of her sisters,” the paper writes.

The Foundation has made a $250,000 pledge to the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences system, with $50,000 already donated in 2014. Giving is robust and “[t]he organization’s new bylaws also require that each board member either donate or ‘obtain sponsorship’ for $3,000 worth of contributions per year,” says the paper. Only $152,000 of the $900,000 spent between 2009 and 2013 actually went to charity.

According to the Mayo Clinic, sarcoidosis “is the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of your body — most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin.” It can be resolved with treatment but can cause long-term damage.

The Foundation began its overhaul after The Chicago Tribune raised questions about its practices last year.

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