Responsibilities and Procedures of the Board of the FJC Foundation

The Federal Judicial Center Foundation (FJCF) is a statutory non-profit organization established by Congress for the purpose of having "sole authority to accept and receive gifts of real and personal property made for the purpose of aiding or facilitating the work of the... Center" (28 U.S.C. § 629(a)). "The business of the Foundation shall be conducted by" its Board (28 U.S.C. § 629(b)). "The Center shall provide all administrative support and facilities necessary for the operation of the Board" (28 U.S.C. § 629(b).). The Board has adopted this statement to give formal recognition to policies and procedures adopted heretofore and to present those policies and procedures within the context of statutory provisions.

  1. Responsibilities and procedures with respect to soliciting gifts-The Board has determined that its members have no responsibility, statutory or otherwise, to solicit gifts or donations to the FJCF. The Board, however, acting primarily through its chair, will inform potential donors about the FJCF and the Federal Judicial Center (FJC) and its work. In this regard, Center staff should inform the Board of projects in which outside donors might have an interest and provide, to the degree practicable, the information listed in § 2.a.2.e, infra.
  2. Responsibilities with respect to accepting gifts
    1. The Board will not accept gifts that compromise, or appear to compromise, the integrity and independence of the judiciary or of the Federal Judicial Center.
      1. The Board will not accept "conditional or otherwise restricted gifts, except gifts that are designated for the support of specific projects previously approved by the Board of the Center may be accepted" (28 U.S.C. § 629(a)).
      2. The Board regards the following as helpful but non-binding, non-exclusive factors to consider in assessing whether gifts would, or would appear to, compromise of judicial branch or Judicial Center integrity and independence.
        1. The existence of actual or potential conflicts of interest between the donor and the Federal Judicial Center, Federal Judicial Center Foundation, and/or the Federal Judicial Center Foundation Board;
        2. The existence of an affiliation of the donor which has the known potential to compromise or appear to compromise the independence of the judiciary or the mission of the FJC to provide unbiased educational and research support to the federal judicial system;
        3. The value of the proposed gift; and value and number of prior gifts or donations, if any, to the FJCF by the same donor;
        4. The potential for perceived involvement, if any, of the donor in the project or program;
        5. The following factual attributes of potential donors
          1. The existence of a prior relationship with the FJC; the FJCF; and/or the FJC Board;
          2. The existence of any pending major litigation before any federal court, including the nature of the claims raised and the status of the action;
          3. Where the prospective donor is a foundation or non-profit association, its primary sources of funding, as well as the identity of its board and/or directors;
          4. Where the prospective donor is a corporation, the identity of its corporate officers and directors;
          5. Where the prospective donation is from the residual settlement proceeds of class action funds, the identity of each defendant to the action or, if an organization, the names of the members of the board of that organization
    2. The Board will accept gifts that appear likely to aid the Federal Judicial Center's ability to perform its functions. The Board regards the following as helpful but non-binding, non-exclusive factors to consider in assessing whether a potential gift would aid the Center's ability to perform its functions. The gift provides funding for a project or program that the Center wishes to do but does not have the resources to carry out.
      1. The ability of the FJC to manage the proposed gift. In that regard:
        1. Gifts of personal property, such as books, manuscripts, portraits, diaries or other forms of records, will normally be considered only where relevant to judicial history and/or FJC programs for historical preservation, as determined by the FJC.
        2. Gifts of personal property will normally be considered only when the Center indicates it has the physical and/or financial resources to ensure their proper care. The determination of where the gift might be situated and whether appropriate resources are available is within the province of the FJC Director.
        3. Gifts of real or personal property will typically not be accepted for the purpose of subsequent sale, purchase or transfer of ownership, as neither the FJCF nor the FJC are equipped to handle such transactions. The FJCF does not have the expertise to provide any certification to donors of the dollar value of any gifts of personal property, nor is it able to verify or endorse an appraisal provided by a donor. The FCJF does not hold itself out as having any expertise in property valuation nor does it have the resources to provide such services and, accordingly, is typically unable to ensure the accuracy of valuations provided by third parties.
  3. Procedures for alerting the Board to potential gifts.
    1. The Foundation's secretary will inform members of the Foundation Board in writing of the receipt of a proposed gift to the Foundation. The written notification will include the date of receipt of the offer, the donor's name and address, the amount or nature of the gift, and any restrictions connected with the gift, as well as copies of any correspondence accompanying the gift. Information listed in §2 above regarding the funding source of the gift will also be provided to the extent possible, either gathered prospectively by Center staff or as supplied by the donor.
    2. If the gift is earmarked for a particular project, the secretary will advise the Foundation Board whether the Board of the Federal Judicial Center has previously approved the project as appropriate for funding from the Foundation.
    3. Foundation Board members will be asked to approve or disapprove the acceptance of the gift by marking, signing, and returning a ballot, usually via fax, to the Center. Any objection to a gift must be received by the Center within three weeks of the date of the notification of the gift. If a Board member does not respond within that time, he/she will be deemed to have indicated acceptance of the gift, unless the gift is unacceptable because of improper restrictions.
    4. If a majority of the Board votes to accept the gift, it will be deposited with the Treasury Department in a non-interest bearing account established for the Foundation. If a majority rejects the gift, the donor will be notified and, if the gift has already been tendered, it will be returned.

(Adopted October 11, 2001)