I want to thank Bob Hohler for giving a good account of the excellent work done by the Yawkey Foundation and my efforts to serve the Greater Boston community (“Good works and insider culture, the twin legacies of Yawkey charity,” Page A1, Feb. 12). But I take exception to the notion put forward in the article that it is unusual for philanthropies to have trustees or staff from grantee organizations on their boards.
In fact, many charitable nonprofits, large and small, seek these trustees or staff members because they often actually live and work in the communities the organizations support and thus bring a diverse and unique perspective to board deliberations. These philanthropies also understand that it is unfair and unworkable to deny groups funding because their trustees or staff also serve on philanthropic boards. This is why best practice has been to put significant safeguards in place to prevent the “insider culture” the article suggests — the same safeguards the Yawkey Foundation has had in place for years and has always followed.
I look forward to continuing my work as a Yawkey Foundation trustee and to the privilege of serving this community and its people in every way that I can.