Crane House – Montclair, NJ

Advocates for New Jersey History

Conflict of Interest Policy


All trustees and employees of the Advocates for New Jersey History (the Advocates), and others who may be able to influence decisions of the organization, must comply with this Conflict of Interest Policy. It is intended to foster the highest standards of integrity and honesty for those serving the Advocates. The Advocates effectiveness depends upon maintaining the highest levels of credibility, confidence, and trust with the communities it serves and all parties with whom it works. It is essential to protect the organization’s reputation for objectivity and fairness by identifying and appropriately dealing with actual, potential, and perceived conflicts of interest.

All persons associated with the Advocates are reminded that the decisions and activities of the board of directors and staff, whether or not addressed in this policy, are governed by an overriding requirement of honesty, good faith, and fiduciary responsibility for the organization and to the communities it serves.

Statement of General Policy

Trustees, employees, and others who are in a position to influence decisions of the Advocates must disclose any situation where they have a personal interest which is adverse to the Advocates, or where they propose to act on any issue, matter or transaction in which the Advocates has an interest, and in which that person may have an interest separate from that of the Advocates.  These situations include prospective purchases and sales of property or services, leases, loans, investments, employment or consultation services, and any other situation where an Advocates action would or might appear to benefit them personally. They must also refrain from participating in the Advocates decisions on that matter. They must also refrain from using any confidential information learned from the Advocates for their own benefit, and avoid receiving favorable treatment from the Advocates on account of their present or past relationship with the Advocates.

In addition to actions that could confer a personal benefit, this policy applies to situations where such an action could benefit (a) a relative (as set forth below) or (b) a corporation or partnership, non-profit corporation or other entity in which the person is a director, trustee, employee or advisor or has a direct or indirect ownership interest (other than an interest of less than 10% of the stock of a publicly traded entity), or be adverse to the interests of the Advocates.

Situations to which this Policy applies are herein called “Conflict Situations”.

Who is Covered by this Policy?

 In addition to trustees and employees, this policy applies to:

  1. All voting members of the board
  2. All former trustees, employees, members of the board, all volunteers, former volunteers and donors who have a continued involvement with the Advocates and who either have access to inside information that could place them in a conflicted situation or could give the appearance of having the ability to influence decisions by the Advocates, and;
  3. Close relatives of all of these persons: spouses, domestic partners, children, siblings, parents, stepparents, parents-or siblings-in-law, grandchildren and grandparents.

Persons to whom this Policy applies are herein called “Covered Persons”.


  1. Disclosure. Whenever the Advocates is considering making a decision or taking an action involving a Conflict Situation, the Covered Person shall disclose his or her interest to the Board, either in writing or orally at a Board meeting, before the matter is discussed by the Board. Such disclosure shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
  2. Voting by Trustees.  A Covered Person may not vote on, approve or make recommendations regarding a Conflict Situation.  A Covered Person is obliged to absent himself or herself from Board and Committee discussions relating to a Conflict Situation, unless requested by the Board or Committee to provide information.
  3. Disqualification of Individuals. The Advocates may not make any decision approving a transaction, contract, project or other action involving a Conflict Situation with a Covered Person unless the facts of the particular situation have been fully disclosed, and the Board has made specific findings that:

a. The action is fair and benefits the Advocates and its objectives;

b. The action is approved with the Board’s full knowledge of its financial or other benefit to the Covered Person who has the conflict of interest;

c. When the Covered Person is a trustee, the trustee did not participate in the vote approving the action and was, in fact, absent when the Board voted on it; and; 

d. A more advantageous arrangement was not obtainable with reasonable effort.4.

4. Receipt of Gifts.  No Covered Person may accept gifts or other favors under circumstances that might lead to the inference that the gift or favor was intended to influence his or her decision-making while serving the Advocates.

5. Suspension or Resignation.  The Board reserves the right to suspend a Covered Person from the Board of Trustees or committee until such time as the matter giving rise to the conflict of interest has been resolved. When warranted by the nature and magnitude of the conflict of interest, the Board may require that a conflicted member of the Board or Committee resign.

Disclosure Procedure/Applicability

All trustees and employees shall complete a conflict of interest disclosure form prior to their first participation in the affairs of the Advocates. Thereafter, disclosures shall be updated annually, or sooner, if changed circumstances require disclosure. In addition, other Covered Persons shall submit or update the statement at any time during the year that the information requested on the statement changes. Disclosure statements should be submitted to the executive committee of the Advocates who will administer this policy.