March 8, 2001
A judge may serve as a member of the Board of Directors of a local YMCA,
but should not serve on its Capital Development Committee.
22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(a)(i),(ii); 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i);
Opinions 96-78 (Vol. XIV); 99-08 (Vol. XVII).
A judge inquires about the propriety of serving on the Board of Directors of a local YMCA and on its Capital Development Committee. According to the inquiring judge, the ". . . overall goal of the committee is the construction of a new facility, which will necessarily involve raising substantial funds . . ."
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow a full-time judge to be a member or serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of a charitable or fraternal organization that will not likely be engaged in proceedings that ordinarily would come before the judge or would be engaged regularly in adversary proceedings in any court. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(a)(i) and (ii). The judge may also assist an organization in planning fund-raising and may participate in the management and investment of the organizations funds, but the judge may not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i).
In light of the proscription on engaging in fund-raising activities, including the solicitation of funds, this Committee has previously advised that a judge should not be listed on the letterhead or sign a letter on behalf of an entity which is an ad hoc committee of a charitable or similar organization, where the function of that committee is to raise funds for a particular purpose. See Opinions 96-78 (Vol. XIV); 99-08 (Vol. XVII). As described, the function of the Capital Development Committee is to do precisely that.
We are therefore of the opinion that the judge may serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the local YMCA, but should not serve on the Board's Capital Development Committee.