April 15, 2003
Digest: A judge may serve on the board of directors of a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to bridging the gap between religions to achieve peace, understanding and mutual respect so long as the judge is not involved in fund-raising activities on behalf of the foundation.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3); 100.4(C)(3)(a); 100.4 (C)(3)(b); Opinions 88-42 (Vol. II); 98-35 (1998 WL 11091930).
A judge asks whether it is permissible to serve on the board of directors of a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to bridging the gap between religions to achieve peace, understanding and mutual respect. The judge has informed the foundation principals that the judge cannot be involved in fund-raising, either directly or indirectly.
Section 100.4(C)(3)(a) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct states that a judge “may . . . serve as (a)director . . . of . . . an educational, religious, charitable, cultural, fraternal, or civic organization not conducted for profit.” In such a capacity, however, a judge is prohibited from personally soliciting funds on behalf of the organization or participating in other fund-raising activities. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3) (b). In two earlier opinions, the Committee concluded that a judge may be a member of the board of directors of the United Way (Opinion 88-42 [Vol. II]) and of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Commission for Nonviolence, a non-profit civic organization that conducts programs to combat racism and violence (Opinion 98-35,1998 WL 1109193), subject to the limitations described in section 100.4(C)(3). As described by the inquiring judge, and subject to the limitations on fund-raising activities, the Committee believes that the judge may serve on the board of directors of the foundation.