The nonprofit sector is a vital component of our society and is allowed the greatest freedom to operate. The public understandably assumes that since nonprofit organizations are established to do good, the people who run nonprofits are altruistic, and the laws governing nonprofits have reflected this assumption. But as Marion Fremont-Smith argues, the rules that govern how nonprofits operate are inadequate, and the regulatory mechanisms designed to enforce the rules need improvement.
Despite repeated instances of negligent management, self-interest at the expense of the charity, and outright fraud, nonprofits continue to receive minimal government regulation. In this time of increased demand for corporate accountability, the need to strengthen regulation of nonprofits is obvious. Fremont-Smith addresses this need from a historical, legal, and organizational perspective. She combines summaries and analysis of the substantive legal rules governing the behavior of charitable officers, directors, and trustees with descriptions of the federal and state regulatory schemes designed to enforce these rules. Her unique and exhaustive historical survey of the law of nonprofit organizations provides a foundation for her analysis of the effectiveness of current law and proposals for its improvement.