Anna Foo's Dilemma

Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management (University of San Francisco)



Case Study Sector


A foundation program officer has been given the job of thoroughly researching a proposal for the foundation’s first program related investment (PRI) and presenting her findings to the board. Everything looks extremely favorable until she accidentally finds out through a friend that the key person in the agency requesting the loan is seriously ill and may not live to see the project through. The dilemma involves whether to inform the foundation’s executive director and/or board of this fact, which came to her in confidence outside the context of her research but which could have a bearing on the ability of the agency to pay back the loan and thus on the success of the PRI. The case deals with conflicting responsibilities toward one’s employer, one’s friends, and one’s ethnic community.
Note: The material contained in this case does not necessarily represent actual people or conditions.



  • Evaluation
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  • Northern America

Blog Posts

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A new report applies a theory of time and value in philanthropy to three real cases, to see how a foundation could decide whether to operate with a limited life, based on the amount and kind of value it hopes to create.


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President and CEO
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