James Beard Foundation Restructures…again

Remember last year, when the James Beard Foundation was found to have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars without being able to actually account for it? As a charitable institution, this is a BIG no-no. Even Anthony Bourdain said that the charity took him for a chump.

Since that time, they have restructured…twice. Once back last September longtime President Leonard Pickell resigned before Board of Trustees meeting. And this past Tuesday, three new trustees were elected to its Board and, upon the acceptance of these new trustees, the previous Board of Trustees stepped down. These were the Trustees put in place to help get their house in order. They conducted an investigation, and introduced an action plan. This current reorganization is “intended to strengthen the Foundation’s professionalism and commitment to financial discipline, transparency, ethics and good governance”.

This is a good thing it seems, and they are showing a level of transparency which had not existed under Pickell’s reign. Have they gotten the trust of their core participants back? Probably not, but it’s a step in the right direction. Now if they foundation can face the realities of the restaurant industry, rather than only showing the romantic side, I’d be truly impressed.


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