Code of Ethics
American Legion Auxiliary members are expected to comply with the organizationʼs governing documents and comport themselves according to the following Code of Ethics adopted by the National Executive Committee.
This Code of Ethics serves as a guide for conduct acceptable within the American Legion Auxiliary and the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation.
As a matter of fundamental principle, the American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion Auxiliary Foundation will adhere to the American Legion Auxiliary National Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules 25 highest ethical standards to earn and protect the publicʼs trust in our performance to carry out the Auxiliaryʼs mission, uphold rigorous standards of conduct, and be good stewards of our resources.
The American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion Auxiliary Foundation, as witnessed through the conduct of its national governing body, officers, staff, and volunteers, must earn the publicʼs trust every day and in every possible way. National leaders are expected to abide by all laws and demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, openness, responsibility and respect.
The American Legion Auxiliary strongly recommends that all chartered entities and affiliated organizations at all levels adopt a Code of Ethics and conduct themselves accordingly. In keeping with the best practices of high performing nonprofit organizations, it is the expectation of the American Legion Auxiliary and the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation that its national business standards, operations, and conduct conform to the following Code of Ethics.
Personal and Professional Integrity
All members, volunteers, and staff of the American Legion Auxiliary and its Foundation act with honesty, integrity, and openness in all their communication, business, and transactions as representatives of the American Legion Auxiliary (organization). The organization promotes an environment that values fairness and commitment to the organizationʼs founding principles and demonstrates respect for others.
National officers, board members, staff, and volunteers shall conduct their personal and professional lives in a manner befitting the organizationʼs mission and values, recognizing that their actions reflect upon the creditability and reputation of the American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion Auxiliary Foundation.
National officers, board members, staff, and volunteers shall work to positively influence their environment to build respect, creditability, and strategic importance of our organization to the public, our members, and the communities we serve.
The American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion Auxiliary Foundation are knowledgeable of and comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including but not limited to: complying with laws and regulations related to human resources, financial accountability, taxation, fundraising, trademark protection, and licensing.
National officers, board members, staff, and volunteers shall exercise due diligence in obtaining information on applicable laws and regulations for their jurisdiction. National officers, board members, staff, and volunteers shall recognize that compliance with applicable laws is a paramount standard.
The American Legion Auxiliaryʼs national governing body is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization and oversight of the finances, operations, policies and programmatic performance.
The governing bodies of both the American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion Auxiliary Foundation shall:
- Ensure that the organization conducts all communication, business, and transactions with integrity and honesty;
- Ensure that policies of the organization are in writing, clearly articulated, and officially adopted;
- Ensure periodic review of the organizationʼs structure, procedures and programs to determine what is working well and what practices the organization might want to change in order to be more efficient, effective or responsible.
- Ensure that the resources of the organization are responsibly and prudently managed;
- Ensure that the organization has the capacity to carry out its programs effectively.
The boards, officers, staff, and volunteers of the Auxiliary and its Foundation are responsible for managing and preserving the organizationʼs assets. Officers, board members, staff, and volunteers are expected to understand their fiduciary responsibilities so that the charitable purposes of the organization are carried out and assets are properly safeguarded and managed.
Officers, board members, appropriate volunteer leaders and staff shall ensure that:
- Financial reports are created and maintained on a timely basis that accurately portray its financial status and activities.
- Internal financial statements are provided accurately and timely.
- Annual financial reports are made available to the public.
- Employees, national leaders, and members are provided a confidential means to report suspected financial impropriety or misuse of its resource.
- Written financial policies governing management and investment of assets and reserve accounts, internal control procedures, and purchasing practices are developed and implemented.
Openness and Disclosure
The American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion Auxiliary Foundation will provide comprehensive and timely information to the public, the media, and its members, and is responsive to reasonable requests for information. All information about the organizations will fully and honestly reflect the policies and the practices of the organizations.
To avoid the appearance of impropriety by those who could benefit directly or indirectly from any action by the Auxiliary and its Foundation, the organization shall develop, adopt and implement a conflict of interest policy.
Such policy shall include requirements to fully disclose all potential and actual conflicts of interest and prohibitions on activities that conflict with legal, ethical, and fiduciary obligations to the organization.
The organization shall take care to ensure that all means and materials for solicitation accurately and correctly reflect its mission and use of solicited funds. The American Legion Auxiliary and its Foundation shall respect the privacy concerns of individual donors and expend funds consistent with donor intent.
To assure that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the organization and the causes they are asked to support, the Auxiliary and its Foundation will respect the following rights of donors:
- To be informed of the organizationʼs mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
- To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organizationʼs governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
- To have access to the organizationʼs most recent financial statement and others on request. • To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
- To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
- To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentially to the extent provided by law.
- To expect that all relationships with individuals representing the American Legion Auxiliary and its Foundation will be professional in nature.
- To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
- To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.
The American Legion Auxiliary and its Foundation shall have specific stated responsibilities in carrying out grant programs. These responsibilities include the following:
- A formal and consistent application process which includes defined eligibility.
- Fair and equitable selection criteria.
- Assurance of applicant privacy.
- Clear, timely and respectful communications throughout the application process.
Inclusiveness and Diversity
The organization recognizes the value of the diverse backgrounds and beliefs of its membership. The organization promotes an atmosphere of mutual respect for the worth and dignity of its members, those eligible to become members and those we serve.
Any member may report a violation of ethical conduct or actions contrary to the governing doctrine without fear of retaliation. The organization considers all inquiries and complaints about actions of members to be strictly confidential.
Ethics Query – An ethics query is a means for inquiring whether or not a practice warrants filing a complaint alleging a violation of the Code. Anyone may register a query of a possible violation of the Code by a member.
The organization shall adopt a procedure to administer the ethics query process.
Ethics Complaint – An ethics complaint provides a process for receiving, investigating and acting on a violation of the Code made against any member or staff and provides a process that is fair, responsible, confidential and consistent.
The organization shall adopt a procedure to administer the complaint process.
A whistleblower is any member who, in good faith, promptly reports instances of any suspected violation of the Code. The American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion Auxiliary Foundation shall establish and abide by policies to protect the Auxiliary.
Any member who acts maliciously by making known information she knows or reasonably believes to be false is not a whistleblower and will not be protected under the whistleblower mechanism.
The organization expects improper activity to be reported accurately and will protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
The organization will investigate any allegation that a whistleblower has been retaliated against for disclosing information that the whistleblower believed to have been accurate. Any member who believes she has been retaliated against for whistle blowing is expected to report it immediately. If the complaint is validated, the organization can impose disciplinary sanctions against the retaliating member including termination of membership in the organization.