Friday, May 22, 2009

CEO of Heifer Foundation resigns

The CEO for the Heifer Foundation has resigned due to an investigation of plagiarism and copyright infringement. Janet Ginn submitted her resignation to Heifer's board of trustees.

Ginn wrote a book called "Circle of Giving" in 2006 which was published by the now defunct Eudora Press.

From North West Arkansas News, Samantha Friedman gathers together what little details are being released on this story.

"As a leading global philanthropic organization, Heifer Foundation must conduct itself with the utmost integrity," board chairman Ronald McLean said in the statement. "Whether true or not, we cannot allow allegations of improper conduct to distract from the life-changing work of the Heifer organization, our people and our generous donors."

McLean, of Chesapeake, Va., declined to comment further.

Ginn didn't return a message left on her home phone seeking comment about the board's decision.

Greg Spradlin, foundation spokesman, wouldn't describe the details of the allegations or of an investigation into the allegations.

The board of Heifer International, a hunger-relief charity based in Little Rock, established the foundation in 1990. The entities are legally separate and each conducts its own fundraising, said Heifer International spokesman Tina Hall.

"The purpose was to build an endowment, and the endowment would provide ongoing support for Heifer's work," Hall said. "The purpose of our fundraising [at Heifer International] is to support our projects in our country-program offices and to help lift people out of poverty. We provide the livestock training and related services to smallscale farmers and communities worldwide."

Because of the foundation's independent nature, Hall said, the reasons for Ginn's departure shouldn't affect Heifer's work or donors' loyalty, a point echoed by Spradlin.

"I think that the donors will understand because they're really supportive of the overall mission of Heifer International and their work around the world, and that's really their commitment," Spradlin said. "We've reached out to several of our donors to give them courtesy calls to let them know."

Ginn was named chief executive in 2001. In 1998, she began working at the foundation as vice president of marketing.

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