Case Detail

Case Summary

The Whitney Clinic

Case Number: 5-208-255, Year Published: 1996, Revision Date: February 25, 2019

HBS Number: KEL428

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Authors: Anne Cohn DonnellyWalter Scott; Kathy Shaw; Millie Gong; Lydia Morris; Michael Roark

Key Concepts

Nonprofit Board Governance, Fundraising, Healthcare, Nonprofit Management, Founder’s Syndrome


This case describes a community-based healthcare clinic and the issues facing the management and board of directors. The issues raised are common problems faced by all types of nonprofit organizations: insufficient fundraising and marketing policies to guide board decision making, confusion over staff and board roles in decision making, poorly thought-out bylaws that contribute to the confusion over board and staff roles, the challenge of harnessing the diverse backgrounds and opinions of a community-based board of directors, and lack of sound financial planning.

Learning Objectives

The Whitney Clinic case identifies common pitfalls in board governance and includes a roleplay to help students understand the difficulties inherent in implementing the basics of good governance.

Number of Pages: 12

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Management, Non Profit, Organizational Behavior, Strategy

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Nonprofit Community Healthcare

Organization Name: Whitney Clinic

Organization Size: Small

Decision Maker Position: Board of Directors and CEO

Decision Maker Gender: Male and Female

Year of Case: 2008