A Case Study in Ethics and Mayhem with Fundraising HayDay


 GrantChat Questions:


Q1: What do you know about Elizabeth Holmes and her billion-dollar biotech company Theranos?

Q2: Holmes put together an impressive board of directors, but none of them had experience in healthcare-related tech. How does your organization recruit board members?

Q3: Holmes sold investors and board members on a bold and brilliant idea, but it was not physically possible to build her proposed machine. How did you handle a situation where a board member or project director wanted grant funds for an impossible project?

Q4: Holmes repeatedly denied investors and board members access to the testing labs AND ordered fake results to show program success. How did you handle a time when you were being pressed to either omit negative information or flat out lie on a grant report?

Q5: Holmes' COO Sunny Balwani acted as the company’s heavy and refused to let employees talk to Holmes. What kind of access do you have to board members and senior staff? And how does that affect your ability to do your job?

Q6: Walgreens partnered with Theranos to feature the product in their stores but never got to see the testing labs or equipment firsthand. What does your organization put in place before partnering with another org on a grant proposal?

Q7: Holmes put together a powerhouse organization and the money flowed quickly. Many foundations tend to fund larger well-established agencies, even if they aren’t making the biggest changes. How does this affect grassroots agencies in your community?

Q8: Holmes was obsessed with absolute loyalty above all else and encouraged a cult-like following. How does this compare to founder’s syndrome, a pretty common ailment at many nonprofit agencies?

Q9: Investors and partners could not visit Theranos without a security tail, to the extreme that you would even be followed into the restroom. How have restrictions at your agency interfered with site visits from your funders?

Q10: At Theranos, lab employees and scientists routinely questioned test results and equipment design. Holmes repeatedly ignored these complaints. What steps would your “friend” take to ensure those in charge understood mismanagement and wrongdoing in the grant world?

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