Promoting Excellence and Trust in the Nonprofit Sector

Celebrating and Deliberating over Right versus Right Decisions

The ethics field lost a giant last week when Rushworth Kidder, President and Founder of the Institute for Global Ethics in Rockport, Maine passed way in Naples Florida.

While I am sorry to say that I never personally met Rush, I was an avid reader of his publications and works and I often cited a quote from his writings.  My favorite Rushworth Kidder quote was:

“…because nonprofits have an obligation to do the right things-often wrenching choices among competing priorities, and having to ask what choice best fits their mission-they must develop methodologies for analyzing and resolving right-versus-right dilemmas.”

                Rushworth Kidder in Leading with Values, 2003

The right versus right decisions that nonprofits wrestle with day in and day out definitely support the idea that nonprofits should invest in creating tools and educating their staff and volunteers on ways to make positive ethical decisions. 

Over the course of nearly 40 years, Dr. Kidder authored 12 books, including:

  • "Good Kids, Tough Choices: How Parents Can Help Their Children Do the Right Thing" (2010);
  • "The Ethics Recession: Reflections on the Moral Underpinnings of the Current Economic Crisis" (2009);
  • "Moral Courage: Taking Action When Your Values are Put to the Test" (2005);
  • "How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living" (1995);
  • "Shared Values for a Troubled World: Conversations with Men and Women of Conscience" (1994);
  • "Heartland Ethics: Voices from the American Midwest" (as editor) (1992);
  • "In the Backyards of Our Lives and Other Essays" (1992);
  • "Global Ethics: A Quartet of Interviews" (1992);
  • "Reinventing the Future: Global Goals for the 21st Century" (1989); "An Agenda for the Twenty-First Century" (1987);
  • "E.E. Cummings: An Introduction to the Poetry" (Columbia Introductions to Twentieth-Century American Poetry) (1979); and
  • "Dylan Thomas: The Country of the Spirit" (1973).

For more information on the life and work of Rushworth Kidder, please visit the Institute for Global Ethics tribute website.  

By Susan Larsen | March 19, 2013 | Ethics
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About the Author: Susan Larsen

Susan Larsen joined the Standards for Excellence Institute in January 2013 and currently serves as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator. After receiving her BA from the University of Maryland Baltimore County she held positions with Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, MD working with Internal Communications and television production for two of their popular networks. She found her calling with the nonprofit sector after volunteering with several local community organizations. Susan has previously served on the board of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network of Baltimore as Co-Chair of their Communications Committee, and helped to establish marketing and communications strategy for the organization as well as launching their website. Susan is very active in her local community, including her daughter’s PTA, and is thrilled to apply her expertise in communications, logistics and operations to support a strong nonprofit community. She presently resides in Catonsville, MD with her husband, daughter and cat.