[Foundation-l] What are the assets of the Foundation, anyway?
Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 19 00:17:46 UTC 2007
daniwo59 at aol.com wrote:
> Sorry, but that just doesnt cut it. I know all these things, I know a lot
> got done, and I know how long it took to do it. In fact, I participated in many
> of them in one way or another. What it boils down to is that the primary
> responsibility of the Board is fiduciary. Risk management falls under that
> category. Saying "we were busy" does not release anyone from responsibility.
> I am reminded of the Board and Chapter meeting in Frankfurt this past
> autumn, especially when Mitch asked, "Who is willing to take responsibility?" No
> one raised their hands then, and no one seems to be raising their hands now.
I am willing to take responsability. But taking responsability does not
mean we suddenly transform in a cyborg.
Let us be practical. Here is a list of the 10 basic responsabilities of
Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards
1. DETERMINE THE ORGANIZATIONS MISSION AND PURPOSE
A statement of mission and purpose should articulate the organization’s
goals, means, and pri-
mary constituents served. It is the board’s responsibility to create the
mission statement and
review it periodically for accuracy and validity. Each individual board
member should fully
understand and support it.
----> It was just done. All set.
2. SELECT THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Boards must reach consensus on the chief executive’s job description and
undertake a careful
search process to find the most qualified individual for the position.
----> This is on its way. I have bugged and bugged over and over so that
this process moves on. We hired a company to help. We are currently
working with them on this, as well as looking for an interim person.
Frankly, we may not be very efficient, but it would be quite wrong to
say we do not take on this responsability.
3. SUPPORT THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND REVIEW HIS OR HER PERFORMANCE
The board should ensure that the chief executive has the moral and
professional support he
or she needs to further the goals of the organization. The chief
executive, in partnership with
the entire board, should decide upon a periodic evaluation of his or her
----> I reviewed my chief executive performance.
4. ENSURE EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATIONAL PLANNING
As stewards of an organization, boards must actively participate with
the staff in an overall
planning process and assist in implementing the plan’s goals.
----> In my view, it should be both with staff and community. Which
means this is what we are basically doing right now.
I suddenly wonder if the CEO of Amazon participate with their staff in
the planning process :-)
5. ENSURE ADEQUATE RESOURCES
One of the board’s foremost responsibilities is to provide adequate
resources for the organiza-
tion to fulfill its mission. The board should work in partnership with
the chief executive and
development staff, if any, to raise funds from the community.
----> Frankly, this is what I do every day right now for Wikimania.
6. MANAGE RESOURCES EFFECTIVELY
The board, in order to remain accountable to its donors, the public, and
to safeguard its tax-
exempt status, must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring
that proper financial
controls are in place.
----> I wish I could. To assist does not mean to develop the budget. I
think I asked the budget enough times.
But right, still much to do on this one :-)
7. DETERMINE,MONITOR,AND STRENGTHEN THE ORGANIZATION’S PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
The board’s role in this area is to determine which programs are the
most consistent with an
organization’s mission and to monitor their effectiveness.
----> See emails of the previous days. See as well my 4 wishes at the
beginning of the year. I also requested analytical accounting to help
8. ENHANCE THE ORGANIZATION’S PUBLIC STANDING
An organization’s primary link to the community, including constituents,
the public, and the
media, is the board. Clearly articulating the organization’s mission,
goals to the public, and garnering support from important members of the
important elements of a comprehensive public relations strategy.
----> We even hired someone to help us here ! My emails in the past few
days also try to precisely do that
9. ENSURE LEGAL AND ETHICAL INTEGRITY AND MAINTAIN ACCOUNTABILITY
The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal
standards and ethical
norms. Solid personnel policies, grievance procedures, and a clear
delegation to the chief
executive of hiring and managing employees will help ensure proper
decorum in this area.
The board must establish pertinent policies, and adhere to provisions of
bylaws and articles of incorporation.
----> This is were we suffered the most in teh past months, and this is
exactly why I am proposing a change of governance model. No one can
claim we are doing nothing on this front.
10. RECRUIT AND ORIENT NEW BOARD MEMBERS AND ASSESS BOARD PERFORMANCE
All boards have a responsibility to articulate and make known their
needs in terms of member
experience, skills, and many other considerations that define a
“balanced” board composition.
Boards must also orient new board members to their responsibilities and
history, needs, and challenges. By evaluating its performance in
fulfilling its responsibilities,
the board can recognize its achievements and reach consensus on which
areas need to be
----> We recruited 3 new members in nov/dec and plan a renewal of three
members. Afaik, I made a lot of efforts to orient new members (you can
not judge that of course, this is internal board business). Skills have
been discussed quite a bit in the past few months, and for the
elections, I plan to explain which needs we have. As for evaluating
performance, what is it exactly that I have been doing in the past few
In short, claiming that we are not taking responsability, Danny, is
plain bullshit. I would like as well to insist on one point. When Mitch
asked that question last october, I was not chair. As chair, without
claiming to be perfect (far from it), I have bugged my co-board members
quite a lot, and we have been working on all the topics mentionned
above. The fact we are not perfect is an evidence, but I do not agree AT
ALL to read we are not taking responsability.
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