Call to Order
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) Board of Directors met by conference call on Monday, November 29 and Monday, December 6, 2021, with the primary objective being to review and approve the 2022 ACB Budget and the 2022 ACB Conference and Convention budget. President Dan Spoone called the 11/29 portion of the meeting to order at 8:06 PM Eastern time.
Roll Call and Introduction of Guests
At the call of the roll, the following board members were present: Dan Spoone, Deb Cook Lewis, Ray Campbell, Denise Colley, David Trott, Kim Charlson, Chris Bell, Jeff Bishop, Donna Brown, Jim Kracht, Kenneth Semien, Pat Sheehan, Koni Sims, Michael Talley and Jeff Thom. Board of Publications representative Penny Reeder was present representing that body.
Board members absent: Doug Powell.
Staff present: Eric Bridges, ACB Executive Director, Tony Stephens, ACB Director of Development and Nancy Marks-Becker, ACB Chief Financial Officer.
Review and Approval of Agenda
President Spoone reviewed both segments of the agenda. He reported he had received a request from Charlson to add an additional item to the Dec. 6, 2021 agenda; that being a quick discussion about a proposal from the Bay State Council of the Blind asking for $1,000 from the NELDS Fund to help defer legal costs related to accessible voting issues.
Trott moved and Campbell seconded a motion to approve the agenda as revised. The motion carried.
Review of the ACB Investment Account Balances - Nancy Becker, ACB Chief Financial Officer
In December 2017, ACB had about 2.4 million dollars in our investment accounts, which included our endowment account at about 1.3 million dollars and our reserve account at about 1.1 million dollars.
At the end of 2017 we received notification that two individuals had passed away and left ACB substantial bequests in their wills. Shortly thereafter, the legacy account was established to have a place to put money such as bequests over $25,000, that could then be allowed to grow over time. There is a formula that was developed to clarify how these funds would be allocated between the Board designated reserves and the Legacy Fund. The Endowed Account has mostly the funding for scholarships, NELDS funds that are used to help support legal-related issues that might come up, and the Buell Fund that is used for sports-related activities. The Reserve Account is unrestricted money that we are able to use in times of need to help meet operating expenses. When there is money left in our regular operating bank accounts that is not needed, these funds are moved into the Reserve Account. We have not had to take anything out of Reserves in 2021.
The purpose of the Legacy Account is to have a place for a percentage of unrestricted funds over $25,000. The money in this account is intended to grow slowly over time. At the fall Board meeting each year, a decision is made as to the amount of cash to be drawn from this account to help defray operating expenses during the next year.
In October of 2021, we have almost 5.4 million dollars in the investment accounts. That breaks down to about $1.5 million in the Endowed Account, $1.9 million in the Reserve Account and $1.9 million in the Legacy Account. Part of the DKM match is in the Endowed Account and the other part is restricted funds in the Reserve Account.
Proposed Changes to the DKM Fund and Lifetime Members Reserve Account Classifications - Dan Spoone, ACB President
The Life Members Reserve Account currently sits in the Board Reserve Account and is generally unrestricted funds. Right now, there is $76,000 in this account. The proposal for Board consideration is to take these funds and move them over into the Legacy Endowment Fund, and then put a policy in place stating that the monies received from the dues of any new life members who join ACB would be put directly into the Legacy Endowment Fund.
It was moved by Trott and seconded by Kracht that the current balance of $76,000 from purchased life memberships be moved from the Board Reserve Account to the Legacy Endowment Fund, and that the monies received from the dues of any new life members who join ACB would be put directly into the Legacy Endowment Fund. The motion carried.
A second proposal was presented to move the two restricted funds we have for the DKM First Timer Program, combine them, and move this money into the Reserve Account as unrestricted funds, and provide the funding for the two first timers from these funds as a budget item each year. It was moved by Kracht and seconded by Thom to eliminate the designated restriction on the DKM money currently in the ACB Board Reserve Account and form a committee to look at the Endowment side of the DKM Fund Account. The motion carried.
Review and Approval of the 2022 ACB Revenue 2022 Budget Review
ACB Treasurer David Trott and ACB Chief Financial Officer Nancy Marks-Becker presented the revenue side of the 2022 ACB Budget. There being no board-recommended changes, Campbell moved and Thom seconded a motion to approve the revenue side of the 2022 ACB Budget as presented. The motion carried.
Total Projected Revenue: $1,691,500
Review and Approval of the 2022 ACB Conference and Convention Budget
Nancy presented the revenue and expense sides of the 2020 ACB Conference and Convention budget. There being no board-recommended changes, Campbell moved and Brown seconded a motion that the conference and convention budget in its entirety be approved as presented. The motion carried.
Total projected conference and convention revenue: $561,500.
Total projected conference and convention expenses: $368,900.
Total projected conference and convention profit: $192,600
Recess ACB 2021 Budget Meeting
There being no further business, the board meeting was recessed until Monday, December 6 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The meeting recessed at 10:13 p.m. Eastern time.
Call to Order Out of Recess ACB 2021 Budget Meeting
The board reconvened at 8:06 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, December 6, 2021. At the call of the roll, the following board members were present: Dan Spoone, Deb Cook Lewis, Ray Campbell, Denise Colley, David Trott, Kim Charlson, Chris Bell, Jeff Bishop, Donna Brown, Jim Kracht, Doug Powell, Kenneth Semien, Pat Sheehan, Koni Sims, Michael Talley and Jeff Thom. Board of Publications Representative Penny Reeder was present representing that body.
Staff present: Eric Bridges, ACB Executive Director, Tony Stephens, ACB Director of Development, Nancy Marks-Becker, ACB Chief Financial Officer, and Cindy Hollis, ACB Membership Services Coordinator.
Guests: Katie Frederick, Chair, ACB Board of Publications.
Review and Approval of the September 29 (Resolutions Part 2) Meeting Minutes - Denise Colley, ACB Secretary
There being no corrections or additions, it was moved by Brown and seconded by Semien to approve the September 29, 2021 Resolutions Part II meeting minutes. Motion carried.
Review and Approval of Changes to the Community Events Policy - Cindy Hollis, ACB Membership Services Coordinator
At the fall 2021 Board of Directors meeting, the Board approved a change to our Community Events Policy, requiring the recording of all Community Events.
Shortly after this meeting Cindy Hollis and President Spoone were approached by the Sobriety First Community Group with some serious concerns about being recorded. This group is active and holds Community Events on a regular basis. After meeting with representatives of the group, president Spoone made an executive decision to grant them a temporary exemption from the recording requirement until he had a chance to bring the issue before the Board. Some proper guidelines were put in place that required them to comply with ACB’s Code of Conduct, and adhere to the reporting processes already established. It was also understood that a disclaimer would be put at the beginning of their Events so participants will know their rights related to membership and participation in ACB. Their meetings had to have a structure and a set of rules and guidelines to them, which were already in place given the nature of their Twelve Step Program. The current policy along with the proposed new language were read and discussion ensued. Cindy shared that a Community Support Committee has been established to be the body to provide guidance on issues related to the Community calls. It was suggested to add the statement “this event is not being recorded” at the beginning or end of the exemption statement.
It was moved by Campbell and seconded by Charlson to approve the exemption policy presented as it pertains to the recording requirement for Community Events. An amendment was made by Thom to insert the words “where confidentiality issues are necessary” after the words “on a case-by-case basis”, and this was considered friendly. The motion was amended and passed unanimously.
Bell then moved and Campbell seconded that the Community call for Sobriety First, a twelve-step meeting, be exempted from the recording of Community Events requirement. With further discussion it was felt that with the passing of the recording exemption, the Board had already approved the exemption requested by the Sobriety First Community Group. It was moved by Kracht and seconded by Thom to table this motion. The motion passed with one no vote by Bell. The plan is that the temporary exemption will stay in place until the Community Events Committee meets and votes to approve it permanently.
Review and Approval of a Request by the Bay State Council of the Blind – Kim Charlson, Immediate Past President
The Bay State Council of the Blind is requesting reimbursement of $1,000 from the NELDS Fund for a payment that was made in January 2021 by BSCB to the Disability Law Center. This expenditure by BSCB was to cover litigation that Massachusetts had regarding accessible voting for the primary election in September 2020, and the general election in November. It took a ruling from the Circuit Court to allow Bay State residents to have the right to vote electronically and submit their ballots. The letter of request and the documentation showing proof of payment was sent to Nancy Becker, President Spoone, and Jeff Thom as chair of the former NELDS Committee.
It was moved by Charlson and seconded by Bishop that the payment of $1,000 from the NELDS Fund be provided to the Bay State Council of the Blind for reimbursement of their legal expenses. The motion carried with Charlson, as the one bringing the request to the Board, not voting.
Concern was expressed that, in the future, requests of this nature need to occur ahead of time rather than for services rendered in the past. Jeff Thom explained the requirements around the expenditure of the NELDS Funds when they were turned over to ACB. While it is incumbent upon affiliates to let ACB know about these requests as soon as possible, most would likely not be able to await the expenditure of funds because decisions have to be made immediately in moving forward with their litigation. ACB should have to have a different policy in place in terms of how these requests are evaluated. It was moved by Thom and seconded by Lewis that the Board require the Advocacy Steering Committee to discuss the administration of these funds and report back to the Board with recommendations. The motion carried.
Review and Approval of the ACB 2022 Expense Budget
ACB Treasurer David Trott and ACB Chief Financial Officer Nancy Marks-Becker presented the expenditure side of the 2022 ACB Budget.
The increases in the Salaries and Benefits line items represent the first full year of reflecting all salaries of staff brought on in 2021, a 3% salary increase for existing staff, and two new staff positions.
In the Travel and Meeting Expense category there was discussion about other professional meetings, it was felt that there were some additional events that it would be beneficial to have ACB attend. It was moved by Campbell and seconded by Charlson that the line item for Governmental Affairs Travel in 2022 be increased by $2,000. The motion carried. This action increased this line item to $6,000.
It was moved by Thom and seconded by Powell to increase the Travel Expense line item for the president from $0 to $1,000. The motion carried.
This increases the Travel and Meeting Expenses category total to $119,800.
The Advocacy subcommittee of the Get Up and Get Moving Campaign requested funding to assist with costs of the various activities they have planned for the Campaign. There was a lot of discussion around where this request would fit in the current budget and the need for a more formalized proposal of events and costs. It was moved by Sims and seconded by Sheehan to add an additional $5,000 to the general expense side of the budget to cover these costs.
After additional discussion that motion was withdrawn. It was then moved by Trott and seconded by Bishop to send this request back to the Get UP and Get Moving Campaign Committee and staff, and request they come back to the Board at the January telephonic Board meeting with a line item that includes activities and costs that the board can then work with, and look at reopening the budget at that time. The motion carried.
Total Expenses for 2022: $2,352,300.
Deficit from Operations for 2022: $660,800.
Campbell moved and Bishop seconded that the expense side of the 2022 ACB budget be approved as amended. The motion carried.
The total budget deficit was $222,700.
Since approval by the Board of the ACB Convention budget, the Convention Steering Committee met and requested funding in the amount of $10,000 for the equipping of an additional hybrid room. This recommendation came out of the Special Interest Affiliate Circle meeting. They felt this would be needed to get the kind of capacity needed to be able to hold convention events. It was moved by Trott and seconded by Thom that $10,000 be added to the Hotel Expense for All Other AV line item to cover the costs of an additional hybrid room. The motion carried.
This brings that line-item expense up to $45,000 and the Total Convention Expense to $378,900.
Total Convention Deficit: $202,600.
Total Budget Deficit: $232,700.
It was moved by Campbell and seconded by Powell that the Board approve the 2022 ACB budget, as amended, in aggregate. The motion carried.
It was decided that the January telephonic Board call will be held on Thursday, January 27 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 11:07 PM Eastern time.
Date submitted: 1/13/2022