The July 3, 2020 ACB Conference and Convention Board of Directors Meeting was called to order at 10:02 AM Eastern Time by President Dan Spoone.
In the absence of the secretary, who was excused, the call of the roll was conducted by Second Vice President Ray Campbell, and the following Board members were present: Dan Spoone, Mark Richert, Ray Campbell, David Trott, Kim Charlson, Jeff Bishop, Donna Brown, Sara Conrad, Dan Dillon, Katie Frederick, Jim Kracht, Doug Powell, Pat Sheehan, Michael Talley and Jeff Thom. Board of Publications Member Deb Cook Lewis was present representing that body.
Board members absent: Denise Colley (excused).
Staff present: Eric Bridges, ACB Executive Director, Clark Rachfal, ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, Tony Stephens, Director of Development, Claire Stanley, ACB Advocacy and Outreach Specialist, Kelly Gasque, ACB Executive Assistant and Media Design Specialist, Sharon Lovering, ACB Braille Forum/EForum Editor, Cindy Hollis, ACB Membership Services Coordinator, and Nancy Marks-Becker, ACB Chief Financial Officer.
Contractors present: Debbie Hazelton, ACB Radio Managing Director, and Jo lyn Bailey-Page, ACB Grant Writer.
Guests present: Janet Dickelman, ACB Conference and Convention Coordinator.
Approval of Agenda - Dan Spoone President
President Spoone reviewed the agenda. Powell moved and Charlson seconded adoption of the agenda as amended to add an Item G under the Consent Agenda to include the Development Report which had inadvertently been omitted, and an item 4 under the Advocacy Report to include some additional advocacy items presented by Claire Stanley. The motion carried.
Review and Approval of the April 23, 2020 telephonic ACB Board of Directors meeting minutes - Ray Campbell, second vice president
Trott moved and Powell seconded a motion to approve the April 23, 2020 meeting minutes. The motion carried.
Dan Spoone and Eric Bridges
This Mission Moment focused on the opportunity to thank our ACB Radio Team, Convention Committee, ACB staff and our countless volunteers. There have been a number of people who have really worked and gone above and beyond the call of duty to put together our 59th annual Conference and Convention, which this year is a virtual convention. Eric Bridget thanked all of the ACB staff and ACB Radio Management Team for all of their hard work. Dan thanked Deb Cook Lewis and Cindy Hollis for all of the hours spent getting the zoom facilitators trained. We will be having 108 breakout sessions throughout this convention and each one requires a webinar zoom facilitator.
Janet Dickelman, Convention Committee Chair
Janet reminded everyone listening that, if they’ve registered, they will receive an email every evening from ACB with all the sessions and their zoom links and ACB Radio streams for the following day. She also reminded everyone that on our acbconvention.org website one can find links to the entire convention schedule for the week, all the exhibitors, all the tours, the convention program, the ACB Radio schedule. People can still register if they haven’t yet done so.
We were able to cancel the 2020 contract with Schaumburg, Illinois, and we have signed a contract with them to hold our 2023 Conference and Convention there. The fall board meeting is still scheduled for the weekend of November 13-14, in Phoenix, Arizona, unless the decision is made to move it to a virtual board meeting, and the 2021 National Conference and Convention is still scheduled for July 23-30, 2021 in Phoenix. The 2021 fall board meeting is scheduled for October 9-10, 2021, in Omaha, Nebraska, and the 2022 ACB Conference and Convention is scheduled for July 1-8.
The Board then entered into a discussion about the fall board meeting, and whether or not to hold it on site, virtually, or a combination of the two. Powell moved and Frederick seconded a motion that we hold the fall 2020 ACB Board of Directors meeting virtually. The motion carried.
Jim Kracht brought up concerns he had received about the issue that at least three companies were left off the exhibitor list in the convention program, and he felt that their placement in the program and on the exhibitor list is crucial to their success in a virtual climate. As a result, he felt that ACB should entertain a refund policy that would give them some or all of their $1500 vendor fees back. Some discussion ensued that expressed the opinion that we should leave this issue in the hands of the convention committee and staff, allowing them to make such decisions on a case-by-case basis.
It was then moved by Kracht and seconded by Conrad that the convention committee look at the circumstances surrounding what happened with respect to the error in the convention program and convention exhibitor list and consider appropriate actions to assist those vendors who were affected. The motion failed with one yes vote by Kracht.
Dan and Janet went through convention week and talked about all of the prerecorded and on air zoom coverage that we will have, to include general sessions, breakout sessions, exhibitor broadcasts, audio described tours, the reading of the daily newspaper, the auction, and the welcome show each morning, the connection show immediately following general session, a video prime time broadcast, and a wrap-up show each evening following the prime time broadcast.
Board of Publications (BOP) Report
Deb Cook Lewis, BOP Chair
Deb highlighted the various items the BOP is involved with during the convention. Not only is the BOP responsible for the convention newspaper, but committee members, along with other volunteers, will be reading it each morning. Paul Edwards will be leading a discussion session on accessing some of the various communication resources of ACB. On the Friday of convention the BOP will be facilitating a convention wrap-up to get peoples’ thoughts about their convention experience, and this will take place right before the banquet.
The BOP continues to work with the themed editions of the ACB Braille Forum. They also recently conducted a forum on the Forum where they got some great and helpful feedback and they will continue to implement some of those suggestions.
All of the staff reports were sent out and put into the Board dropbox for reading and review prior to this Board meeting.
It was moved by Trott and seconded by Campbell to approve the reports and the consent agenda. The motion carried.
EOS Organizational Methodology Training: This Entrepreneurial Operating System is the methodology that we approved the funding for at our April board meeting. This came about from a JPMorgan/Chase grant to start putting together some training for our leadership. The name of the methodology under EOS is called Traction. There are six areas of Traction. The first is the Vision Traction Organizer which is your vision and strategic planning efforts. The second session of Traction is understanding your people (membership), how well your staff is meeting your five ACB Core values, evaluating your staff by those core values, and realizing that having the right people in the right seats is the first step to running a good organization. The third section is data and starting to think of metrics and a score card type of analysis that can be done on a weekly basis to understand how your key programs and services are performing for your organization. This will allow us to evaluate the performance of all of our steering committees. The fourth area is issue resolution; giving your leadership the ability to identify issues that are coming before your organization, discussing them and documenting them, and assigning the action items needed to solve them. The fifth section is defining your key processes inside your organization, documenting those, creating your AS IS Flows and your To Be Flows, and working to over time streamline your organizational key processes. This will result in the ability to improve them, remove unneeded steps in the process, and improve your overall efficiency. The sixth section is the feedback Traction loop. As you continue to move through this process you continue to set your vision, your five-year plan, three-year targets, and your one-year action items, and keeping all of this current.
ACB has contracted with Lee Nasehi, a member of ACB’s Advisory Board and CEO of VisionServe Alliance, and a certified Traction Methodology trainer and implementer. The Core Leadership Team has met for three working sessions. This Core Leadership Team consists of the ACB president and immediate past president, executive director, membership services coordinator, chief financial officer, director of advocacy and governmental affairs, and director of development. The committee has done the set-up of our organizational accountability chart and have established weekly Level 10 meetings. At these meetings the committee goes through the highlights of the week, analyzes their score card, talks through their to do list, and then spends the majority of the meeting to focus on any issues that have come before the organization. They are using a website called Ninety which allows them to document our different processes and action items and accomplishments lists and track our progress. Each quarter committee members set the key objectives for their particular program that they want to accomplish within the next ninety days. the accomplishments for the quarter that just ended in June were preparing for the ACB virtual convention, replatforming our server, the creation and management of our community calls, working through the development processes associated with Covid-19 and the financial impacts that it was going to have on the organization, and the establishment and launch of a more streamlined communications plan and process.
Statement of Solidarity: Very quickly ACB got a lot of feedback from the membership encouraging the organization to take a position and communicate something publicly to not only our membership but also to our partners and associates in the blind and visually impaired communities with respect to changes in our environment that were happening with the George Floyd situation and the activity that spun within our organization and the community at large. Dan thanked all those who worked together very rapidly to put together a Statement of Solidarity for ACB. He also challenged the Board to take a look at and to think a little more intentionally about diversification within the Board itself, our committee chairs and our affiliate leadership.
Ad Hoc committee to Review Resolutions process: Dan reported that he has asked Second Vice President, Ray Campbell to chair an ad hoc committee to examine our resolutions processes. Mark Richert agreed to co-chair this committee. Ray stated that it would be his goal for this ad hoc committee to look at the process for submission of resolutions, how they are codified and put together, and how they are presented to the convention floor. It is his goal to have a draft plan to the Board for discussion and review at the fall Board meeting.
It was moved by Campbell and seconded by Conrad to approve the president’s report. The motion carried.
ACB Staff Reports
Eric Bridges, Executive Director
Replatforming ACB Server Environment: The challenges we have been through with regard to ACB’s digital assets have been varied and many. acbradio.org, acb.org, and brailleauthority.org are all now housed in Microsoft Azure. We have been working with the Louisville Web Group to ensure that this process happened in a manner that protected all of our data as it was moved, and along the way Microsoft provided some advice and guidance as well. Eric thanked Jeff Bishop for all his efforts since the illness of Larry Turnbull to help ACB think about how we might be able to do this. He also thanked Jason Kastanguay, our Technical Managing Director for ACB Radio for all his help along the way. Through all of this we’re still under budget, having spent roughly $15,000 so far this year in server-related expenses. There will be a bill coming for June that will likely be significant, but a lot of the work was done in April and May. All of this is going to allow us to begin to make some awaited changes that are necessary to optimize what we can do, especially with ACB Radio. During the convention we have been able to expand our core as well as our gigs so that we can ensure that with the increased traffic over acb.org and acbradio.org we are able to adequately manage it. After the convention is over, we will be able to go back to a more normal state, which is still going to be more than we currently need.
Eric then handed things over to Jeff Bishop who reported that, with even the use of the resources that we’re using during the convention, we have cut the monthly bill we are paying in half. Microsoft has donated $3500 of Azure credit that we are still using, so currently, no money is being spent out of our actual budget yet. We are running 32 gigabytes of Ram and very fast SSD drives in Azure Cloud with eight very high-performance processor cores. We have improved the web resources we have by over 200%. This puts us in a good place to be able to innovate and move forward in the future.
Alexandria Office Buildout: Eric reported that the lease has been signed for an additional three years of office space at our current Alexandria location, and we were able to work out with our landlord the creation of some additional space within the current confines of the four walls of our office suite. In early June the construction project ensued, and it took about four days to complete the construction of a new office that formerly was a storage space just outside of the conference room. Down the hall there is a room that Sharon and Claire share with cubicles. They changed the location of the door into that room to allow for another cubicle to be set up along with a small one that was already there. They have acquired room for two additional staff at some point in the future. This cost us no additional funding due to the negotiation with the landlord. Painting and carpet cleaning were also done.
ACB Advisory Board: The Advisory Board is one of the organizational high level projects (rocks) that were identified by the EOS Leadership Team for which Eric is responsible for. As the Leadership Team began to work through this EOS training it became apparent that they needed to look to engage the Advisory Board in discussions regarding what we are doing with EOS and how they might be able to help advise and guide the work that ACB and the Leadership Team will be doing late into next year. There is going to be a daylong meeting with the Advisory Board, on October 23, to get their input.
In other areas, in late May Eric was honored to be a panelist on part of a keynote panel for the Microsoft Abilities Summit which was held virtually. Normally, this is a two-day in-person conference held at their headquarters to talk about what they are doing with regard to their own employees with disabilities and dealing with digital accessibility. They had over 6800 individuals’ worldwide sign up. The keynote panel is now available on YouTube. It was about a twenty-minute presentation to talk about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. Eric said what he brought to that discussion was ACB’s long history with Microsoft, some of the challenging parts and those where there was significant conflict to begin with, to where we are today, which is a much better place, as well as to where we want to go in the future. He told them that all he wants is access to everything that the sighted community has, and 'that we are willing and are working with Microsoft to help make that happen through artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and other aspects of daily life that we still don’t have complete access to.
Kim asked Eric if he thought there would be value in getting permission from Microsoft to use the audio portion of the panel presentation to use as a podcast on the advocacy podcast stream. He will check with them.
Anthony Carona has been brought on as a project intern and he is working closely with Tony Stephens and Kelly Gasque. He has a background in journalism, and worked for the Associated Press, in New York City, manning the entertainment desk. He has begun to work with Tony on a lot of our communications.
Advocacy Update – Clark Rachfal, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs
Accessible Vote By Mail: Covid has brought about quite a few opportunities, and what is being seen nationwide is a lot of enthusiasm around voting rights and voting access, not only from ACB’s members, but from the broader disability community, the civil rights community and state and local governments making policy changes to their current voting systems to meet the needs of their constituents. The national office has liaisoned at varying levels with over twenty state affiliates and ACB members. This has taken the form of information sharing, the filing of ADA complaints, and the national office taking part in, and advising on legal action. There are still several states where action is pending. For a national policy in the voting arena, in mid-April ACB led a Congressional sign-on letter that went to all members of Congress House and Senate leadership, pushing for additional funding for voting accessibility, especially as states pivot to vote by mail with paper ballots. We want to make sure that states have a catalogue of accessible voting options. ACB was joined by seventy-five national, state and local organizations from the cross disability community and the civil rights community that co-signed on that letter. Over thirty state and special interest ACB affiliates also joined on that letter. Clark and Claire have also been providing comments to the Election Assistance Commission and taking part on some of their informational webinars about accessible voting.
One of the high-level projects for the Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Team is to create a voting toolkit for the ACB website. They want to make sure that people have access to general information about the laws that pertain to voting, as well as links to resources, and have a one stop shop to information about the work that ACB is currently doing. Clark said they are a little behind on this, but they do have the content almost ready to go, and he hopes to have a different report by the Advocacy Bootcamp coming up at the convention.
Procter and Gamble Partnership: Back in March Clark attended the CSUN Conference where he made contact with representatives from Procter and Gamble, and learned more about the work they are doing with tactile features on some of their product lines to include their Herbal Essence products and the audio description for their commercials. They were also involved in the One World event and helping to get audio description for that, which was streamed live, and coordinating through Be My Eyes to work with their volunteers to learn more about the performers, costumes and everything going on with that event.
ACB is also working with Procter and Gamble to deliver care packages during Covid19 to blind individuals around the country, due to the complications that have arisen around Covid and social distancing. They have about a hundred different brands in their portfolio including cleaning supplies and personal care products, and those are the products that are in short supply and/or are difficult to find on delivery or online purchasing services because they are in such high demand. In coordination with Procter and Gamble, ACB is also working with NIB and VisionServe Alliance to get these products delivered, kitted and distributed out of six of their partner organizations around the country, as well as ACB members and affiliates to identify people in need and get them these care packages.
Along with building relationships with these six key cities, we see this as an opportunity to build a relationship with Procter and Gamble and entering into conversation with them about how we can get ACB members more engaged with their product testing and design of their packaging. We see this as an opportunity not only to help the blind community, but also to grow a relationship with and influence a worldwide conglomerate with many different product lines and brands.
Matt Hanley helped us through structured negotiation with the company Patrion. This is a platform for online communities and content creators. A lot of podcasters and visual artists use it to display their products and earn revenue. People who are artistic in nature can become members and have an audience subscribe. There have been challenges to using the website and more significant challenges on the backend creator side. This is now a platform that is going to be more accessible for people to enjoy and for artists to make money online.
ACB for some time has been working in the accessible exercise and fitness equipment arena. Peloton Interactive, known for their bikes and treadmills, and their streaming online video classes have now added the Google Talk Back screen reader to all Peloton bikes that can be activated via the menus. They also have a new accessibility page on their website, bringing voice to their diversity and inclusion commitment across accessibility as well.
Information and Referral and Peer Support Steering Committee Update – Claire Stanley
Claire reported that, with regard to the information and referral component, the steering committee has put together a list of twenty of the most frequently asked questions the ACB office receives and highlighted them as the issues people experience on a regular basis. They are putting together information and resources so any staff person answering the phone will have answers right at their fingertips without more effectively and efficiently having to first research for answers.
The peer support component is taking this a step further and identifying ACB members in different geographic regions with expertise in specific areas such as parenting, k-12 or higher education,, etc., and connecting them with those with questions or issues in those areas who can serve as a resource. They are also trying to find a cohesive and comprehensive way to store this information in a way that will allow for easy access.
2020 Resolutions Process: Clark reported that the ACB staff worked with leadership and the chairs of the Resolutions Committee to develop a process so that resolutions can still be brought to the Board. Resolutions can be sent to [email protected] or to the Resolutions Committee co-chairs through the end of convention. The Resolutions Committee will then send resolutions to the staff with a pass or do not pass. The staff will then work with the Resolutions Committee and leadership to provide a preliminary ranking, and they will then go to the Board prior to the August board meeting for debate, final ranking and majority vote.
Website and Social Media Updates – Kelly Gasque
Kelly said that ACB has really had to utilize our public awareness communication methods during this time because everyone has been working remotely. Immediately after the office closures we developed a Covid19 response page on the ACB website. This page had a wealth of different resources, updates about office closures, the status of the convention, advice for affiliates with scheduled in-person events, educational and zoom resources, links to accessible statistics and graphics, and the many different advocacy letters that we put out in response to Congress and others just highlighting all of the issues we were working on. Constant Contact has allowed us to send out timely announcements and important information about Covid19, as well as advocacy initiatives and our server upgrades. A video was created just to send out a message of hope to our members.
We wanted to expand some of our communication channels because of the importance of meeting people where they are in terms of obtaining information. Along with all of our standard methods of communication ACB joined Be My Eyes as a specialized help partner to provide information about blindness and ACB.
Along with the advent of the community calls has been the creation of an ACB community Facebook group which has really fostered positive discussion and sense of family that we have.
Our Facebook Live has been a great way for people to get familiar with our staff members and members on the Board. It has also been a great tool in utilizing communication during the pandemic because we’ve been able to use zoom as a webinar platform to push video live over Facebook and over YouTube.
There was a recent update to ACB Link which is an alternative for people to join in and listen to the convention through the ACB Radio channels. There are a number of ways people can listen to the convention remotely without having to even be registered, and these are all listed on the website.
Kelly said that looking forward we have a communications intern in Anthony Corona, who has been involved in working on a lot of different social media aspects and has helped out in moderating the ACB Community group. In addition, we are working with a communications consultant who has been painstakingly organizing information to help us prioritize our communication needs and she is getting a good understanding of who ACB is. We will be moving forward with her working on a communications plan. ACB will be launching a blog which Tony Stephens and Anthony Carona are working on establishing, which will be another way to communicate to our members, community members, and our corporate sponsors.
Resource Development – Tony Stephens
ACB has been very fortunate to have the support on both the financial and resource development side of people who are continuing to help sustain the organization. The convention has exceeded all expectations on the resource development side, since it is a key time of the year to help raise funds. The walk is going very well. Our corporate partners have stepped up and we are now at about $258,000 in sponsorships. While the convention will have some costs, they are much less so we are netting well there. The ACB Braille Forum raffle has done extremely well. We are focusing on MMS as well, and we are going to have MMS Monday as well as membership Monday during convention.
We have been fortunate in securing support through the federal Payroll Protection Program for our thrift stores which is a major source of revenue for us. After convention there is going to be a major ramp-up of our annual campaign at the end of the year. We will be working on increasing not only the donations, but also the relationships and the contacts of people we can bring into the organization and help cultivate to be donors in the future. We want to focus on how we can increase the level of stewardship that we have. Tony is going to be looking at doing more video social media engagement ways to continue the relationship with our donors and significantly at online engagement as well as our direct mail campaign. We have already seen signs that online giving and engagement can provide a very solid return on our investment for the amount of energy we put in.
We want to make sure that people who are giving to the organization realize they are getting a value in return. If it is a corporate sponsor, then the commitment is to make sure that every penny they donate to ACB is going to some good cause so that if it is possible that they get money back. Our partners in the private sector need to be getting as much value out of being a partner with ACB as we get out of them. A big part of the communication plan is how we talk about and sell our value.
In response to a question about our grant’s status Tony shared that he and Jo Lyn have worked extensively to do an audit of who we’ve been requesting money from and need to hone in on targeting some strong foundations. They have been working on revising our whole grant pipeline and starting to look at some larger foundations that are focusing more now on disability inclusion issues because of Covid. Part of the communications plan is identifying the ways we talk about the organization through our narrative because that is very critical when trying to sell ourselves to some of the larger foundations to get the support needed to get us to some new strategic goals in terms of revenue.
Member Services – Cindy Hollis
Community Chats: In the second half of March when the Community Events began, thirteen were held. In April we held eighty-eight events, one hundred sixty in May, and two hundred twenty-three in June. These Community Events have been a keyway to embrace, engage and empower, and not with the people we would normally be doing that with. We are identifying new volunteers, new members and new leaders. Our special interest affiliates and ACB committees have recognized the power and opportunity they have to share what they are doing and are about by facilitating events. People have wanted to stay connected outside the calls which resulted in the ACB Community Facebook group. In the first five days we hit five hundred people who joined. We are now at seven hundred one.
POSSE: In May the POSSE lost one of its members due to her passing away. However, Cindy has had a couple of volunteers from the Community calls step forward so the group is rebuilding. Their level of work will be ramping up again after convention. She views anyone who is doing anything to do with these calls is really a part of the POSSE because they are providing outreach through sharing, support and engagement.
Cindy encouraged any Board member who is not currently on the ACB Community Events email list to do so at [email protected]. She also encouraged Board members to join the ACB Community Facebook group.
Chief Financial Officer – Nancy Becker
Minnesota Office Move to Suite 155: ACB signed a new five-year lease and will be moving to new office space across the parking lot from where they are now. It has more office space then they currently have, and the space is being used more efficiently. They will have another office space and a mini lunchroom. The new address will be 6200 Shinglecreek Parkway, Suite 155.
2019 Audit: The 2019 ACB audit was conducted at the end of March. This year the audit was conducted remotely, and we needed to provide the requested documents via email. ACB once again received a clean audit which is the best report we could have received. They also completed our 990 and the 990 disclosure is on the ACB website on the About Us page under Organizational Documents.
Investment Portfolio: This year the stock market has been very volatile. The worldwide pandemic has affected the economy which has affected the market. The unemployment rate is at about 11% as of this date, and the overall stock market is down, year to date, anywhere from 3-1/2 to 14%. ACB’s three investment accounts have also had unrealized losses and they are down, year to date, anywhere from 2 to 4-1/2%. This year so far, Nancy has withdrawn $115,000 from the reserve account and she does not anticipate needing any additional funds any time soon. Right now the reserve account has about 1.5 million dollars in it.
Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Loan: The Payroll Protection loans we applied for in April, and received, have been used for payroll costs for both ACB staff and for the thrift store employees, while they were temporarily closed or at reduced hours. Funds are also being used to pay rent and utilities. This fall ACB will be applying to have these loans forgiven, and with the federal government extending the eligible period these funds can be used for after the loan was received, Nancy said she believes the full amount of our loans will be forgiven.
ACB ES Thrift Store update: At the end of March both of ACB’s thrift stores temporarily closed because of the Carona Virus orders by both of the cities where they are located. They opened up again on May 1 with limited hours. Both stores finished in May with a net profit and Nancy anticipates June will be the same. On Wednesday, July 1, she learned that one of the employees at the Lubbock store tested positive, so out of concern for these employees we have temporarily closed that store for fourteen days. Nancy said she does anticipate that sales will continue to be lower than what was budgeted for the remainder of the year, but she believes they are performing better than other retail stores.
Projection for 2020: At the end of May ACB’s net loss was about $529,600. This includes the $17,00 contribution from the thrift stores and the unrealized net losses on our investments of $237,000. The projected net loss for 2020 is anticipated to be about $650,000. ACB anticipated the thrift stores would contribute about $389,000 and it is now being anticipated that their contribution will be down about $250,000. This does include the anticipated loan that will be forgiven. Expenses are anticipated to be about $58,000 below budget, and this will help decrease the amount of our net loss. Convention sponsorships are less than what they have been in the past, but many of our anticipated convention expenses will not be incurred either. We are anticipating that ACB will have a net profit of about $205,500 from the convention which is only about $11,000 below budget.
Ray asked about the reason for the significant drop in email subscriptions to the Braille Forum. Dan replied that for a number of years ACB had a separate email list for the Forum email subscriptions than we had in Donor Perfect. This past year the decision was made to sync up the email addresses in Donor Perfect with those on the separate master list. This resulted in a weeding out of multiple email addresses for one person and people who were deceased but still on the list.
Campbell moved and Powell seconded a motion for approval of the staff reports. The motion carried.
Financial Narrative for 2020: David Trott ACB Treasurer
David reviewed the ACB financial statement through May 31, 2020. ACB’s deficit from Operations through May 31 is $445,045 compared to a budget deficit of $194,471. Revenue is $366,292, expenses are $811,337 and when the unrealized loss of $237,404 is included from the investments, the deficit before convention is $682,449.
Through May revenue is $366,292 compared to a budget of $613,407.
Overall operational expenses are very close to budget. Actual expenses are $811,337 compared to budget of $807,878.
Campbell moved and Charlson seconded acceptance of the financial narrative report.
The motion carried.
NELDS Distribution for the Florida Council of the Blind
Jeff Thom, Advocacy Services Committee Chair
The Florida Council of the Blind has been very active in seeking to ensure private, independent, accessible remote voting. They finally determined that they would need to get involved in litigation and had to obligate themselves to as much as $15,000 in expenses. Jim Kracht came to the Advocacy Services Committee on behalf of the Florida Council requesting any kind of funding assistance for them to help in their litigation. The Advocacy Services Committee initially reviewed the request and recommended a $7,000 allocation from the Legal Services Fund that ACB has. However, after review of the trust document it has been determined that the maximum that could be expended for this year is $5,600. A recommendation is being brought to the Board to approve the maximum allocation of $5,600 be provided to the Florida Council of the Blind for their litigation, and if this litigation moves into next year, and more funds are necessary, this could be revisited at that time.
Thom moved and Charlson seconded a motion to approve an allocation of $5,600 to the Florida Council of the Blind for the litigation. The motion carried.
David brought up the issue that part of the agreement when the ACB Board agreed to be the steward of the NELDS fund was to raise money for it. The need for these funds may grow, and he asked President Spoone to appoint a committee to explore ways to specifically raise money for this fund. President Spoone said that one thing we could do is to refer this issue to Tony and Jo Lyn for any kind of development or grant writing opportunities in this area, and also bring it to the attention of the Resource Development Committee as something they can advocate for with ACB membership. All were in agreement.
ACB Radio Report
Debbie Hazelton, Managing Director
The ACB Radio production team Has grown and is now up to about fifteen members. Since April they have had people not only return to ACB Radio, but those there have cranked up the intensity of their commitment. More high-level production equipment has been purchased by production team members and this has greatly improved the end product. The files dropbox has been increased. The community calls are adding to the listener count and shows that ACB Radio is doing that add to the value or ability of for listeners to participate are added to the community calls calendar. ACB Radio Café and ACB Interactive merged and we now have the new Community channel.
ACB Radio is on a growth surge with a lot of new people wanting to do new programs. They are still working to clear off the server of a lot of old data, update their dropbox for broadcasters to have fresh new information, have more people trained in zoom, webinar, and to become streamers. They also need an automated way to get their broadcast schedule out, perhaps even daily.
It was moved by Campbell and seconded by Brown to approve the ACB Radio report. The motion carried.
Dan Dillon, RDC Chair
Dan talked about how uplifting this Board meeting has been because of all of the programs and activities that ACB is involved in, but reminded everyone that these things do take money. He talked about the ease of signing up for or increasing contributions to the MMS Program. The MMS Program now has a phone number and email address. Call 202-743-0755 or email [email protected].
The appetizer auction raised a little over $2500. The mini mall has a new phone number going into convention which is 877-969-mall (6255). The mini mall community calls have provided a real boost to sales, when usually in May and June it has a real down time. This year, leading into the convention, not counting registration but just regular orders through the phone numbers and website, the mall has raised over $6,000 in presales before the convention. The hope with registration and the extended items on the registration shopping cart, is that we would get seventy-five orders for the mini mall out of the registration process. However, Dan said that when he spoke with Carla Ruschival the previous day the mini mall had received over three hundred registrants who had purchased items. The mini mall will be up and running all eight days of convention and their promos will be on all the Connection shows.
Nancy said that the Minneapolis office would be open from 9am to 5pm Eastern time, Monday through Thursday during convention week, so people can call to make a walk donation, need help registering for the walk, or want to buy a raffle ticket.
It was moved by Trott and seconded by Brown to approve the Resource Development Committee report. The motion carried.
Audio Description Project
Kim Charlson, Steering Committee Co-Chair
The 2019 ADP annual report was included in the Board meeting documents that were sent out. ADP convention activities begin with the viewing of Parasite, Oscar Award winning Picture of the Year for 2020 on the first night of convention. It is a film that uses two audio describers; one to read the subtitles and one to describe the action. Kim went through convention week highlighting all of the ADP activities which will culminate Friday evening when Roy Samuelson who is a well-known audio description narrator for movies and television will be our banquet speaker.
The Committee is working with Clark because there are legislative activities with the Federal Communications Commission, an NPRM out for comments right now recognizing the name change officially by the FCC from video description to audio description. There is also the change expanding the communities covered by audio description for services from sixty areas up to ten additional areas each year for the next four years. As we all know, the National Broadcasting Association isn’t in favor of this, so we’ve had to really do some strategizing and advocating even harder to make sure that our position about why audio description is so important and why this expansion is important as well.
There being no further business Trott moved and Frederick seconded a motion to adjourn. The motion carried. The meeting adjourned at 3:59PM Eastern time.
Date submitted: 10/9/2020