by Deb Cook Lewis
ACB’s board of directors met in St. Louis on June 29. President Kim Charlson called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. All officers and board members were in attendance. The agenda was adopted, and minutes of the Feb. 24 board meeting were approved.
Secretary Ray Campbell explained that there was discussion on the board email list regarding reimbursement of board travel expense for meetings. The board voted by email to refer this to the budget committee for review and cost analysis, with a report at the fall board meeting. This email vote was ratified.
Charlson and Mitch Pomerantz provided updates on activities of the Braille Authority of North America and the World Blind Union. ACB received the CNIB Century of Change Award during the WBU conference in May.
Dan Spoone summarized efforts to re-establish the advisory board, which would focus on marketing and development. A brainstorming session was held in May with a consultant, and an action plan was drafted for capacity-building and obtaining subject matter expertise in critical areas. The goal is to actively recruit advisory members and have 5 to 7 identified by November, with their first meeting prior to midyear. The board accepted the advisory board working group report and the president’s report.
Eric Bridges announced that the Senate approved the Marrakesh Treaty on June 28 under unanimous consent. He introduced Claire Stanley, ACB’s advocacy and outreach specialist. He thanked Kelly Gasque for her work on the new website, as well as those who helped with testing. Eric summarized advocacy activities resulting in positive press for ACB, including: work with Cisco Systems; collaboration with Apple to develop emoji representing blind people; consultation regarding portrayal of a blind character on an episode of NCIS; and a Microsoft video featuring Eric highlighting their work in artificial intelligence to launch their AI for nonprofits grant program.
Nancy Becker said that the audit went smoothly this year. Changes in the Affiliate Membership Management System made updating member information much easier. An endowment fund has been established consistent with criteria adopted at the midyear meeting. Nancy explained that the board must adopt an effectiveness policy and approve an effectiveness report to comply with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance criteria for charitable organizations. The board voted to adopt the policy and to approve the report as sent to them in advance.
In her editor’s report, Sharon Lovering described how she works with various ACB committees and the board of publications. Circulation of ACB’s magazines has increased 8.85 percent. Perkins is managing the cartridge distribution. People will be contacted if they have not returned cartridges after three issues.
Tom Tobin and Jo Lynn Bailey-Page summarized ACB’s development and grant-writing activities, including: direct mail appeal, ACB Angel Memorial Tribute Program, annual giving societies, and management of foundation relationships with many new prospects. Tom needs assistance to replenish the testimonial pipeline used for the appeals and other activities. The development team meets on a regular basis and is now working with the marketing and communications team.
Larry Turnbull reported that ACB Radio listener counts continue to increase. ACB Link is now in beta for Android and on the Google Play Store. ACB Radio hosted the Candidates Forum using the Zoom meetings platform. There is a podcast feed for convention programming, acbradio.org/acb-convention.xml.
Tony Stephens updated the board on ACB’s advocacy initiatives, including: protecting funding for important federal programs; service animals on airlines; Medicare demonstration; autonomous vehicles; audio description; procurement regulations and the definition of integrated employment in the Rehabilitation Services Administration; accessible currency; and other issues as directed by ACB resolutions.
Kelly Gasque reported that the new website is live. The new logo is being used. Social media contacts have increased significantly. ACB has a strong and consistent message in its marketing materials.
The board accepted all staff reports. During lunch, the board convened in executive session to discuss legal advocacy, personnel, and financial issues. There were no motions made.
Treasurer David Trott reviewed the June financials, investments and budget report in detail; his report was adopted.
The strategic action teams provided updates on their work. (For a summary, see the July issue.)
Janet Dickelman reported that convention attendance is up in part because of offering continuing education credits this year, with 865 pre-registered. There were concerns regarding the format of the online versions of the convention program. Deb Lewis stated that the BOP would work with the convention committee to resolve this for next year. The fall board meeting will be Oct. 5 in Rochester, N.Y. The dates for the 2019 convention in Rochester are July 5-12; for Schaumburg, Ill. in 2020, dates are July 3-10.
The Board of Publications Editorial Policy Manual is being totally rewritten to reflect the BOP’s collaboration with other committees and groups within ACB as well as modernizing the language to be consistent and readable. The Candidates Forum had a new look and feel as an online forum prior to convention. There will be an informal town hall meeting at convention. The Writers Workshop will feature a presentation by Kelly Gasque and Katie Frederick. “The ACB Braille Forum” and E-Forum will have more balanced coverage; the E-Forum will now be themed issues beginning with the August issue. The BOP report was accepted.
With no further business, the board meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.