by Ken Stewart

(Editor's Note: The American Council of the Blind constitution and bylaws require that a narrative summary of every board of directors meeting be prepared by the board of publications' ex-officio representative to the board of directors. Upon approval of the minutes of this meeting by the board of directors, the minutes will be made available to the membership on the web site. Members who cannot access the minutes in that way may request assistance from the national office.)

On July 5, 2008, the ACB board of directors held its pre-convention board meeting at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky. Other ACB members were present at all times the board met in open session.

The board discussed a number of financial matters, including announcements of year-to-date budget totals and $50,000 in grants received. Additionally, the board passed a motion to formally thank the Ferrari Club, located in Florida, for its generosity to ACB. All major donors of six figures and above will have their names prominently displayed on a plaque to be hung in the national office.

ACB received a request for funding from the Blind Citizens Front of Sri Lanka. After discussion, the board voted to approve $1,000 to be used to promote braille literacy.

Dena Wilson, director of development, was introduced. She stated that among her first pursuits will be to assure the presence of the American Council of the Blind on Internet charitable-giving sites.

Jeff Thom reported on the work of the voting task force which was mandated to explore ways of introducing more privacy into the standing votes conducted from time to time during convention business meetings. Thom indicated that the task force was expecting to experiment with a form of paper balloting at some point during convention week. The second part of the task force's mandate, to examine the potential for remote voting, will be addressed at a later date.

Thom also gave the report of the vehicle donation task force. All issues have been corrected, and affiliates should now be receiving their contributions as is appropriate. He noted that this source of giving is improving and companies managing these programs are making an effort to educate the public regarding the relevant tax laws.

The board next approved the fitness equipment equity task force. Its mission will be to study and enhance the availability of accessible fitness equipment. This will also include the accessibility of fitness centers, instruction manuals, and exercise videos.

Executive director Melanie Brunson announced the schedule for the next mid-year affiliate presidents' meeting. It will be held at the Holiday Inn National Airport in Arlington, Va., from Feb. 20-24, in conjunction with the annual board of directors meeting, presidents' meeting and legislative seminar.

Director of advocacy and governmental affairs Eric Bridges reported that he has been appointed to the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee. He also indicated that the revised edition of the pedestrian safety handbook should be completed by the end of the year.

The board held one executive session over lunch. Once the board returned to open session, Pomerantz reported the board heard a status report on litigation matters, a report regarding an initial exploration with Joel Snyder of a possible business venture concerning the production of video description in a variety of venues, and a report on various personnel matters. No actions were taken.

Other business included action to suspend the charter of the inactive Connecticut affiliate, and a decision to consider the status of the Idaho affiliate at the fall board meeting. The board is hopeful that work being conducted in both these states will result in a return of Connecticut and strengthening of Idaho. The meeting adjourned just after 1 p.m.

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