by Deb Cook Lewis
The ACB board of directors has been really busy. They held a conference call meeting on Aug. 22, a day and a half meeting Oct. 18-19 in Schaumburg, Ill., and budget calls on Nov. 11 and 18. This summary covers only the highlights of these meetings.
During the August call, president Dan Spoone discussed the process for finalizing committee chairs and membership along with the affiliate board liaisons. There was a good response to Dan’s appeal for new committee members, which is very encouraging.
Ray Campbell reported on the follow-up activities conducted with the Colorado Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the board adopted the revised charter for this new affiliate.
Eric Bridges and Clark Rachfal led a discussion of resolution priorities passed at the 2019 convention. ACB’s top priorities will be: access to diabetes medical equipment; accessibility of autonomous vehicles; establishing a national transportation framework; increased funding in support of individuals with non-vocational outcomes such as independent living and homemakers. Other resolutions were referred to committees for further action or will be responded to in other appropriate ways. These top priority resolutions will also become the framework for the 2020 legislative seminar and leadership meeting.
The in-person meeting was held at the Renaissance Hotel, which is the site for ACB’s 2020 convention. After the opening proceedings, Dan and Eric shared a mission moment with the board featuring the advocacy work of Clark, Claire, Kelly and Sharon. They described the roles and collaboration among these staff to make sure advocacy concerns of members are addressed both in terms of our national direction as well as on an individualized basis.
The board adopted a consent agenda, which allowed them to approve the routine reports as one item primarily based on written reports received in advance. Kim Charlson reported on the World Blind Union fall meeting and her recent presentation on digitization to the National Press Club. Claire Stanley shared revisions to the proposed ACB Diversity Statement, which was adopted by the board. Dan requested and the board approved changing the name of the women’s concerns committee to ACB Women.
Eric Bridges reported on the success of the first ACB advisory committee meeting. The advisors have provided significant advice and resources already. Eric also discussed ACB’s involvement as an advisor to Apple’s showcase TV program called “See,” which has now launched with their new streaming service. “See” is about a time in the future where all inhabitants of the land are blind.
The first half-day session concluded with an ACBES board meeting, followed by an executive session where personnel and financial matters were discussed but no action was taken.
The entire second day of the fall board meeting consisted of a discussion of the nine ACB programs and services that represent ACB’s recently adopted new organizational structure. There were presentations and discussion for each of the work areas: convention program; member services; advocacy programs; Audio Description Project; information and peer support program; scholarship and awards program; public awareness program; development/fundraising program; administrative services. Each program/service has a steering committee comprised of a member lead, staff lead and an officer liaison, plus relevant committee chairs and other board members. Each of ACB’s committees will work with other related committees and with their assigned steering committee to plan and coordinate efforts and achieve measurable goals. You will hear much more about this process in the coming weeks.
Finally, in November, the ACB board held two phone conferences to review and adopt the general revenue and expense budgets along with the convention budget. Budgeted revenue for 2020 is approximately $1,340,000. It is expected that convention revenue will increase because of the location, but costs will also increase. Budgeted expenses for 2020 are approximately $1,800,000. Personnel, office lease renewal, web development increases and IT infrastructure, along with other rising costs, account for the deficit. The budget committee believes that ACB can withstand this deficit and that some of the proposed expenditures will more than pay for themselves in the short term. The board passed this budget with minor changes. There was one “no” vote.
The board will hold its next phone meeting in January.