The following is a synopsis of duties and responsibilities for members of the Board of Directors of SAFE, Inc. has been compiled for the information of new Board members and for those who have expressed interest in serving on the Board. More comprehensive guidelines and information is available in the SAFE office.
Board Responsibilities and Decision Making Areas:
1. Oversight of Planning
2. Planning, organizing, and conducting fund raising activities
3. Establishment and approval of policy guidelines
4. Approval of new services and of grants and contracts
5. Overall budget and finances of Safe, including major expenditures and establishing policies and procedures for control of funds.
6. Hiring, supervising, and evaluating Executive Director
7. Organizational structure
Organization and bylaws:
SAFE, Inc. is incorporated as a private non-profit organization for the purpose of providing services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Bristol Bay region. In addition to other services, SAFE operates a 16-bed shelter for victims of violence and their dependents. SAFE is governed by bylaws adopted by the Board of Directors that outline the powers and duties of the Board.
Board Composition and Structure:
SAFE has a seven-member board elected by the general membership for two-year terms. Officers are President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary and are elected by Board members for a one-year term at the first meeting following the Election at the annual general membership meeting.
Our commitment to the community we serve and the guidelines established by our major funding sources require that the Board be comprised of members who reside in the program's service area, that we specifically recruit members of populations which are targeted for program services, particularly Alaska Native and other ethnic or racial populations and that we assure survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault have decision making roles within the organization.
Officers - The President of the Board shall preside over board meetings and have general charge of board business. The Vice President acts as the President in the absence of that officer and may have other duties assigned by the Board. The Treasurer has custody of the funds
of the Corporation and shall have oversight to assure that the agency keeps proper and accurate account of the funds. The Secretary issues notices of meetings, keeps minutes of the same and is responsible for maintaining corporate records.
Committees - The SAFE Board of Directors has four "standing" committees consisting of both board members and members at large, except for the Executive Committee that consists solely of officers of the Board. The Executive Committee is empowered to make management decisions during intervals between the meetings of the Board. The Finance/Fundraising Committee is responsible for raising money, oversight of budget and funding considerations, and for making recommendations to the full board regarding financial matters. The Program Committee is responsible for program policies and planning and makes recommendations to the board regarding these issues. The Membership Committee is responsible for conducting the annual membership drive, acting as a liaison between the Board and the membership, and other public relations duties that enhance and improve SAFE's image and service delivery within the community. SAFE also has a Village Advisory Board consisting of village-based staff and tribal/community leaders from villages within our service area. Their function is to advise and inform the full Board and SAFE program on how to most effectively support community based initiatives and interventions to prevent violence and protect victims.
Personal and Legal Responsibilities of Board Members
Board members will be required to attend monthly Board meetings and to serve on at least one standing committee. Board members will also be called on to undertake special projects as needed which may require additional meetings and a commitment of further personal time. In addition to volunteer services, Board members are expected to make a personal financial contribution to SAFE. This can be in the form of a cash donation and/or contribution of tangible goods or services such as wild or home preserved food, hand crafted items, building materials, furniture, etc. The amount of the contribution isn’t as important as being able to document a 100% financial contribution by the Board.
As with other non-profit organizations, SAFE Board members are legally responsible for the management and control of the organization including liability for the consequences of negligence and for actions taken. You should familiarize yourself with the legal obligations and responsibilities of Board members by reviewing the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Technical Assistance Manual found in the SAFE office.
Safe & Fear-Free Environment, Inc.
Post Office Box 94 | Dillingham, Alaska 99576
Office: 907-842-2320 | Fax: 907-842-2198
Crisis Line: 1-800-478-2316
Following is a brief outline of the purpose, duties and responsibilities of Board members presented for new members and for persons who have expressed interest in serving on the SAFE Board of Directors. More detailed information and training materials are available in the SAFE office.
Why a Board?
Most non-profit organizations are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The basic purpose of a Board is to insure that an organization is operated in the best interests of its "public" such as the membership, the general public or, in SAFE's case, the people we serve.
In order for an organization to function, they must have someone outside of themselves to hold up a mirror, someone who has no personal or financial stake in the organization itself but who does have an absolute commitment to the purposes for which the organization was created. That is what Boards are for.
A Board is responsible for the "big picture". They act as trustees of the agency on behalf of its donors and/or funding sources, ensure there are adequate funds for services to be provided, determine where the organization has been, where it is now, and where it should be going in the future, establish policies, other general guidelines and limits for agency operations, harmonize diverse interests, communicate with the public, hire and supervise management, initiate and conduct fund raising activities, develop and oversee an agency planning process and constantly evaluate the agencies performance against the standards they have set.
Being a Board Member for SAFE:
Being a Board member for SAFE means committing at least five to ten hours of your time each month including at least one regular Board meeting a month. It means being committed to the mission of SAFE to provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in a manner consistent with SAFE's philosophy:
"SAFE is committed to the right of a person to have power over their own life and to make informed choices about whether, when and how to seek or receive services in a manner that honors their dignity, sovereignty and sense of self-worth.”
Board members are also expected to make a personal financial contribution to SAFE. This can be in the form of a cash donation and/or contribution of tangible goods or services such as wild or home preserved food, hand-crafted items, building materials, furniture, etc. The amount of the contribution isn’t as significant as being able to document a 100% financial contribution by the Board. Most of our Board members also provide substantial volunteer hours in addition to regular meetings and Board functions, including service as crisis line listeners, event organizers, training and technical assistance.
SAFE provides training to new and continuing Board members in the duties and responsibilities of a Board, including information specific to SAFE. In addition, staff is willing and able to assist you in any way they can. Detailed information about Board duties and responsibilities and SAFE's operations are available in the SAFE office.
Legal Responsibilities of Board Members:
You should be aware that Board members are legally responsible for the management and control of SAFE. Under common law, you are required to act "as reasonably prudent persons and to adhere to the principle of good faith". What this means, in human terms, is that you are responsible for seeing that SAFE operates in the way it is supposed to and that we don't do anything a reasonable person would say is just plain dumb, mean spirited, or intentionally wrong. The legal term is "fiduciary" responsibility. As a Board member, you are a "fiduciary", a person with the legal obligation to act for another's benefit in a specific area. Three common violations of fiduciary duties (failing to act as a prudent person) include; 1) mismanagement, making clearly improper conclusions from available information or, in other words, deciding to do something just plain dumb, 2) non-management, not attending meetings, failing to do your duty, and 3) self-dealing, taking some action or failing to take action as a Board member that could result in some personal gain.
We Want You
SAFE is governed by a seven member Board, with staggered seats elected annually for a two year term. Board members must represent community concerns and interests and must be residents of the service area (Bristol Bay). In addition, SAFE is committed to recruiting Board members who are members of the populations that are targeted for program services, specifically Alaska Natives. We also have a duty to assure that survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault have decision making roles within the organization.
SAFE is an active and dynamic organization with solid community support that provides vital services to adults and children who are impacted by interpersonal violence. We need an active and committed Board to continue that legacy. If you have the time and the commitment, we will provide you with the tools you need to do a good job as a Board member. Please consider joining us.
To apply please send a letter of interest to Director@SafeBristolBay.org