The NDSC Board is composed of 23 members from across the country, three of whom are self-advocates and two from the Partnership Alliance. We hold two face-to-face meetings each year, one on a weekend in the midwinter and one on Thursday before the convention opens. Typically the mid-winter meeting is held in the upcoming convention city and hotel to familiarize the Board with the locale ahead of time.
We have a long tradition that board members assume all the costs of their own travel, though in recent years the organization has assisted in a few instances for board members whose financial situation is such that they could not participate otherwise. Our goal is to have a board that is diverse ethnically, culturally, and economically. We have not wanted the expectation of covering one’s own travel to eliminate qualified candidates.
In addition to attending the board meetings, each board member is expected to serve on one or more committees and/or strategic teams who meet by conference call periodically, most often, but not always, during daytime hours. The committees and teams are very active; some meet monthly, others, such as the convention committee, meet more often. Our strategic plan is very dynamic and is being actualized. In our face-to-face meetings we devote a 4-6-hour block of time to strategic planning. During the times the Board of Directors does not meet face-to-face, the Executive Committee (eight persons) meets monthly by conference call with the Executive Director.
The terms are three years and individuals can serve three consecutive terms (total of nine years), though our self-advocate board members serve only one 3-year term. Board members are elected by the membership annually at the general membership meeting, which occurs during the convention. Board members then elect the officers for the ensuing year. Officers serve one year terms, up to a total of 3 years in any office.
Other expectations of board members are that each person makes an annual gift to the NDSC according to family means. It is especially critical that a non-profit be able to state to its membership and potential corporate funders or foundations that 100% of the Board supports the organization financially; any amount of money will satisfy this requirement. In addition, each Board member pays the registration fee to attend our annual convention.
Our organization is on solid financial footing, and you will find our most recent annual reports on our website here.
Summary of Expectations:
- Attend two Board meetings annually, one of which is just before the convention and one in the mid-winter
- Support the NDSC financially, so we have 100% financial support from the Board (size of gift is not important)
- Serve on a committee or strategic team to share one’s expertise as appropriate (meetings by conference call)
- Pay registration fee for convention
- Keep dues current and be actively committed to the overall mission of the NDSC
Ours is a very collegial group and is a working board. We are not just policy makers, so there is an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome.