Black Alumni Constituent Society Board of Directors Meeting
November 8, 2013
Members Present: Phil Anderson, Mike Chisley, Jarod Crowley, Pam
Morris, Carl Radford, Sue Taylor, and Laura Waldron. Guest: Julie Stroh.
Present via phone: Fred Cox, Teresa Jeter, and Allen
Call to Order
President Pam Morris called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m. She welcomed Julie
Stroh, associate vice president, alumni programs, who stressed the importance of leadership development and of
constituent society building and recruitment. She emphasized the importance of
active membership, particularly when filling board vacancies. Stroh pointed out that the Strategic Plan has
a goal of 15% alumni undergraduate giving by 2017. The target for FY14 is 12% and we are
currently at 11.5%. Donor retention, as well as acquisition, is key. Stroh also
noted that the Alumni Council is developing its first strategic plan since
2001. Terry King facilitated a workshop to that end and he will do another about
leadership and committee development.
Carl Radford said he was shocked to read that Gora is
leaving and would like to send best regards to
the president from the board. Morris agreed and Stroh noted that President Gora
would appreciate the gesture. The board will discuss this opportunity at the January meeting.
Allen Williams asked for guidance on unique or creative ways to be more proactive or
successful in attempts to raise BACS scholarship funds. Stroh said
the key is a strong leadership team focused on fundraising. When the board has
a consistent record of annual giving – e.g., this is what we’re doing, we invite you
to do it too – it encourages others to give. She noted that at Miami, personal
outreach from leadership was part of the process. She added that having a cause supported by
all also helps – the society has this with two scholarships and an operating/awards
Phil Anderson asked if a directory purchase will count as a
Ball State donation. Stroh stated that a royalty comes back to the university
as a gift. Gifts and advertising revenue will come back to the Alumni Association
for programs - similarly to license plate (Legacy Scholarships – 100% funded by
license plate fees).
The minutes from the June 8, 2013 meeting were unanimously
approved after Radford’s move for acceptance and Jarod Crowley’s second.
Mike Chisley reported on September 7, 2013 Alumni Council meeting. He
noted that a Homecoming representative spoke to the council about Homecoming
festivities. John Fallon, associate vice
president for economic development and community engagement spoke about the university's push for economic and community development and
noted that there is a strong focus on outreach and community involvement. He mentioned that Ball State needs to increase the number of faculty who live in Muncie and will be more involved with community.
Radford agreed that community involvement is key, and asked if Ball State faculty were involved in recent discussions regarding the school
transportation referendum. He added concerns
about Ball State’s involvement with the charter school system and questioned where the forum to raise these concerns was. Radford noted the pressure on organizations to raise money, and asked how groups can question the barriers
up to that ability? Is university senate the appropriate venue? Morris noted that many of the other alumni
societies may have a process as they are aligned with academic colleges.
Chisley suggested bringing issues up to Alumni Council.
Discussion about various audiences and communities inspired
Chisley to ask the board of directors to consider the following: what is the
value of the BACS to the university? Who determines this
value? Chisley believes the group should reinvent itself every 3-5 years and
not remain static. What was done in 1985 may not be applicable to 2015 and 2020
– that’s every organization, not just BACS. At the council meeting there were small group sessions and strategic planning. At that point, he noticed a strong need for cultural diversity, which can mean lot of
different things to individuals.
Morris suggested that the board should define
inclusion and cultural diversity as much broader than race/ethnicity and
espouse it to others, to make it a conversation with senior administrators on
campus. Morris added that people need to feel valued and well received to
remain on campus. Williams noted that in
regards to inclusion and cultural diversity, the BACS should be
present at more than black alumni/student activities. Members should have a
presence at a wide variety of university events. Campus participation and
visibility will increase the value of BACS. Morris asked Williams to work on a
broader list of university events that the membership can attend. She then tabled
the discussion due to time and said that discussion will be continued and on
the agenda for the next BACS meeting.
Chisley suggested that the BACS look at direction of council
and Ball State and legitimately look at how BACS can raise funds for the group
and the university, as well as develop an outreach program. He reminded the
board that they have talked about outreach to students for at least 20 years and
the board needs to be more proactive. Morris agreed and added that outreach
needs to begin with freshmen. Students should be cultivated early to help them
understand inclusion and philanthropy. Discussion on student
engagement was tabled until the January meeting due to time constraints.
Chisley closed by resigning as the Alumni Council
representative. He said that he had enjoyed the experience, but would like to
focus on raising funds for a grant/scholarship given in his name for the
Indianapolis Alliance of Black School Educators. He requested that the board
appoint an assertive voice to the council, one who understands the board’s
history. There was discussion that Tammy Butler Robinson had been selected as
the representative in the event Chisley stepped down. Chisley nominated Radford
in the event that Butler Robinson was no longer interested, but Radford did not
accept the nomination. Radford suggested
that the board’s history be captured in writing. Williams asked that it also be
included as part of new member orientation, along with information about
membership expectations. Morris refers to the commitment form and the
constitution as the two documents she will share with potential members in
order to gauge their interest.
Phil Anderson decided not to renew his term expiring on December 31. Everyone expressed thanks to Anderson. He has been a member of the alumni society for 15 years. Morris will plan a recognition for his contributions. Obie LeFlore also submitted his resignation. After much discussion, the following new members were separately
and unanimously approved for membership terms expiring in 2016: Dori Armstead,
’95 (BACS member from 2006-11); Nikkia Jones, ’11; Jason Riley, ’02; and Allen
Williams, ’73. Williams had been serving in an ex-officio capacity.
Morris noted that the society’s faculty rep, Dr. Payne,
retired on June 30. Charlene Alexander serves in Payne’s former position and
Morris will ask her to serve as faculty representative starting in January.
Morris will also ask director of the Multicultural Center, Ro-Anne Royer Engle,
to serve as ex-officio. Taylor noted
that any faculty can be invited to serve as an ex-officio member per the by-laws. Williams noted that Royer Engle wants to be
very proactive in connecting alumni with undergraduates and would be a great
Morris reminded the board that alumni society constituent groups are leaders
and role models and that board members should be the first to make gifts before
they ask others to invest in scholarships and the university. She noted that a $100
annual pledge is less than $10 a month. She
asked the board their thoughts on a minimum annual gift. Radford and Anderson both agreed that a
minimum expectation is beneficial.
Radford added that a $250 annual gift is only about $20 per month.
It was also noted that alumni status in Black Greek organizations is a much higher
There was much
discussion on the benefits of a $100 or $250 minimum, including the possibility of discouraging prospective board members, to limit donors who have more giving potential, and
the perception that this would be viewed as membership dues. Most agreed that $250 would be a fair minimum, and that gifts would be designated to any or all of the BACS
funds. Teresa Jeter asked what the time frame would be for the receipt of the
gift. She noted that the earlier in the year that monies came in, more could be
given in scholarships. Ultimately, the
board decided to give members a full calendar year to fill the minimum
commitment. It was noted that new members must have made a gift prior to
joining the board of directors. The motion for approval was made by Radford with a second from Anderson.
Prior to the vote, Chisley questioned the repercussions of not
fulfilling the minimum requirement, for one reason or another. Morris said she
will make phone calls to inactive members as she has done in the past. Radford
noted that if the gift was not met in the current year then membership should
not be renewed. Williams asked if other alumni societies were specifying a
minimum annual gift. If the university
is leaving gift amounts to the discretion of alumni, then the board should as
well. Taylor stated that Stroh has
suggested a minimum expectation, but there is not a plan in place to enforce it at this time. Radford’s motion on the floor requiring a minimum $250 gift
by the end of the calendar year was seconded by Phil. The motion carried unanimously.
Chisley voiced disappointment that so many from the board did not attend the August reunion. Williams
and Morris agreed, saying that it was possible some members did not understand
that attendance was a responsibility/requirement. Radford does not like setting low standards
and suggested that event participation be made an expectation to all,
particularly incoming members. Morris noted that the board has floundered with
setting expectations and follow through.
Black Student Experience
Williams noted that he is still working with John Straw in Bracken Library on
chronicling the black student experience. Straw is creating video transcripts
and digitizing photos, publications, etc. to move to more accessible technology.
The history department has begun taking on oral history portion – starting with Dr. Myland Brown at Homecoming weekend. Bob Coatie and Hollis Hughes will
be spoken to next. The university seems very interested and supportive of this
project. Williams asks the board to look through their personal files for photos,
documentation, etc. to be archived.
The meeting adjourned at 12:25 p.m. to work on the year-end fundraising mailer.
The next meeting will be held in the Alumni Center on January 25, 2014 at 10:00
Respectfully submitted, Laura Waldron
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