Report on October 6-8, 2006, National Board Meeting

The DIGNITYUSA Board of Directors met in Washington, DC the weekend of October 6-8, 2006. The weekend began with an all day orientation for new directors Joe Gallagher, Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, Mario Torrigino, and Tom Yates co-led by Mark Matson and Lewis Tanner. The Executive Committee also participated. They were joined in the evening by the rest of the board members.

The evening session began with a prayer led by Teri Myers and welcome and introductions led by President, Sam Sinnett.

After approving the agenda and the July 2006 minutes, the directors shared events to be celebrated since our last meeting. Some of these celebrations are:

  • Financially finished the year in the black and the 2007 fiscal year budget is completed and approved.
  • Chapters working to raise money for the national office: Dayton chapter has organized a traveling dinner and expects to raise $1,500; New York had a party last month and raised over $4,200; Chicago did a special mailing and collected $1,000, Seattle has a party scheduled for Nov. 4, 2006.
  • Tom Yates organized a group of volunteers from the Dignity/Washington chapter to help with the mailing from the national office saving time and money.
  • Saint of 9-11 movie is out nationally and features DIGNITYUSA and Dignity/New York prominently. The movie production is also coming out on DVD.
  • Bill Welch has agreed to be the editor of the Quarterly Voice, as well as the Dateline.
  • The Defenders had a successful meeting in Chicago and will be celebrating their 25th anniversary at the DignityUSA 2007 Biennial Convention in Austin, TX next summer.

Many formerly lapsed members were contacted by directors and some are rejoining and donating. The directors broke into groups to discuss the questions:

  • What is our core mission?
  • What are the current challenges facing DignityUSA today.

The core mission focused on being the voice for GLBT people of faith from a Catholic perspective and challenging the Church when it speaks out against GLBT people.

Many challenges facing DignityUSA were mentioned. The top three by order of priority are:

  • declining revenue,
  • the need of a more effective way to be the voice for GLBT Catholics, and
  • burnout of talented persons.

On Saturday the directors began with a prayer led by Mark Matson in which we first named all those members who have been an inspiration to us. The Spirit was then called upon to bring their collective wisdom and strength to the board and the deliberations of the weekend.

The work on Saturday centered on the three aforementioned challenges and the core issue to each. The board considered the questions:

  • In the current state of the Church, what are we most effective in changing that no one else is in position to do?
  • How are we different from any other organization?
  • How do we proclaim the message?
  • Why is it of value to be in DignityUSA?
  • How do we turn members into investors in DignityUSA?
  • How do we develop the message that will attract investors, package the message so investors will consider it, and deliver the message to the right investors?


  • From these discussions the board created a long list of “to do” items. These were prioritized and assigned to committees.

Following other discussion, the board of directors accepted the resignation of Executive Director, Debbie Weill.

During the July 2006 board meeting, an ad hoc committee was created to look into the feasibility of moving the national office to reduce costs. The committee gave a report of their findings. Many options were looked into and discussed. The committee recommended that we move to the Dignity Center, the building owned by Dignity/Washington. It has the space needed and the rent offered would decrease DignityUSA expenses by about $1,000 a month. A motion on Sunday was passed unanimously to make this move.

Sunday morning began with liturgy led by Peggy Burns and Marty Grochala. The directors were each assigned to committees and then the committees looked at the 5-year strategic plan created last year and the “to do” list created on Saturday to incorporate activities and get started in creating their strategic plans for this year.

A copy of the minutes can be obtained by contacting
A copy of the financial report can be obtained by contacting