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DignityUSA Board of Directors Meeting Summary

DignityUSA’s Board of Directors met July 25-27, 2008, in Denver at the Hampton Inn & Suites Denver-Downtown.

The weekend started early for most of the board who traveled to Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday, July 25th. DignityUSA President Mark Matson wanted board members to see some of what makes his home state a natural wonder. Those who went into the mountains did see God’s majesty — rock formations, varying weather, unique flora and brave bicyclists who made it up those peaks.

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 p.m. Friday the 25th. Mark Matson welcomed all to his hometown and introduced Kathy Trummer, Dignity/Denver President, who welcomed us. Those gathered celebrated achievements whether of national caliber like a major donation, a chapter milestone or a personal accomplishment. It was truly amazing to hear all the accomplishments throughout the country since we last met in Boston in April 2008! Mark thanked board members for coming together for the meeting using their own money and time away from work, partners and loved ones to do the work of DignityUSA.

With a quorum present, business began by approving the agenda and accepting the minutes as amended, including teleconference and electronic votes since the April 2008 meeting. Mario Torrigino’s resignation from the board was accepted and became effective at the start of the meeting. The board accepted the Elections Committee report for new directors — Mark Clark, Leo Egashira, Honour Maddock and Terry Mischel — and thanks all who volunteered to serve.

The board moved to approve the audited financial statements and the audit report as presented. An update was given on the criminal investigation on 2006 – 2007 office discrepancies. Our insurance company has reimbursed us for our claim. Internal controls are now in place to prevent such discrepancies.

The board was pleased to hear that fundraising was up for the year. Many of our members have given generously to support an executive director and/or became a monthly donor. Many have responded by renewing with at least $50 for membership.

New members are receiving a new member packet. Renewal letters are being sent to members, as well as letters to lapsed members to inviting them to rejoin. The Fundraising Committee is looking at other ways to increase the number of donors during our 40th anniversary year.

In his Communications Committee Report, Leo Egashira told the board that more people are needed to help with disseminating our message. Chapter reporters are needed for local stories, as well as writers for national stories. The theme of the 3rd Quarter QV: Quarterly Voice will be Marriage Equality. Bill Welch and Leo Egashira spend many hours gathering information; writing, editing and formatting articles. They are looking for more help in the process.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, our Executive Director, reported improved operational efficiencies since her return as Executive Director effective January 1, 2008. Peggy Burns, Operations Manager, will assume day-to-day responsibility of the member database.

Mark Matson updated the board on his DignityUSA travels since our April meeting. He reported on visits to Detroit, Chicago, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Seattle and New York chapters — either at a liturgy or a special gathering — to listen to DignityUSA members.

Saturday morning, the board expressed its confidence in Marianne’s six-months’ job performance including her work with the conference, “Many Stories, One Voice: The North American Convocation of Pro-LGBT Christians” (September 4 –7, 2008); participating in the response to the interdiction of Sr. Louise Sears (St. Louis Diocese); involvement in Marriage Equality ballot issues, especially in California and Florida; and a continuing relationship with the Arcus Foundation through a national LGBT leadership meeting.

The board accepted a proposal by Marianne that would improve the membership database for leaders, directors and DignityUSA staff. The Fundraising Committee will strategize how to raise additional funds needed to implement the proposal.

Shari Miller, Dignity/Denver’s Vice President, gave a presentation on transgender issues which included a tape-recorded sermon and frank conversation. A resource Shari recommended about transgender issues can be found at http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/opening_the_door. As a result of the conversation, the board moved that DignityUSA celebrate the gifts of our transgender brothers and sisters by acknowledging “Transgender Day of Remembrance” in November in partnership with Dignity/Denver throughout all of our DignityUSA chapters and families. The 2009 Convention is looking to include transgender issues in its planning.

Before our morning break, Mark’s brother, Ray, spoke to the group and remarked how lucky we are to have Mark as our leader!

Following the break, the board discussed many ideas and some budgetary concerns surrounding the 2009 San Francisco Convention with Convention Co-chair, Paul Riofski.

The board ratified a resolution honoring and thanking Mario Torrigino for his dedicated service to the board and his instrumental role in bringing the 2009 Convention to San Francisco.

After lunch, the board discussed the 2011 Convention (Washington, DC) and what it should look like based on the meeting Mark and Marianne had with the Washington, DC Convention Committee. The 2011 Committee will connect with the 2009 Committee for advice and ideas.

The board reviewed the progress on its strategic planning document and made desired changes. Ramon Rodriguez gave a Marketing Committee report on our next steps. He presented three marketing proposals which included several options in each.

After discussing marketing strategies of the organization, the board recessed its business for the day. Those gathered were transported to a favorite Dignity/Denver location for a cocktail hour and dinner with local Dignity members.

After a liturgy early Sunday morning, the board continued its business including thanking Joe Gallagher and Rita Wagner for their service as board members; expressing gratitude to Dignity/Denver and its members for their hospitality, donated time and transportation to the mountains and dinner, preparation of a feast, and wisdom contributed during the board meeting.

The board will meet in Chicago October 24-26, 2008, for its next in-person meeting. Before then, it will conduct two conference calls.

The board adjourned at 11:59 a.m. Sunday, July 27, 2008.