Governance and Leadership
The Community Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees, with the number currently set by Board resolution at 7. The trustees serve indefinite terms after being elected by a two-thirds vote of the existing Board. At the time of their election, they must be residents of Oak Park.
The Board of Trustees meets on the second Tuesday of February, May, August, and November to establish policies, approve grants, review the operation of activity committees, and plan events (such as the candidates’ forum for local elections). At its February meeting, the Board elects a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer for the year from among the trustees.
The Board may be expanded to 15 members without amending the Community Foundation’s bylaws. We entertain applications from Oak Park residents to be considered for appointment as new trustees. Since we operate without any paid staff, trustees are expected to participate in hands-on administration of the Foundation and not merely in our quarterly meetings. Interested individuals should review the Trustee Job Description and then submit a letter to the Foundation, requesting consideration for appointment and summarizing past community and civic service.
Besides doing a self-evaluation based on the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, the Board of Trustees also adopted the Donor Bill of Rights.
At its meeting on 11 August 2004, the Board of Trustees concluded a self-evaluation that began in 2003. This self-evaluation was based on National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations published by the Council on Foundations. First, the Board determined with which standards the Community Foundation complies fully. Next, the Board reviewed those standards with which the Foundation does not comply to determine if corrective action is required or if non-compliance is appropriate. Finally, the Board reviewed those standards with which the Foundation only complies partially, again to determine if corrective action is required or if partial compliance is appropriate. Using a chart format a self-evaluation report was prepared. In August 2014 a new self-evaluation report was prepared.
Activity committees operate semi-autonomously, each with its own bylaws (approved by the Board of Trustees), officers, membership, and finances (supervised by the Community Foundation’s treasurer). At least twice each year, each activity committee is required to report on its programs and events to the Board. Annually, the Foundation’s treasurer reviews the financial records of all activity committees and prepares consolidated reports to the Board and to various government agencies as required by law.
The Community Foundation’s charter gives the Board of Trustees the authority to define classes of members and to establish their powers and obligations. The original bylaws provided for three classes of members: regular, business, and lifetime. All classes combined elected trustees for staggered two-year terms.
Because of the costs and efforts required to maintain membership records and solicit renewals and also because of the costs and efforts for conducting elections by mail when a quorum of members could not be obtained for annual meetings, the members voted in favor of amending the bylaws in 1990. The amendments eliminated voting members and made the Board of Trustees self-perpetuating.
In recognition of the charter provision, the Board of Trustees enacted CFFOP Products Page a policy defining the following classes of members:
Voting members: This class consists entirely of the trustees.
Activity members: This class consists of the members of the Community Foundation’s activity committees.
Associate members: This class consists of the members of the Foundation’s administrative committees (e.g.: the Grants Committee).
There are no specific rights or obligations granted to any class of members. While the Community Foundation levies no dues on any class of members, individual activity committees might levy dues on their own activity members.
Both the Community Foundation and its activity committees operate entirely through unpaid volunteers and without any paid staff. The greatest administrative effort is expended by over 100 volunteers involved in the various activity committees. The administration of the overall Foundation is handled by the Foundation’s four officers along with efforts from the other members of the Board of Trustees. Of course, the result is an operation with very little overhead, allowing the Foundation to devote almost all resources to support of the community and of our donors’ goals.
Because of our dependence on volunteers and our lack of an office (let alone an office staff), the Community Foundation is unable respond to requests for urgent or prompt action. Our Board of Trustees meets only quarterly. Many of our activity committees do not meet during the summer. Thus, actions requiring an authorizing vote may be delayed.
The Community Foundation is incorporated in California as a public-benefit, non-profit corporation. As such, it is governed in accord with the California Corporations Code, its articles of incorporation (charter), and its bylaws. Acting under those bylaws, the Board of Trustees has enacted various policies to guide the conduct of the Foundation’s operations between meetings.