5501 Seminary Road, Apt. 214
Falls Church, VA 22041-3902
1. Introduce yourself and talk about your experience within ACB and other organizations.
I have had an extensive involvement in ACB at the local level through my association with the Old Dominion Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (ODCBVI), and the Northern Virginia Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (NOVA), having served as president, (ODCBVI only), secretary, treasurer, and board member in these organizations during the past thirty years. I have also had my finger on the pulse of ACB‘s national activities over the past three decades and have been privileged to have cultivated close relationships with many of ACB‘s national leaders. Through ACB radio, I have closely monitored national convention proceedings for the past twelve years. We in ACB take justifiable pride in the fact that we are a “grass roots” organization, and I have always firmly held the conviction that it is imperative for ACB to have strong, vibrant, active, and engaged affiliates working effectively at the local level to protect the rights and promote the interests of blind and visually impaired persons. During my tenure in the above-referenced positions, I have never shied away from doing the “nuts and bolts” grunt work that is so critically important to the successful operation of any organization, and I pledge to bring this strong work ethic and dedication to mission to my service on the ACB board should I be given the distinct honor of being elected to it.
I have also served on the board of Services for the Visually Impaired, (SVI), a local nonprofit agency, and have therefore been privileged to have had a roll in the delivery of critically needed services to blind and visually impaired persons at the community level.
I therefore consider myself to have the experience, strengths, knowledge, skills, and talents necessary to make valuable contributions to the critical work of the American Council of the Blind.
2. If you could change one thing about ACB, what would it be and why?
In my estimation, fundraising is the main ACB activity requiring immediate attention. Simply put, I believe it is imperative that we adopt a more proactive and more diversified approach to this critical aspect of ACB operations. Instating the above, I in no way mean to disparage the conscientious efforts of the ACB board and the resource development committee (RDC) in addressing the need for increased revenue, but even in the face of such efforts, my review of ACB’s financial statements reveals that our current financial health is only due to the recent receipt of a very substantial bequest.
Any worthwhile exploration or discussion of this critical challenge far transcends that which can be accomplished in a three hundred word document. Therefore, please appreciate that what follows is a very condensed summary of my ideas on this complex problem.
1. Significantly broaden the scope of ACB Enterprises and Services operations beyond thrift stores;
2. Initiate a bequest solicitation program in cooperation with state and special interest affiliates;
3. Cultivate long-term relationships with foundations and other philanthropic entities sympathetic to, and/or supportive of, our activities and programs.
As will be stressed in my campaign, ACB is a “grass roots” organization, and that fact does have ramifications in the area of fundraising. I certainly understand that many blind persons are economically disadvantaged, and that, given our concentration on blindness concerns, we have perhaps developed a somewhat insular organizational culture, but I consider it to be imperative that each ACB member take greater direct personal responsibility, to the extent possible, for the financial health of ACB, if not by making an individual contribution, then by helping with a fundraiser, contacting a local philanthropic organization, or similar action. When fundraising is regarded as everyone’s responsibility, it then becomes a communal responsibility as it properly should be in a grass roots organization.
3. List three issues you plan to work on should you be elected and how you plan to effect change in those three areas.
As an ACB board member, I would work on the following items: fundraising, membership, and affiliate relations. For a discussion of my ideas and perspectives on fundraising, please see my response to question 2.
The two most valuable resources of any organization are its treasury and its people, or members in the context of this discussion. The power of an active, engaged, and energized membership base cannot be overestimated. However, the cultivation of such a base takes both time and effort, and, again in the context of a grass roots organization, such efforts tend to be entrusted to persons at the local level. Having served on the ACB membership committee for the past year, I have first-hand knowledge of this dynamic and am directly acquainted with several strategies we have explored for assisting affiliates with their membership recruitment / development initiatives.
Again, in the face of a 300 word constraint, I will limit myself to the following observations. First, the blindness population will become even more skewed toward the elderly in the future and we hence need to be particularly attuned to their struggles in accepting and living with visual impairment as we seek to incorporate them into our membership. Second, younger members are truly the future of this organization and, beyond merely recruiting them as members, we need to be assiduously encouraging and mentoring them at every opportunity as we develop the next cadre of ACB leaders.
Lastly, I would seek to strengthen the relationship between ACB and its affiliates. In the past, ACB recognized the need for such attention by allocating one fulltime staff position for such purpose. Given that this is not presently possible, we should now undertake meaningful volunteer initiatives to forge stronger relationships between ACB’s national leadership and our state and special interest affiliates, which are truly the very heart and soul of our organization.
For my complete resumé and a more detailed statement of my qualifications, please visit:
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Candidates for 2012 ACB Board of Directors and Board of Publications
- Berl Colley for ACB Board of Directors
- Dan Spoone for ACB Board of Directors
- Doug Powell for ACB Board of Directors
- John McCann for ACB Board of Directors
- Ken Stewart for ACB Board of Directors
- Michael Garrett for ACB Board of Directors
- Sara Conrad for ACB Board of Directors
- Charles Hodge for ACB Board of Publications
- Denise Colley for ACB Board of Publications
- Marcia Dresser for ACB Board of Publications
- Thomas Mitchell for ACB Board of Publications