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11/18/09: Exec. Committee
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1/19/08: Exec. Committee
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12/7/05: Exec. Committee

9/12/04: SPJ Board
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10/6/99: SPJ Board
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Home > About SPJ > Documentation > Meeting Minutes

MAY 20, 2007

With President Steve Geimann presiding, the meeting of the board of directors of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation was called to order at 8:48 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, 2007, at the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center in Indianapolis.

In addition to President Geimann, the following board members were present: Secretary Irwin Gratz; Treasurer Howard Dubin; Directors Dave Aeikens, Ann Augherton, Fred Brown, Clint Brewer, David Carlson, Al Cross, Todd Gillman, Alex Jones, Al Leeds, Robert Leger, Mead Loop, Mac McKerral, and Christine Tatum. Staff members present included Executive Director Terrence G. Harper; Associate Executive Directors Julie Grimes and Chris Vachon; Editor Joe Skeel; and Controller Jake Koenig.

Geimann noted that he had accepted with regret the recent resignation of Vice President Betsy Ashton.

Loop and Aeikens nominated Mac McKerral to fill the position of vice president until the fall elections. Dubin and Aeikens nominated Leger.

Upon proper motion and second by Carlson and Gillman, respectively, the board voted to close nominations.

A vote by secret ballot was taken and Leger was elected to serve as vice president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

Upon proper motion and second by Gratz and Aeikens, respectively, the board approved the minutes of the August 24, 2006, board of directors meeting.

Upon proper motion and second by Gratz and Leger, respectively, the board approved the minutes of the November 8, 2006, executive committee meeting.

Geimann presented an oral report about his recent contacts with Foundation donors. He also reported on the presentation of the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writers during the National Conference of Editorial Writers convention in Pittsburgh. The fellowship was awarded to Karin Klein of the L.A. Times.

Geimann reminded board members to be thinking about board nominations and share ideas for potential board members with McKerral, who is overseeing the nominations process, by July 1.

Tatum presented an oral report. She shared with the group these SPJ highlights: the Society is preparing a strategic plan to guide the organization in the coming years; national committees have been reorganized and are working toward new goals this year; the organization continues to push for a federal shield law for journalists and leaders will be lobbying lawmakers June 13-14 in Washington, D.C.; a second lobbying trip will take place in conjunction with the Sigma Delta Chi Awards Banquet in July in D.C.; and Tatum encouraged board members to share their “Why I Belong” stories for use at

Jones suggested that now is the most important time for professional journalists to come together in support of the profession. He urged SPJ to examine whether it had necessary resources and strategy to bring professionals into the organization.

Harper presented an oral report. He noted that SPJ has a communications person on staff that will be focusing on external communications efforts for the organization. Harper reported that the Foundation is in good financial shape and encouraged board members to review the regular financial statements provided to them.

Other items of note:
— News veterans and new journalists were appreciative of the personalized training they received through “Training on the Go,” the SPJ newsroom training initiative funded by the Foundation.
— The Foundation will be inviting a select group of guests to attend the Sigma Delta Chi Awards Banquet in D.C. in July. Board members should share names of those who should be introduced to the organization to Julie Grimes.
— SPJ will soon be launching a Legal Advocacy Network that will include First Amendment attorneys and others who support SPJ’s work on behalf of openness. Please share potential contacts in this area with Tatum.

Grimes referred to her written report, which was available in the board packets. She noted that the Challenge Grant for Journalism III was coming to a close, and there is still time for board members to participate.

Upon proper motion and second by Leger and Aeikens, respectively, the board transferred $20,000 from the Pulliam Editorial Fund to the Pulliam General Fund and awarded the following grants:

— SPJ: SPJ Training Programs, $75,000 from the Pulliam General Fund
— SPJ: Ethics in Journalism Week, $22,720 from the Pulliam General Fund
— SPJ: 2007 National Convention Education, $48,150 total with $19,000 from the Professional Development Fund and $29,150 from the Pulliam General Fund
— SPJ: Mark of Excellence Awards Staff, $13,000 from the Pulliam General Fund
— Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: Open Meetings and Records Study, $15,000 from the FOI Fund
— SPJ: 2008 Spring Conferences, $6,000 from the Pulliam General Fund
— SPJ: Ethnic/Community Media Training, $17,550 from the Pulliam General Fund (one year grant)
— SPJ: Citizen Journalism Academy, $23,200 from the Pulliam General Fund
— National Freedom of Information Coalition: 2008 Annual Conference, $7,500 from the FOI Fund
— Indiana University: The American Journalist Survey, $10,000 from the Pulliam General Fund
— Headline Club: Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists, $10,000 from the Pulliam General Fund
— South Florida SPJ Pro Chapter: First Amendment Free Food Festival, $2,000 from the Pulliam General Fund

Upon proper motion and second by Gratz and Carlson, respectively, the board approved a $14,430 one-year grant to SPJ for its Diversity Outreach Project. Leger and Loop abstained.

Grant approved totaled $264,550.

The group discussed the uses of the Pulliam Editorial Fund. The fund will be reviewed to determine the amount needed to support the activities of the editorial fellowship.

Board members discussed a survey of members. This would examine members’ needs and interests; expectations of SPJ; and the importance of advocacy, lobbying and solidarity issues of SPJ. A survey also should be directed to nonmembers. Both should be created and implemented by professionals. It should reflect motivations for joining, expectations and demographics of respondents.

Upon proper motion and second by Brown and Aeikens, respectively, the board authorized the Executive Committee to proceed with plans for the survey, with a budget of $10,000.

Upon proper motion and second by Leger and Loop, respectively, the board approved the following specified gifts:
— A $50,000 grant to SPJ (specified gift from the Scripps Howard Foundation) for the 2007 Ted Scripps Leadership Institute of the Society of Professional Journalists.
— A grant of up to $3,000 to Marion Street Press (specified gift from the Howard and Ursula Dubin Foundation) for publication of a book by former SPJ President Jean Otto.
— A grant of $500 to SPJ Region 4 (specified gift from Joe Grimm) to support the SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference.

Upon proper motion and second by Carlson and Brown, respectively, the board approved the Fiscal Year 2008 Foundation Budget as presented.

Board members discussed the current arrangement for the editorial fellowship. Discussion topics included: marketing of the fellowship; the addition of information about the importance of editorial writing to; and awarding funds based on a budget with the potential for more than one fellow each year. Leger and Loop were instructed to evaluate the program and present any proposals for changes to the board at a future meeting.

Tatum updated the board on SPJ’s progress toward items outlined in the strategic communications plan for the ethics campaign. The ethics committee has been reorganized; a public blog is now in place; and SPJ’s ethics textbook is under revision.

Cross pointed out that it was time for the advertising portion of the campaign to get underway.

As plans move forward, these individuals will be involved: Brown (chair), Cross, McKerral, Gratz, Tatum (ex officio), and Andy Schotz, SPJ Ethics Committee chair (ex officio). Grimes will provide staff support.

Dubin recommended the Foundation continue its arrangement with a funds manager from Morgan Stanley. In addition, Dubin recommended the board establish a relationship with another fund manager in order to compare the two managers’ work.

Upon proper motion and second by Dubin and Brown, respectively, the board authorized transferring $1.2 million to a Schwab Private Client (i.e., managed) Account.

The new Schwab account will focus on international investments and will be compared to the performance of the Morgan Stanley managed account.

Staff should examine the Foundation’s investments in the next month to ensure they remain in accordance with the Foundation’s 70/30 equity to fixed income allocation ratio.

Upon proper motion and second by Aeikens and Carlson, respectively, the board voted to add Leeds as an additional authorized person to the Foundation’s accounts.

Board members discussed a written advisory on the expectations of Foundation board members. Proposed language was:

As a member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors, you agree to commit to at least one of the following:
— Commit to regularly attend the two Foundation board meetings each year;
— Be willing to make a financial commitment to contribute or raise at least $500 per year;
— Agree to accept committee assignments and regularly participate in E-mail discussions and conference calls.

There being no further business to come before the board of directors, Geimann declared the meeting adjourned at 11:36 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, 2007.

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