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MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SIGMA DELTA CHI FOUNDATION
APRIL 17, 2011
MEETING CALLED TO ORDER
With President Steve Geimann presiding, the meeting of the board of directors of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation was called to order at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 17 at SPJ Headquarters in Indianapolis, IN.
In addition to Geimann, the following board members were present: Vice-President Robert Leger; Secretary Irwin Gratz; Treasurer Howard Dubin; Directors Dave Aeikens, Lauren Bartlett, Fred Brown, Jodi Cleesattle, Al Cross, Brian Eckert, John Ensslin, Jay Evensen, Todd Gillman (via Skype), Liz Hansen, Sally Lehrman, Hagit Limor, Darcie Lunsford, Dori Maynard, Mac McKerral, Dana Neuts, Sue Porter, Kevin Smith and Amanda Theisen.
Staff members present included Executive Director Joe Skeel, Assistant Executive Director Chris Vachon, Director of Development Amy Posavac, Director of Communications Scott Leadingham and Communications Coordinator Andrew Scott.
Dubin reports on some general numbers regarding SDXs investments: $8 million in the Pulliam General Fund. Half of our investments are in Vanguard Funds, and the other half is invested in 206 different stocks, with another $800,000 in bond funds.
Joe Skeel discussed a change in the budgeting process, which includes involving the Finance Committee early in the process. Because of this, the budget creation season has moved up to now begin in December. The Finance Committee met in March and approved the budget and set the spending limit for the Grants and Awards Committee (4.5%).
Jake Koenig reports on numbers as of March 31: Net assets: $11.7 million, compared to $10.5 million last year, and $7.85 million the previous year. Also as a comparison, SDXs assets were $13 million in March 2007.
Revenue is made up of the annual fund, rolling average, cash interest and dividends.
Expenses are salaries, programs such as the Pulliam Editorial award, shared facility and operational expenses.
Weve seen a $5,000 drop in utilities per year due to the efficiency of our new boiler, but most other expenses are stagnant. A new expense this year, however, is legal fees. SDX now pays 20 percent ($11,000) annually for our fees at Baker Hostetler.
Property taxes ($12,500) were budgeted, but weve received notice that were exempt as in past years.
The board discussed SDXs investment policy, with regards to the restrictions on investing in International Fixed Income Securities. A motion was made by Dubin, with a second by Gratz to lift that restriction and allow SDX to invest in international securities. Further discussion was tabled until copies of the investment policy were provided (see Discussion Items on page 4 of these minutes).
The value of our real estate is carried at cost, $450,000.
Upon proper motion and second by Limor and Lunsford, respectively, the board passed the budget.
It was requested that the minutes from the October 4, 2010 meeting minutes be corrected to include Irwin Gratz as being present.
Upon proper motion and second by Gratz and Brown, respectively, the board approved the amended minutes of the October 4, 2010 meeting.
SPJ PRESIDENTS REPORT
Limor announced that President-Elect Darcie Lunsford will be unable to serve as SPJ president due to a job change, which takes her out of the journalism field. This will be the first time SPJ has had elections for all three officer positions.
Limor also reports that shes appointed Al Cross to head up the Government Relations Committee, and Bill Oates has stepped up to be the interim Region 3 Director for the remainder of this year.
The Black Hole Award was awarded to Utah, recognizing the states recently passed bill restricting access to government records. Its to be noted that Utah pulled back on this bill merely three weeks after the award was given.
Al Cross reports that the Government Relations Committee will discuss public notices.
GRANTS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE REPORT
Committee Chair Robert Leger reports that the committee is recommending that SDX fund all of SPJs grant requests. Of note, all requests regarding professional training were lumped into one training grant for more flexibility. It was mentioned that there is an expectation that a volunteer leader be included in any changes to spending regarding training issues.
The Grants and Awards Committee recommends that SDX fund the following projects:
SPJ Training Place..........................................$198,754
SPJ 2011 National Convention............................$79,426
SPJ Mark of Excellence awards staffing.................$27,201
SPJ Chapter Programming grants.........................$9,619
SPJ Diversity Committee, fellows program .............$8,300 (for 2012 Convention)
National Freedom of Information Coalition..............$10,000
Student Press Law Center...................................$7,800
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press...........$13,900
Total grants awarded........................................$355,000
Upon proper motion and second by Leger and Lunsford, respectively, the board approved the recommendations made by the Grants and Awards committee.
Skeel thanks Sue Porter for recommending funding from Scripps Howard Foundation, which provided for SPJs new library.
Skeel reports that SPJs focus is currently on social media work: Facebook, twitter, blog-talk radio. Were working hard to keep SPJ relevant and on the cutting edge.
Limor notes that shes experienced a huge uptick in media requests for interviews, while Smith mentions that he receives 15 emails a day from Google Alerts with SPJ in the news.
With regards to annual giving to SDX, Skeel asks that all board members participate. Outside organizations will look to our Annual Report to be sure our board members are supporting our work.
Skeel reports that SPJ is not requesting funding from SDX for www.journalismtraining.org this year.
Dubin notes that The Chicago Headline Club has received a $40,000 grant from the McCormick Foundation for an access survey.
Skeel concludes his report with news that Google has agreed to sponsor our Convention again this year. Google has a large diversity initiative.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENTS REPORT
Posavac followed up Skeels comments regarding annual giving by board members, and encourages them to give each year. Shell offer personal reminders as year-end draws closer.
Handwritten appeals and personal thank you calls are proving to be our best stewardship programs. Our total number of donors is comparable to this time last year, and is remaining steady even though our number of total SPJ members is down 19 percent from three years ago.
Posavac reports that a calling campaign begins April 25, on the heels of a handwritten mailing that dropped in the mail on April 15.
This year theres been a significant push to raise awareness for SDXs 1909 Society, including a page on SPJs website, a blog piece set to post on April 22, and articles and advertisements for it being published in SPJs weekly Leads newsletter.
A suggestion was made to increase our push for matching gifts by adding check boxes to our reply slip such as Please earmark my donation for education. These types of gifts are what companies such as Scripps Howard prefer to match.
The subject of international fixed incomes was raised, after copies of the investment policy were handed out. It was suggested that adjustments to the language be based on international ratings. After further discussion, it was agreed that a vote on the motion be deferred until we do some further investigation on the possibilities in investing in such funds.
The fourth edition of SPJs ethics book has been not only published, but has sold out at regional conferences. Royalties from the book come to SDX and are deposited into the ethics fund.
Upon proper motion and second by Dubin and Leger, respectively, the board approved (with Brown abstaining from the vote) reimbursement of expenses and an honorarium for Fred Brown for his work on the ethics book.
Terms of Service
Gratz reported on board terms of service, noting that seven members have terms expiring in the fall. Hes been tasked with preparing a slate for our next meeting.
Rental Space at Headquarters
Skeel reports that hes contacted a leasing agent regarding the possibility of renting out the space on the upper level of SPJs Headquarters building. It is noted that the building is ADA compliant. The income from renting the space will be shared evenly between SPJ and SDX.
Upon proper motion and second by McKerral and Aeikens, respectively, the board formally recognized Darcie Lunsford for her service and dedication to SPJ.
Vachon reports that SPJ has already secured $50,000 in sponsorship money, meeting the budget target. Google, in fact, doubled their support, citing the 2010 as a great experience and the amount of contact they received from our members.
CNN (through RTDNA) will be sponsoring the Opening Night Reception.
A Hurricane Katrina related tour is in the works, and will be moderated by a local journalist.
Attendance at the Mark of Excellence luncheon as declined in past years, therefore a dessert reception will be offered this year instead.
The 2012 Convention will be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and SPJ will again be partnering with RTDNA. There are no plans past 2012 yet, due to the RTDNA partnership.
Gillman reported that the projects committee has had a conference call, and a possible partnership with NewsTrust was a main discussion on that call.
NEW BUSINESS/OLD BUSINESS
Leger reports that an author for a history book is still being sought.
Upon proper motion and second by Limor and Gratz, respectively, the board adjourned the meeting at 11:00 a.m.