Every year new members join the Board of Trustees, starting in July. The process involves attending a board meeting, and a conversation with board members, as well as the executive director. Once nominations have been finalized, the congregation votes on the candidates prior to the community-wide meeting in May. Sometimes – as is the case now – a member leaves the board mid-term and we can fill the position immediately.
Board service is rewarding and a wonderful way to deepen your engagement in the Kehilla community. Here we would like to address some myths about board service. Please do not hesitate to come to a meeting or to call one of us with any questions or to learn more.
1) Myth: Being on the Board will be too time-consuming.
Truth: Board members attend Board meetings one evening a month, 2.5-3 hours in length. Board members also serve on at least one Board committee that usually meets once or twice a month. Sometimes you may be asked to serve on a temporary committee or to assist with a special project or event, e.g.: Spring fundraising event planning.
2) Myth: It’s too much responsibility to manage the daily operations of Kehilla.
Truth: Although the Board is legally and financially responsible for Kehilla’s well-being and ensures that the Executive Director (ED) manages all financial resources effectively and appropriately, it is the ED who manages Kehilla’s daily operations. In contrast, the Board’s responsibility is to periodically evaluate the effectiveness of programmatic efforts to achieve Kehilla’s mission. We provide oversight of the ED by listening, questioning, raising discussion about the desired outcomes, plans, and actual work.
3) Myth: Kehilla Board meetings are too boring or too contentious.
Truth: We are a cohesive group of people with wisdom and intelligence, who are free from ego-centricity, and have an ability to listen, communicate, articulate and give and take. We have a sense of humor and like to have fun. We are individuals who have the ability to see the big picture and deal with things when they don’t go well. We like getting together and making deeper connections with each other. We are always learning how to make Kehilla a stronger congregation.
4) Myth: Being on the Board means you have to make a big financial contribution to Kehilla.
Truth: All Board members are asked to make their financial contribution to Kehilla as one of their three top annual charitable donations, rather than a specific monetary amount.
In addition, the Board assures that Kehilla has adequate resources by assisting in the annual fundraising cycle created by the Generosity Committee. The Generosity Committee offers all Board members excellent support and training on how to make annual face-to-face individual solicitations. All Board members support fundraising efforts a few times a year.
5) Myth: You have to already have expertise in fiduciary responsibilities.
Truth: Kehilla Board members are trained in analyzing the annual budget and monitoring the ED’s monthly expense reports. All questions are welcomed. The Board approves all decisions which have long-range financial and/or legal effects on the organization. The Board also approves the annual budget, subsequent to assisting the ED and Finance Committee in its development.
6) Myth: You have to be a long-term Kehilla member to serve on the Board.
Truth: Board members don’t have to be long-term Kehilla members! We welcome members who think deeply about Kehilla’s ability to evolve and grow into the future. We want to ensure that members of the Board represent many facets of Kehilla’s community.
7) Myth: Board meetings are secretive and information is not often shared with the community.
Truth: We wish that everyone reading this article will come attend one of our meetings!! They are posted on the Kehilla calendar and usually are on the 4th Tuesday of the month. Please contact Catherine Lyons (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karen Cohn (email@example.com) to let us know that you’d like to attend and we’ll be sure to share the agenda in advance. We are now learning how to post our agendas in advance to the members’ portion of Kehilla’s website and link it also to the appropriate “This Week at Kehilla” email announcements.