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Naturist Legacy's leadership

Capable and intensely dedicated leadership contributed to Naturist Legacy's early success.
It was April, 2010. Crocus Grove Sun Club had just learned that we had lost our home of forty years. The club executive was meeting in emergency session.... The future looked bleak. The club had only about $12,000 in the bank. What could anyone do with such little money?... Many around that table seemed resigned to the idea that the club would never again have a permanent home.

But not everyone shared that view. Where most saw doom and gloom, there were those with business skills who saw opportunity. To them, that $12,000 was not all that we had, but was actually seed money to grow something new. Where others saw limitation, they saw opportunity.

With that Board's support and encouragement, John [Kundert] and I brainstormed through all hours of the night, for days and weeks on end. From endless hours of research and debate we gradually honed our plan. We continued to bring plans and ideas and concepts back to the Board, and from them seek support and input. In the end, only a small portion of that original $12,000 in seed money was needed to generate more than $200,000 worth of investment in our new home — Naturist Legacy Park. That's what people with business backgrounds can do in action. We saw opportunity and potential where most others would have seen limitations or the end of the road. It's those business skills that have brought us back from the abyss, and that have established our new home. It's those business skills that have earned the trust of the membership to properly care for their investments — large and small — and to use them to utmost advantage in order to ensure our immediate and long-term success....

These excerpts are from the "Naturist Legacy Fundraising Report for 2012." It was written by Mark B. (treasurer) and presented at the Naturist Legacy Inc. Annual General Meeting held on October 13, 2012.

The business skills that "brought us back from the abyss" were the very same business skills that would keep us from ever returning to that "abyss." The critical need for competent and experienced boards of directors is often addressed by experts in the field of non-profit governance. Here are two examples:

Fact: On virtually every board of every NonProfit throughout the world, there are board members who do not understand how to read a balance sheet, a profit & loss statement, or any of the other financial data boards typically review and vote on.... As you look at the things your board members should know about your organization's finances, and you consider the things they may NOT know, you can see that board members who don't understand the organization's financial matters make it difficult for the board to be accountable — both for the money, and for providing the mission.... Board members who do not understand the financial aspects of an organization are a huge liability — not just to the organization, but to themselves. Although actions can be taken to limit the liability of individual board members, those steps are based on the premise that board members have done everything they can to be prudent in their decision-making.... Suddenly, understanding the finances isn't a luxury. It's an imperative — not just for the good of the organization and the community, but also for each individual board member.

These excerpts are from "The Dirty Little Secret of NonProfit Boards" (PDF) by Hildy Gottlieb © 2003, ReSolve Inc. I shared this document with fellow directors when I was president of Naturist Legacy Inc.
Directors have certain duties to the members of the corporation. They must ensure that the corporation and its directors abide by the terms of its letter patent [articles] and bylaws, which have been considered by the courts as akin to a contract between the corporation and its members.

Directors must also treat all members equally (for instance, by fixing or collecting dues or enacting rules or bylaws), unless the best interests of the corporation clearly require otherwise.

Directors must tread especially carefully in the sensitive and litigation-rich area of members' discipline.

Before suspending, fining, expelling or refusing to readmit a member, directors must make sure that the bylaws of the corporation clearly empower them to do so, and that all the internal procedural steps they set out (notices, delays, inquest and recommendation by a committee, hearing, internal appeal, etc.) have been strictly adhered to.

The proceedings must afford a reasonable degree of procedural fairness — i.e., fair play and good faith. The disciplined member should be given fair notice, and an opportunity to be heard (and have counsel present) in his own defence by board members open to persuasion. Otherwise, the board’s decision will be subject to review by a Court. Directors must be careful not to impinge on the member's reputation, for example by publicising at large his expulsion and the motives thereof, or by having a general meeting of members ratify it when a board resolution is sufficient according to the bylaws. They stand to be personally sued for damages if they do.

This excerpt is from the Primer for Directors of Not-for-Profit Corporations (PDF) © 2002, Industry Canada.

Naturist Legacy's by-laws were ultimately amended "to ensure that the majority of directors will always possess the knowledge and experience necessary to effectively manage the often complex business and financial affairs of the corporation."

16(e) Those persons seeking election to the position of director will be required to demonstrate and fulfill certain skill sets and working criteria that will be predetermined by the standing board of directors, as they are needed to fulfill the working mandate of the corporation. The corporation, through its nominating officer, will disclose and make available such criteria in reasonable time that the nominating officer may find suitable candidates. For the good of the corporation, the majority of directors shall at all times be comprised of individuals possessing extensive business experience, briefly defined as:
(1) Having worked in a management or professional position within the private or corporate sector, and/or

(2) Having owned or operated a successful company, and

(3) Possessing direct experience with and understanding of the financial, accounting, marketing and operational functions of a corporation or private sector organization or business.

This excerpt is from Naturist Legacy's 2012 By-laws (PDF).

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