Naturist Legacy Inc.: Transparency and accountabilityTransparency and accountability contributed to Naturist Legacy's early success.
Naturist Legacy Inc. (NLI) was incorporated as a non-profit organization on July 26, 2010. I was their first president and served in that office for more than three years. One of my top priorities was maintaining a high level of corporate transparency and accountability. That priority grew out of a solemn public promise of transparency and open communication made at a meeting that took place when NLI was barely more than an idea.
I began sending out newsletters just days after that meeting. I would publish 47 detailed News Updates over the next four years, first to members and friends of Crocus Grove Sun Club, and then to members and friends of NLI. In March of 2011, I began supplementing these periodic newsletters with brief but frequent email blasts called Bare Facts. I published more than 240 of these messages in a span of just over three years. In addition to these extensive mailings, I posted hundreds of corporate documents, photos, archived newsletters and archived press reports on NLI's website.
Your board of directors is always available to explain our decisions and actions. In fact, we would very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss the exciting progress we are making and share the "back story" behind much of it....
Ask us about what we're doing and why. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you learn! After all, no one knows the facts better than the people who are actually doing the research and making the decisions.
Members were frequently reminded of the board's commitment to provide meaningful transparency and accountability. What I wrote in the Bare Facts message above is just one example of those reminders.
Transparency and accountability were especially important when it came to NLI's finances. The corporation's first treasurer took this responsibility very seriously. He produced detailed financial reports, fundraising reports and multi-page budgets that went far beyond the basic requirements of NLI's by-laws. For example, he began 2011 (NLI's first full year of operation) with a brief Members Budget Report and a detailed budget. Later that year he presented a three-page Financial Report (1578 words), a two-page Fundraising Report (847 words) and a two-page Budget (66 line items) at the Annual General Meeting. He concluded 2011 with a detailed year-end budget that showed how the corporation had fared over the past twelve months.
9.1 The Corporation will make available to the members the annual financial statements and other documents by
(a) publishing the annual financial statements and documents on the Corporation's website, and
(b) providing a copy of the annual financial statements and documents by mail or electronic mail to any member upon request.
Section 9 was a much needed addition to NLI's by-laws. It's essential that Naturist Legacy's members always have a clear understanding of the corporation's financial health. That's why I prepared and posted year-end income statements and balance sheets for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 when I took on the role of NLI's treasurer. In compliance with the new requirements of Section 9, my immediate successor did the same for 2014 and 2015. I strongly encourage members to log into the members area of Naturist Legacy's website and review the year-end income statements and balance sheets for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is critically important information that every member should see.
Real transparency and accountability cannot exist without abundant and truthful disclosure. Section 9 codified in a very limited way what I had been doing more broadly during my entire tenures as NLI's president and treasurer. In addition to all the material that I had either mailed to members or posted on NLI's website, I and the rest of the board stood ready to provide inquiring members with copies of such things as purchase receipts, utility bills, bank statements, financial statements, income tax returns, corporate returns, insurance policies, contracts, building plans and development permits, property tax and assessment notices, drinking water and pool water test results, membership statistics and a plethora of other material. Even redacted copies of NLI's books were available on request. Only information narrowly defined (PDF) as confidential (like board meeting minutes, board correspondence and personal member details) was held back.
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