Unique Board Structure Guides GROW South Dakota
Monday, July 09, 2018
GROW South Dakota is not a typical nonprofit organization. Governing an affiliation of three separate, independent nonprofits with complementary missions and shared staff can be a challenge, but the boards of directors of the three agencies are up to the task.
Each organization has its own board of directors. NESDCAP, founded as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, has a 15-member board, divided into groups serving from three sets of counties in the 17-county service area. By law, board members must represent low-income, private, or public official constituencies. NESDEC also has a 15-member board representing its 22-county service area. Grow South Dakota, with a statewide service area, has a seven-member board. Debbie Anderson, a small business owner, serves as chair of the NESDCAP board and has been on the board since 2010. Dan Menking, Dacotah Bank president in Webster, chairs both the NESDEC and Grow South Dakota boards, and has served since 1997.
Nonprofit boards have three primary roles, according to BoardSource, a national resource on nonprofit governance: Organizational identity, such as through determining mission and purposes and conducting planning; ensuring resources, including staffing, financial, and goodwill; and providing oversight, by monitoring assets and programs and ensuring legal and ethical practice.
In 2018, each board has already focused on reviewing and updating its organization’s strategic plan. Each followed a similar process, surveying staff and board members to collect perceptions about the organization, assessing and prioritizing those responses, and developing goals and objectives around the needs identified. When complete, the plans will guide the organizations’ programs and activities for the next three years, with board and staff review throughout the period.
Dan Menking finds the most rewarding part of being a board member, “Being able to help good people, that I wouldn’t be able to help as a banker.” He thinks the most important contribution the board has made has been with the Grow South Dakota: “The New Market Tax Credit loan to build two schools on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was very important.”
GROW SD co-CEOs Marcia Erickson and Lori Finnesand appreciate the boards’ role in guiding how the organizations pursue their mission of housing, community and economic development. Erickson said, “They’ve been supportive of the activities we’ve developed and, at the same time, caused us to think twice about some ideas. They do a great job of doing what boards are supposed to do.”
Category: GROW SD