National Federation of the Blind Board Meeting Minutes

November 16, 2008


The meeting was called to order at 8:14 PM. Present were Kathy Davis, Dan Hicks, Dwight Sayer, Sherri Brun, Gloria Hicks, Sabrina Deaton, Gina Minichiello, Sherrill OíBrien, and Betty McNally, The minutes will be approved by e-mail.


The treasurerís report was given. Gloria has sent out a detailed treasurerís report. Operations account:  $25,828.22. Newsline $45,351. There is still confusion RE distribution the Newsline funds, so they were paid out of Jenny Montgomery funds and we will return the check upon receipt of Newsline funds from DBS. Gloria read the itemization of the check book.


Gina Minichiello suggested that someone be trained to work with Gloria to learn the treasury. Gloria said that this is quite a time-consuming job and that some states pay accountants.


Gloria said that we received the Higgins foundation grant for $13,750. We do not know how much money we will get from the Imagination fund for our chapter, but will receive the check upon payment of all outstanding bills to NFB.  We have not received a check from Carnival Cruise Lines for our fundraising. Sherrill said that Imagination fund said that we had more expenses for 2008 for the walk. 36 grants are being given out of $135,000 to 33 states. This would amount to approximately $2,596.15 per state. The National Office called Saturday and the 990 tax form was signed off and sent Saturday. This was the last possible day that it could be signed off.

Kathy gave the Presidentís Report. The Tallahassee chapter elections were discussed. Lydia Markley, who at the past meeting said she would be the go-between regarding e-mails between the NFBF and Tallahassee chapter since the president does not use a computer,  is not a board member of that chapter. Kathy would like to know how many members they have. Kathy and David have still not talked about the reorganization of the Palm Beach chapter. Gloria said that during the events committee meeting, Gloria asked if they could help for the NFBF 2009 convention. David was very positive about his chapter being able to help. Things may have turned around somewhat in the chapter. Dwight forwarded Kathy an e-mail with the name of a possible contact from Palm Beach who may want to be involved with the chapter there. Dwight will send the name again. Kathy asked Dwight to call the Palm Beach contact. Dwight said he would call the person. We should check and make sure that David is still in the same frame of mind about wanting to lead the chapter. The Tallahassee chapter elections were discussed. The person that Lydia had spoken about who does not have computer access was elected president.


Betty gave the legislative report. The legislative committee met October 26. David Anspach is going to try to get ahold of Rep. Christman for pedestrian information and bill. Betty will meet with Fredericka Wilson from education committee and will take IDEA and Braille Bill legislation to her. Will also meet with Dwight Bullard, who is also on education committee and has gotten his fatherís seat. She is also seeking appointment with the governor. Will also work on Silent Cars bill and find someone appropriate to take bill. Also look at public services division for additional funding for Newsline. Hopefully, all contacts will be made by December 14. Names of those attending the Tallahassee Seminar must be submitted by March 1. Gloria has heard there may be a quick session in December for 2 weeks to work on budget. May want someone to go there at that time to get bills sponsored. Betty McNally is keeping track of the Callender.


Washington Seminar was discussed. Those attending will be Dan and Gloria, Dwight and Joe, Carlos and Mark, Sherrill and Kathy, Sherri and Judy Hamilton, Denise and Betty. Mark and Judy are not definites. A motion was made and carried to approve $850 for all 12 people who would be attending. Southwest Airlines is running specials through the end of November.


The events committee met and the Windgate Hotel was approved for Tallahassee. We will have two buses going to Tallahassee. We should contact the Tallahassee chapter to see if they will work with us. Lydia Markley said she would help with restaurant, but we should involve the Tallahassee chapter. The May state convention in Boca Raton was discussed. Sub-committees were determined. We also discussed getting corporate sponsors. Gina Minichiello asked about the details of getting corporate sponsors. We need to work on them soon. Gina will coordinate reaching corporate sponsors. Kathy and Dan and David are on agenda committee. Gloria said we will try to improve on issues that we had last year so things will go more smoothly. Will send minutes to board and Leaders list.


We are getting $1000 from the Palm Beach County Visitorís Bureau. Marion has volunteered to be the head of the grant-riding sub-committee for fund-raising. Sherri Brun will send exhibitorís list to Gina and Gloria.


Sabrina gave the Newsline report. For the month of November, we have had 488 people using Newsline. New subscribers are 58. Closest competitor is Texas with 36. Total subscribers 9,289. Closest competitor is California at 6,330. 50% of the numbers 4,307 are bogus. Sabrina will talk with library about putting in correct subscriber numbers. Will send Sabrina an Excell sheet with more useable data. Marion drafted a letter to go out to subscribers. Sabrina will send board a copy of his letter. IT will be sent out free matter. We may have to move Vontoo, our mass-message announcement service for making Newsline calls back to January. Sabrina suggested waiting until January to send out mail. We could go forward to Vontoo with those we have numbers for. The other option would be to skip Vontoo and go to volunteer effort. There are 3 volunteers from the South Florida area. The marketers will have a calling limit. We should check with Vontoo for 4500 people to see if we can get a rate of 10 cents per minute. Scott White is implementing changes for Newsline. Can download newspapers on Victor Reader Stream. Will be able to get newspaper from a website. Can get full contacts of newspapers and magazines on website. Can pull up individual articles. Two affiliates, Georgia and Texas get their funding from TDD relay. Georgia actually has a Newsline office. We need to talk with the Florida Public Service commission and get permission to tap into that source for the operation of Newsline. A non-profit board Florida Telecommunications Relay INC administers the funds for the relay. Their budget for 2008-2009 is 11 cents per each phone line in state of Florida. $17,000,000 surplus. We should get legislative support from legislators. Gloria said we could go directly to commission. We need to speak with people from Texas and Georgia to see how they did it. We need to come up with report and budget to present facts. Newsline PSAs were discussed. We should produce a better quality PSA.


The planned giving brochure was discussed. PDQ quoted us $1,381.25 for 3500 brochures. This does not include postage. We need to get an updated lawyerís list. Should also reach out to financial planners. We will check out the cost of the Hooverís list of attorneys. Stamps for the mailing will cost $1470.


Sherrill OíBrien discussed fund raising meeting on 23rd. She would like to divide committee members so they are working in their sub-committee of choice. Marion wants to chair grants committee. There is no chair for planned giving committee. Marion has left voice mail with head of Creative Loafing, the magazine which will hopefully run our ad for David Beardenís show. Has not heard anything.


Sherrill will participate in a national call with Dr. Fred Schroeder for the Louis Braille event, which will give suggestions. Sherrill has a friend who owns a company who will put logos on everything. This would be for Braille literacy. She gave some suggestions for a design that could be put on a T-shirt or some other item.


Dwight told us that Dan Goldstein called and said NFB has a class action suit for the Federal Government where blind people have been passed over for promotions. 410-962-1030.


The vision caucus was discussed. Dan and Betty have participated in the teleconference calls. They want stories of blind people who have been helped by DBS. Success stories of various people of various ages who have gotten help from DBS. Gloria will give her story if necessary.


The meeting adjourned at 11:05 PM.


Sherri Brun, Secretary

National Federation of the Blind of Florida



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