National Federation of the Blind ofFlorida

Board Meeting Minutes December 14, 2008


The meeting was called to order at 8:18 PM. Present were Kathy Davis, Dan Hicks, Dwight Sayer, Sherri Brun, Gloria Hicks, Sabrina Deaton, Gina Minichiello, Sherrill OíBrien, and Betty McNally. Marion Gwizdala participated in a portion of the meeting to discuss the up-coming fund-raiser.


The minutes were just sent out and will be approved by e-mail by this coming Wednesday. December 17.


The treasurerís report was given. Gloria sent an Excell report. The operations account has $25,453.80, which does not reflect the checks just sent out. The newsline account is $21,715.92. There is no report for the Jenny Montgomery account. NFB is holding off the Imagination Grant until all outstanding bills are sent in for Newsline. Newsline may not have Gloriaís new address. Carlos and Kathy still need to receive their checks. Carlos called Gloria and left a voice mail message. Gina Minichiello had a question about a check written to IREscue. Gloria said that this check was for expenses of the last four months. The report was approved.


The presidentís report was given. Kathy talked with David Evans, who sincerely wants to step down as Palm Beach chapter president. He wanted to meet on January 7, but this cannot be prepared in time. In February he is going to get a guide dog. He has no job at this time. The meeting must be in early March. The location of the present chapter meeting has been moved to a more centralized place. Dwight did call Mike Stern, the person who was interested in being involved in the NFBF  and possibly becoming chapter treasurer  in order to discuss his background and experience. He just heard from him this last week and Dwight has not gotten back with him. Dr. Maurer has called a state presidentís seminar at the end of February. Kathy will also be attending Marti Gras. If we have particular agenda items for the state presidentís seminar, Dr. Maurer would like to know them and we should e-mail items to Kathy. Dwight asked if they have given any thought to the dramatic changes in the newspaper business and how will this effect the operation of Newsline? Kathy talked briefly about the Louis Braille initiative and encouraged all chapter presidents to do something in January to promote the use of Braille and to celebrate Louis Brailleís birthday. Sherrill mentioned that we need to send ideas to the NFBF Leaders list. The list is quiet.


Everyone needs to know how to get on the NFBF listserve. Betty McNally said 3/4 of her chapter members are not on the listserve. Kathy asked Dan to send out instructions as to how to subscribe. Dan will send out instructions.


Kathy asked Marion to give his report for fund-raising. They will have a meeting with Creative loafing on Wednesday for that show. A meeting took place yesterday, but only four people participated, though several others were notified about the call.  Creative Loafing will help find a place in Ebore City that will accommodate between 300 and 500 people. There first choice was The Castle. The advertising manager says he can think of at least twelve places to approach and that businesses will be open to advertise the show including retail establishments that would be willing to provide products for door prizes. The cover charge should be a suggested donation of $20-$25. The show will be depending upon what the venue is like. If people are seated, it will be a two-hour show with an intermission. There will be a total of 5 entertainers. There will be 10 songs with an intermission and then 10 more songs. If it is not a seated venue, there will be a one-hour show with each of the entertainers doing two songs with a total of 10 songs. We will let Creative Loafing know our preferences. The seated venue will of course be preferred, because it is a longer show. Kathy said that people might talk during the show, especially if it is a venue where guests are standing. Marion assured us that these are truly professional entertainers and that there will probably not be much talking during the performance. People from different departments of the Creative Loafing magazine will take part in the meeting on Wednesday and our preferences will be specified. The teleconference yesterday was done in order to develop a plan to present on Wednesday. Marion wants to be sure that everyone is on the same page and wants to move forward. The call consisted of Sherrill OíBrien, Merry Schoch, David Bearden and Marion Gwizdala. The best title we have for the program now is Alexis Collins and the Hollywood Dolls. Total expenses for entertainers are $500, which includes  transportation. The entertainers, who generally work for $500 dollars have agreed to work for $125. This will come out of the revenue of the project. The goal is to raise $10,000 after expenses. David Bearden has done this for other organizations and has raised this amount of money. 50-50 drawing and door prizes will also be awarded. Raffle items will also be available. The entertainers will be available after the show to take pictures of people with the entertainers in their costumes and charge $10 per picture. David is performing at no charge. Once the proceeds come in, it was suggested that we help David with a token of our appreciation. We hope to have this on an off day from 9 to 11 or 9 to 11:30. The last week of February or first week of March would be the window they are looking at. We will definitely have a contract with Creative Loafing. We are also working out security with Merry Schoch. We also will get volunteers to help.


Marion also discussed being part of grant-writing for the chapter and being allowed to have membership paid for grant-writing informational list. He is willing to write for our chapter. He explained the Foundation Center, which is an organization in New York, which has collections of information and does grant-writing workshops throughout the country. They have a website where you can access 25,000 different grantors. It is a large data base of people who give money for specific causes. The cost of membership is $195 per year for one person. David Evans can be included in the distribution of information if he wishes to assist in writing a grant. We should focus on Tallahassee Seminar and also subsidize our state convention. This would be in preparation for 2010. Will want report as to how money has been used and how it has benefited us. A motion was made to approve $195.00 for a one-year membership to the Foundation Center for a grant data base for Marion Gwizdala.  The motion carried.


Dwight suggested we have Davidís fund-raiser  quarterly in four different venues, Miami , Orlando , Tampa , and Jacksonville . Gloria said that if there is a contract signed with Creating Loafing, it should be signed by the NFBF state president rather than a chapter president.


Kathy resumed her report with the  discussion of the Vision Summit. It was suggested that Debby Brackett be our representative and talk about the Parents of blind children. The Vision Summit is February 10. Dan Hicks pointed out that the members of the summit might disagree with the choice of Debby Bracket, as they already have a parents of blind children representative attending. It was suggested that Sabrina could go to the Vision Summit and at the same time, she could contact the Public Services Commission. Dan asked if Sabrina had a success story about her interaction with DBS and how they have helped her. Sherri added that Sabrina can also discuss the NFBF Newsline program and how it has benefited the blind and print-disabled citizens of Florida . Betty suggested that chapter members from Tallahassee sit in the audience at the summit. The next phone call involving the organization of the Vision Summit will be on January 22. Dan asked Sabrina to send a resume that he can present to the Vision Caucus organizers. Kathy said she had written to us about giving $500 to sponsor the Vision Caucus. Gloria Hicks proposed we pay the $500 for sponsorship as well as expenses for whoever attends representing the NFBF. The authorization will be done this coming week. Kathy mentioned we always have contributed and that it would look bad if we did not. Kathy will make certain that Robert Kelly knows we will be a sponsor. We have to make sure that they will allow two of our representatives to speak. The motion to send Sabrina Deaton and/or Debbie Brackett and to pay their expenses for attending, as well as to be a $500 sponsor of the Vision Caucus carried.


The Washington Seminar was discussed. Tom Ryan would like to go. Mark Tardif and Judie Hamilton are not able to go. Patty Sayer cannot go, as she has a previous commitment. Sherri and Dwight and Kathy and Joe will work together. Betty will ask Tom if he would like to go. We have 11 going. Kathy requested that extra money be proposed for her. Dwight has arranged transportation. Those attending include Gloria and Dan, Joe and Dwight, Kathy and Sherrill, Sherri, Betty and Denise, Carlos and Tom Ryan. Tom commented that he did not get the notice of the Presidentís meeting until after it had taken place.


The legislative report was given and a legislative meeting will take place January 4.


Gloria gave the events committee report. The only event we have coming up is David Beardenís show reported on by Marion Gwizdala.


For the fundraising report, Sherrill added that Dwight is now head of planned giving and Marion is head of grants. Gina is involved with planned giving as well. Sabrina got an estimate from Sorals printing for $1533 for 3500. They also want a 50% deposit. This is not necessary with PDQ. They will also charge $95 per hour for any graphic design or lay-out. PDQ is the best so far. There is still a bid out for another printer. Also, there is a bid out for a printer in Daytona. Many places want to send the work out to a bigger printer. Sabrina will also send details to Sabrina. Dwight discussed getting a single userís license for Hoover ís to access their data base and Dwight sent Gina information. Dwight and Betty will send appropriate contact info to obtain list of attorneys to Gina RE planned giving before the end of this coming week.


Sabrina gave the Newsline report. Currently we have 9340 Newsline subscribers. She has no update as to what happened this month. We have 484 active subscribers. This is down from last month. Calls have been somewhat sporadic. Sabrina spoke with Anil Lewis about getting TDD funding. He told her it took about 6 months. They had to find a legislator who was willing to change the language. Because our legislation is exclusive, it must be changed. Sabrina would like to talk with Public Services Commission as a courtesy. She is not sure how long ago Georgia got its legislation enacted. It sounded like if there is an excess, Florida does not levy the tax. Betty will work on finding out the proper legislator to approach. We need to get with someone very quickly. Andy Gardiner has Senator Websterís seat. Dwight said that we must contact a legislator ASAP or will lose our chance for help for Newsline until next year. Anyone who has a good connection should contact a legislator. We must present this idea generically. Sabrina said that if everyone agrees, she will call the president of the PSC and make an appointment, hopefully coordinated with the Vision Summit. She can present the idea in a positive light, since continuing Newsline is really not costing the state of Florida any more money. Betty will help Sabrina find the appropriate legislators to contact. Dwight commented that various county legislative members are meeting to determine bills for this session. Betty will present the Georgia legislation to legislators to see if we can work that in with our legislation. The act is called The Audible Universal Information Access Service. This way, blind and print-disabled citizens are included. Sabrina suggested this could be added to the Florida legislation as an amendment. Sabrina will call Mr. Atwater tomorrow to find out information and she will 3-way with Dwight and Betty to let her know the results. She can either talk before 2:30 or after 2:30. Betty will manage the call.


The reason we have had difficulty getting correct phone number is that the Talking Books library sends info to National and the phone numbers do not transfer. Sabrina will contact the library to see if they can send her a report of the new Newsline subscribers.


The possible contracts with Holiday Inn in Orlando and Rosen were discussed. Sheri met with the sales manager of the Holiday Inn International Drive and she is very interested in us holding our convention there in 2010. She is willing to honor the contract that we presented at our prior convention there, but the room rate will be increased to $82 per night. There is a #20 per table charge for exhibit tables. Sherri also looked at the facilities, which have been renovated and they are very nice. We will finalize this decision at our next board meeting.

Dwight talked about misunderstanding from BVA RE NFBís involvement in Training Center discussion. It was mis-reported by a member of the BVA that we were appropriated 4 million dollars for a pilot program to compare our training center with them. Because we were ignored by the V.A., we went to the Department of Defense and applied for a 4 million dollar grant appropriation to run a pilot program comparing our training centers with the V.Aís training centers and comparing the results after the training is done, rather than the merit of the training in the beginning or the instructors. When the bill got signed, the appropriation never went through, so we did not receive any money to conduct this program.


Kathy mentioned that Rick Brown has landed the position of VIST coordinator for the Tampa V.A.


Gina Minichiello has revamped the corporate sponsorís form and needs contact information for perspective sponsors.


Gina also mentioned that the minutes on the web site are very much behind. Sherri will send all minutes to Dan. Gina also suggested modernizing the website. Dan is working on improving the website.


Betty McNally stated that they are having a parade which occurs between Christmas and New Years and the Sierra Club will be going into this parade as ďDumb Blind People.Ē Betty will write in protest stating that we do not approve of this. The parade is supposed to be a humorous parade, but Betty will see if the NFB Dade County chapter can give out positive information during the parade.


Sherrill discussed Louis Braille discussion meeting and possible participation for Sabrina tomorrow night.


Betty discussed Dade County and the library working with NFB to read Braille for story time at public library.


The meeting adjourned at 11:18 P.M.


Respectfully Submitted:


Sherri Brun, Secretary

National Federation of the Blind of Florida


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