Board Meeting

June 25, 2017

Meeting called to order at 8:?? PM


Present:  President - Denise Valkema, 1st Vice President - Paul Martinez, 2nd Vice President - Miranda Kilby, Secretary - Sylvia Young, Treasurer - Gloria Mills-Hicks, Board members:1 Tekesha Saffold, 2 Jorge Hernandez, 3 Camille Tate and 4 Rafael Fernandez.

President report:  Just prior to state convention, I met with the director of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and we might have a BELL program there in August. A BELL program is currently going at the CVI in Daytona. Charlotte McCleary, Alyssa Mendez; Geneva, Matthew Nguyen have been selected to attend Youth Slam.  I attended our presidents call, the Miami Dade Chapter picnic and chapter meeting, West Kendall Lions meeting, and our communications meeting. An email was sent to all who preregistered for convention with convention information including our caucus. We have been assisting members to attend convention.

Our caucus will be Wednesday, 7/12 in Wekiwa 4 from 6pm-7pm and the Florida table is C18 in the exhibit hall. A list was put on nfbnet including our Lucky 7 raffle.  I will be in the presidential suite Monday and helping at information table in the lobby on Sunday.  Some of our members have signed up for shifts at the information table, volunteered to be demonstrators for two shifts each in the independence market, and to demonstrate Newsline. A copy of our 2016 restaurant and pharmacy guides were sent to the host committee. I know many of you are attending seminars and volunteering to help in true federation spirit to make this convention enjoyable and successful.


Secretary Report:  A motion was made by Saffold to accept the May 26, 2017 minutes as sent via email; second by Hicks.  Approved by all and passed.  A motion was made by Kilby to accept the May 31, 2017 minutes as sent via email; second by Hernandez.  Approved by all and passed. 


Treasurer Report:  Gloria reported the bank balances as of 4/30/17:  Operations Account: $9,424.02 and NFB Newsline Account:  $41,839.32.

The balances of as of 5/31/17: Operations Account:  $26,287.13, NFB Newsline Account: $36,202.90. A motion was made by Saffold to accept treasurer’s report; second by Tate.  Motion approved by all and passed. 


Division/committee/chapter reports:

Valkema reported the Broward Chapter keeps adding new members and had a guest speaker at the last meeting who is developing an accessible shopping website for the blind.  The

Suncoast Chapter has requested to meet during national and may have an update Sunday after their meeting.  The President’s Committee call will now be facilitated by a rotation of presidents on the board.


Martinez reported the Daytona Beach Chapter met Saturday, June 24th. The Central Florida hCapter had 19 members in attendance at their last meeting. Sherri presented Newsline and the NFB to the Central Florida Lighthouse.  The State-Wide Chapter had about 10 new guests on their last call.  We broke down what the NFB is and what we are working on. The chapter

is excited about our current raffle that will be drawn at national convention. The raffle has 2 opportunities. The 1st prize winner will win $100 gift card to Omaha Steaks, and the 2nd prize

winner is a $50 gift card to Omaha Steaks. We are also working hard to sell the state’s Lucky 7s raffle.  The Scholarship committee have notified all winners and are excited to attend the national convention. We will have a Newsline meeting on Wednesday, June 28th at 8 PM. We are hoping to have representation from every chapter, and will be helping at our national convention.


Kilby reported the Tampa Chapter held their meeting this past Saturday and was a panel to a few engineering students from USF that are working on their Senior Project. Also, the City of Tampa’s Transportation department came to the meeting to discuss a research project that they are involved in with the Tampa Lighthouse and the University of Mississippi.  We also formulated a committee to start working on different meet the blind month activities, white cane day, and something to celebrate the chapter’s 30 years of existence. We will not be holding a NFB411 call in the month of July due to national convention. However, I will be sending out an email with important highlights of our national convention. The Communications committee met and we are proud to announce that we are enhancing the communications across Florida. We

were pleased to hear that we received a grant from Kohl’s in the amount of $500, and a donation in the amount of $25 for assisting with a white cane. Our social media has been extremely active, and has gained new membership in both Facebook (583) and Twitter (45). We will kick off another campaign starting July 1st to help boost our national convention. Our Newsletter has grown and will seek assistance from others to continue the growth. In addition, coming soon to the web is all of our Newsletter issues.  Our parents really enjoyed the workshop at our state convention. They held elections at the convention and are looking forward to approving their constitution and officially becoming a division.  The Communication Committee is recommending that we renew our domain name and our handler for another year while we research other options and prices. A motion was made by Hicks to renew our domain name and our handler for another year; second by Fernandez.  Motion approved by all and passed.  The Parents Division submitted a constitution for board approval.  The board made suggestions for modifications to send to the parents before approval.


Young reported the Tallahassee Chapter celebrated Father’s Day with a dinner at Canal Street Crapes restaurant June 12th, will participate in the Lighthouse of the Big Bend’s Techno Demo Day July 20th and are planning a Flapjack Breakfast Fundraiser at Applebee’s in September.  We also gained one new member this month. The Jacksonville Chapter are busy fundraising and growing steadily.  They have 2 fundraisers going presently.  They are selling embroidered T-shirts with the new NFB logo and raffling off an iPad at national.  I am pleased to have Camille working with me on the Newsletter and we plan to get the July/August issue out August 1st.  Look for new sections and get your submissions in early.


Mills-Hicks reported that it was one of the neatest things to see Joe King receive the Legacy Report. Someone who has been around for a long time, doing the work of the Federation, has been recognized. I think this will make Joe a better Chapter President.  The FLAGDU division met with the new state attorney of Hillsborough County, who is interested in the fact that some Yellow Cabs are not allowing people with dogs to ride.  The Events Committee will not be actively meeting until closer to our next state convention.  The Senior Concerns Committee will have a meeting the first Thursday, July 6th.  The Senior Concerns Seminar at the State Convention was well attended. The guest speakers tried to get everyone involved in the exercises and activities, and nearly everyone participated.


Saffold reported the Palm Beach Chapter had a fundraiser to help assist members to the National convention June 17th. The fundraiser was a Spaghetti Luncheon and the food was donated from Publix.  Our guest speaker in August will be Michael Vinocur who is the founder for an online shopping website for blind and visually impaired individuals.  A new member joined our chapter who works at the VA Hospital.  Also, we are planning to have a resource fair for meet the Blind Month and formed a committee to help make the arrangements.  We decided not to meet in July because of the national convention.  Currently, we are looking for a new meeting location, which we have a couple of places we will be considering.  The Empowerment Committee will have a conference call Monday, June 26th to plan for the next meeting before the national convention.


Hernandez reported the Miami-Dade Chapter had a fundraising event June 10th and we had with over 40 members and guests.  The event was called “Walk in the Park”.  It was held at Greinolds Park in the northern part of the county.  We had a tour of the park with a guide and they explained what we were feeling as we walked through the nature trail. We had great food donated from Pic-A-Dilly and a Latin flavor cuisine was also included by an individual to spice up the fun.  We gained several new members from the event and we are planning to have this type of event again in the near future.  I need to visit the Treasure Coast September.  They return all the Lucky 7’s tickets.  They did not attempt to sell any tickets.  This is the second time that the chapter did not participate in the fundraising event for the affiliate. I will ask President Valkema to travel with me to the chapter.  For Fundraising:  The NFB Cash frenzy was lot of fun during the state convention.  However, we did not do well on it.  Yes, people were interested, but it needed more time to accommodate members who were asking to play at times of other events.  The lucky 7’s raffle is still going strong.  We are preparing to have a great showing at national.  The raffle will be at the exhibit table at all times so all chapters can participate in the sale of the tickets.  The lapel pins are still available and we have around 90 left which we will take to National.  Also, this item will be at the exhibit table for chapters and divisions to sell.  Both fundraisers were submitted to the national office so they can add them to the fundraising announcement for all chapters and others can see what the Florida Affiliate is selling.  For Legislation:  The national office sent out an announcement on the bills that are currently in the house and senate.  They are asking us to call to speak to our representatives from our districts and ask them to co-sponsor the bills: H.R. 1772, H.R. 1734, and H.R. 1377. Please also call your two senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 732.  The best way to contact your member of Congress is to call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for the office in question. Emailing your member of Congress is also a good idea. If you do so, please copy  Kilby made a motion to give a kickback of 40% to the chapters for the Lucky 7 Raffle after the prize and expenses are deducted, 2nd by Gloria.  Motion approved by all and passed. 

We discussed the lack of participation of some of our chapters in state fundraising.  Denise asked that each board member send our suggestions via email, what we consider active participation is; for the chapters to receive benefits from the state affiliate.


Tate reported the Melbourne Space Coast Chapter is involved in several projects in Brevard County. There is a community service project with The Children’s Hunger Project in Cocoa, FL, June 27th.  They will have a table at the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit Quarterly Event at the American Muscle Car Museum July 25th (cost: $50). Chapter members will decide if MSCC will continue membership in the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce; renewal paperwork received; annual fee for non-profits is $200. They are planning a Vision Fair for September 1st, at The Fountains. Non-Profits pay $25 and For-Profits pay $50. They have three of 28 confirmed attendees. The annual Car and Bike Show is October 14th, in celebration of White Cane Awareness Day. Still in planning stage. Chapter elections will be held August 12th. FL Deaf-Blind Division Board voted to give each board member attending National Convention a $100 check to offset expenses. Board voted to move next Division meeting to August 8th because of National Convention. Board voted to wait on $50 check issued to member that wasn’t cashed, to see if it is cashed. If check has been cashed, Treasurer will instruct bank to investigate. This is to avoid paying a $25 fee to stop payment on a $50 check. Replacement check handed to member at State Convention. They will work on creating a brochure of their own, using NFBF website in place already and planning a membership drive. Their President explained her Passion, Accountability and Data (PAD) plan for Division.  I will be working with Sylvia on upcoming newsletter and will be writing some tips for Apple users.  I signed up for Senate Tracker at to receive daily updates on House and Senate bills, publications and information from Committees. Last session bills have been voted on in FL House and Senate, awaiting Governor’s signature. I am currently researching bills that may come up in next session, or are still in committee and will attend the Legislative Meet-Up at the national convention.


Fernandez reported that FABS had a meeting June 19th.  They also had their first open board meeting and discussed fundraising for national convention.  The majority of the meeting was used to finalize their next fundraiser, which will be blankets with the NFB logo embroidered.  This was also the first meeting for the new bossed that the student Davison has voted on.  The Gainesville Chapter is trying to find a permanent venue to hold their monthly meetings.  They are working hard to get their members to join some of the committees.  The chapter is also discussing some fundraising ideas like spirit night at Beef O’Brady's, and one with Macy's.  We only have one slot remaining for our Florida table at National convention which is Friday July 14th at 12PM-1:45PM.  The response has been great and there are even chapters that would like a second slot.  July 1st, I'm opening it up to those chapters or divisions who would like a second slot on a first comes first served basis. 


New Business

We had a debriefing of the State Convention.  Multiple ideas and suggestions were given to help improve our next state convention.


Denise sent out summaries of the activities going on at the national convention.  The board agreed to get together at the national for breakfast, Thursday at 7:30 am at the deli.


Our next board meeting will be at the National Convention at our caucus.


Martinez made a motion that the meeting be adjourned; second by Young.  All approved.  Meeting adjourned at 10.01 pm.


Respectfully submitted by Sylvia Young, NFBF Secretary