The Board of Directors is charged with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the “I Have A Dream” Affiliate, and directors have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the Affiliate. The Board of Directors is also responsible for financial oversight, long-range strategic planning, policy making, fundraising, and resource development. Among IHDF boards, a few of these specific duties usually take precedence. The members of the Board of Directors are the Affiliate’s key networking contacts, opening doors to helpful sources of funding, services, and other support within the community. Boards of Directors can help IHDF deliver on one of its primary promises: creating long-term relationships between Dreamers and trusted adults in the community who can help build and expand their professional and social networks.
IHDF boards may also be responsible, in cooperation with the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation, for promoting expansion of the program in their city or locale. In many cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Dallas, and others, the Board of Directors sets goals for establishing new classes, kicks off expansion committees, and conducts fundraising to support new Affiliates.
The nature of a board’s work changes over the course of a program. Founding boards organizing a new Affiliate in their city may be required to use a more hands-on approach than boards directing the management of a well-established organization.
The most effective boards include members with a wide variety of skills and perspectives. IHDF Alumni, family members, and those with expertise in education, financial management and accounting, law, fundraising, public relations, and social services can be assets on “I Have A Dream” Boards.
Board members are generally expected to be financial supporters of the organization in some capacity. This is not a legal requirement, but unanimous financial support among board members demonstrates a deep commitment and instills confidence in outside donors. Among all Affiliates, giving expectations should be stated clearly to all new members being recruited. While financial support at some level from all board members is important, board members should not be chosen for their financial capacity but rather a passion for and commitment to the work of “I Have A Dream.” Many Affiliates find that members who are generous with their time, insight, connections, and skills offer indispensable assistance to the organization that far outweighs the importance of their financial support.