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Board Actions November 2004

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 1, February-March 2005, pp. 20-21.

The La Leche League International Board of Directors met in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA, November 5 to 8, 2004. We generally spend one-and-a half to two days in informal discussion prior to our formal session. During this time we hear committee reports and discuss current and future work of the Board. We also spend time with LLLI staff and may call in outside experts as needed, such as auditors or lawyers, with whom we are consulting. If time and circumstance allow (for example, when we meet at the LLLI Conference), we also take the opportunity to meet with Leaders. The formal Board meeting is generally held on the third day we are together. The length of the formal meeting varies, depending on the agenda and the requirements of the LLLI Bylaws. The Annual Session, the first session of the calendar year, for example, requires that the formal meeting start on one day and continue on the following day (Article VIII, Section. 4. Paragraph C and Article IX). We use the last day of our meetings to begin planning our work until the next LLLI Board meeting.

The following actions were taken at the formal LLLI Board of Directors meeting on Sunday, November 7. The actions are in bold, listed by topics. A narrative clarifying the action follows each action.

WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding

LLLI supports the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. This strategy focuses on action strategies to promote, protect, and support optimal feeding practices, particularly breastfeeding, for infants and young children around the world. LLLI makes a commitment to promote the strategy.

Building upon past global initiatives, this strategy addresses the needs of all children including those living in difficult circumstances. Supporting it is consistent with LLLI philosophy, our mission and our purpose. The Global Strategy makes a particularly strong statement about exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Support by LLLI will increase our visibility and credibility as an important member of the international breastfeeding community. Within the organization, it will build increased awareness of global breastfeeding issues; it makes a statement about the international orientation of LLLI and may increase the confidence Leaders have in using it as an advocacy tool. In the coming months, you will be hearing more about ways in which you can incorporate this strategy into your work in La Leche League.

The WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Child Feeding booklet is available in the LLLI Catalogue.

Audit and Finance

LLLI retains Mann . Weitz & Associates L.L.C. as the audit firm for the annual audit for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.

The Audit Committee moves that the revised audit of La Leche League International finances prepared by Mann . Weitz & Associates L.L.C. for the fiscal year April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004 be accepted.

Upon further scrutiny of the draft audit, it was discovered that a few expenses were misclassified. This was corrected. There was no change in the net assets listed in the audit. (The bottom line did not change.) The audited financials have been published in Leaven with the corrected information. (See the Dec-Jan 2004-05 issue of Leaven.) The Board will retain Mann . Weitz & Associates L.L.C. for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.

The Board also voted to renew the standard line of credit for business practices agreement for the coming year.

Bylaws

After utilizing the interval between the first and second readings to further consider, question, and critically reexamine the amendments to the LLLI Bylaws, the LLLI Board is pleased to present the following three changes:

1. The following statement is being moved from the GENERAL PURPOSE to the DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES: "LLLI believes that the breastfeeding relationship can stimulate the optimal physical and emotional growth of the child and the development of close family relationships."

2. Article II. Purpose, Section 1. General Purpose, is amended to read:
The purpose of LLLI is charitable, educational, and for the promotion of health:

To help the mother learn to breastfeed her baby;
To encourage good mothering through breastfeeding;
To promote a better understanding of breastfeeding and related subjects.

3. The following statement is added to Article II. Purpose as Section 3:
Vision Purpose
The Vision Purpose of LLLI is:
To realize, deepen, and share the love and wisdom found in the breastfeeding relationship.

Policies and Standing Rules (PSR) Deletions

The following policies were deleted from the Policies and Standing Rules:

Leader/Midwife: Individual complaints concerning a Leader/Midwife should be approached on a case-by-case basis following the usual channels. (Oct 1986)

Programs: Any new LLLI program that requires funding shall be submitted for Board approval before it is established. (Feb 1984)

These two policies are outdated. It is believed that the Leader/Midwife policy was in fact an early attempt to allow more flexibility. It replaced a policy whereby Leaders were not allowed to be midwives. The policy was targeted to the USA. It cannot be implemented in a global, distributed organization where attitudes to midwifery vary enormously. At this time all complaints relative to Leaders are handled on a case-by-case basis. The Programs policy was established during a time when the budget process was much different than now. With the exception of the solicitation or acceptance of outside funds, both covered by other policies, this policy is neither relevant nor suitable to a global organization. The policy is superseded by Article VII (Officers), Section 8 (Treasurer) of the Bylaws and by Finance Committee and Budgetary Spending Levels policies in the Policy Standing Rules (PSR).

Employee Personnel Handbook

The LLLI Board of Directors approved the LLLI Employee Handbook, revised October 2004. The LLLI Board of Directors recognizes the efforts of the LLLI Executive Director to revise the LLLI Employee Handbook as the need arises.

Employee Handbooks are considered policy by most nonprofit organizations. The LLLI Executive Director revises the LLLI Employee Handbook as necessary to comply with changes in employment laws and employee benefits. The Executive Director consults the LLLI Personnel Committee chairperson(s), and the revisions are brought to the LLLI Board of Directors for approval.

Purpose and Principles Reference Set

The following policy is added to the Policies and Standing Rules:
Purpose and Principles Reference Set

The reference set of Purpose and Principles used by the LLLI Board of Directors is added to the Policies and Standing Rules. Leaders are encouraged to use the reference set in their work where applicable.

Appendix 3 Purpose and Principles Reference Set (see Sidebar for complete text of Appendix 3).

Since March 2003, the Board of Directors of LLLI has explored and experimented with the set of principles developed by the Drafting Team. We have encouraged others in LLLI to use the principles in their work. This use of the principles has increased our understanding, and we have decided to adopt a reference set of Principles as policy.

Principles are one of the aspects we are studying in the process of renewing LLLI. Other aspects are the Purpose, Philosophy, Participants, Practices, Organizational Structure, and Agreements.

1. Our Philosophy is expressed in The Womanly Art of breastfeeding, summarized by the concepts, and remains at our core.

2. We have defined our Purpose (see Bylaws section of this article).

3. We are gradually experimenting with new structures to make LLLI a more distributive organization and are starting to use Agreements with new parts of this structure, including new non-geographic Areas.

When we decided on the wording of the Reference Set of the Purpose and Principles, we included both the General Purpose and the Vision Purpose. Leaders may refer to either or both when working with the principles. We have heard the discomfort with some words and have exhaustively discussed their meaning and use.

The LLLI Board uses this reference set in making decisions and setting policy for LLLI. The principles will be useful when Leaders make decisions and form agreements together. The Reference Set is Appendix 3 of the Policies and Standing Rules. The most up-to-date Policies and Standing Rules are on the LLLI Web site in the password-protected area for Leaders only www.lalecheleague.org/llleaderweb/new.html

La Leche League International
Purpose and Principles Reference Set

General Purpose:

To help the mother learn to breastfeed her baby.
To encourage good mothering through breastfeeding.
To promote a better understanding of breastfeeding and related subjects.

Vision Purpose:

To realize, deepen, and share the love and wisdom found in the breastfeeding relationship.

In Pursuit of Purpose, Participants Will:

Honor Each Others’:

Right and Responsibility to:

  • Determine their own identity and needs, and follow their own judgment and instincts.
  • Protect what belongs to them, what is important to them and their privacy.
  • Inform their choices considering scientific knowledge, experience and intuition.
  • Voluntarily connect with others to pursue their goals.

Right to:

Create new parts of the system.

When Working with Others:

  • Make room for family.
  • Honor obligations.
  • Encourage/educe, not compel.
  • Be open to look for opportunities for generosity and joy.
  • Work through and resolve conflict without threats, coercion or intimidation.
  • Freely and fully exchange information.
  • Are explicit about values.
  • Are mutually affirming, supporting and accountable.
  • Deliberate and make decisions in ways that reasonably represent those who are both relevant and affected without any one dominating.
  • Entrust only sufficient authority and power as necessary to accomplish common work.

Work as a System to:

  • Remain open and welcoming to new participants and parts.
    Ensure diversity and health.
  • Create conditions which foster learning, development and growth.
  • Keep or shift power, authority and resources to the smallest or most local part that includes those affected.
  • Create no built-in advantage or disadvantage for any part or participant.
  • Remain coherent and disciplined as a whole.
  • Protect, not undermine, breastfeeding, mothering and family.

These Principles are interpreted and considered as a whole. No Principle will be applied to the exclusion of others. They are intended to balance and inform each other.

November 2004

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