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PATRICIA C. SYAK | Symphony notes Board has many duties



Published: Sun, June 17, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A voluntary spirit and philanthropic instinct are driving forces behind many societies. Nowhere else does this ethic take on more form and substance than through service on the governing board of a nonprofit or community benefit organization.

Elected to serve as members of the Youngstown Symphony Society Board of Directors at the Society's recent Annual Meeting were Joyce Bresnahan (Mrs. William J.), community leader; Bruce Gordon, Gordon Bros. president; Msgr. Robert Siffrin III, Youngstown Catholic Diocese; and Tim Smith, Smith & amp; Co. Jewelers, proprietor.

Leadership: There is a growing body of knowledge that suggests effective governance determines organizational success. Leadership must increasingly come from both strong executive and strong board membership working together.

The National Center of Non-profit Boards stated in a recent publication, "Board and board members perform best when they exercise their responsibilities primarily by asking good and timely questions rather than by 'running' programs or implementing their own policies. Board-staff relationships are what they should be when mutual expectations are agreed upon and issues and responsibilities are clearly defined. & quot;

Boards of directors are fundamentally responsible for defining an organization's mission and what it strives to accomplish. A commitment to this purpose will drive the board's sense of public accountability.

Board members are also asked to select chief administrative and artistic executives and support and assess their performances.

The organizational planning process enables the board and staff to translate the mission of an organization into objectives and goals that can be measured and accomplished. Members of the society's board will review the organization's objectives and goals at a board retreat scheduled Sept. 7 - 9 at the Aurora Inn.

Effectiveness: An organization can only be effective if it has resources to meet its purposes. Providing adequate resources is first and foremost a board member responsibility. To this end, members of the society's board set an example by their personal annual gift and purchase of subscription tickets.

The board is charged with serving the public trust by protecting accumulated assets and managing current income properly. The board determines, monitors and strengthens the organization's programs and services, giving thought to limited resources and unlimited demands on them. Board members serve as the organization's ambassadors, advocates and community leaders. Members are also responsible for the legal and ethical integrity and to maintain the organization's accountability. The board is responsible for recruiting and orientating new board members and assessing the board performance of all members.

New board recruitment and orientation is delegated to the society's board development committee, who in consultation with the full board and the society's executive director, oversees the process of defining membership needs and cultivating prospective board members. The committee also checks prospective board nominee credentials and their performance on other nonprofit boards, recruits nominees, oversees the orientation process, and designs programs of board self-assessment.




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