Funders network membership benefits and expectations.final
2012-2013 Membership Benefits and Expectations
The Appalachia Funders Network is a group of public and private grant-makers who envision an
Appalachian economy that provides opportunity for all while sustaining the environmental and cultural
assets of our region. Members of the Network have come together, in this time of economic, social,
political, and environmental transition in Appalachia to:
§ Learn and share information about promising development ideas, projects and strategies, to:
§ Deepen our collective analysis and understanding of entrepreneurial-based economic development
issues, challenges, and opportunities within Appalachia.
§ Build trusting and meaningful relationships among Appalachia-focused grant makers, and
§ Discover new and innovative ways of working together for the purpose of accelerating the
economic transition of Central Appalachia.
Our work is focused in Central Appalachia, the region we define as the Appalachian counties of Ohio,
Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. We believe that the current convergence
of economic innovation, federal policy initiatives, expanded regional capacity, and regional and national
funder interest offers unprecedented opportunities to:
§ Deepen the impact and expand the scale of promising economic transition efforts
§ Develop and grow innovative approaches to building and growing wealth within the region, and
§ Leverage existing resources to increase outside investment in Appalachia's economic recovery.
The Appalachia Funders Network members operate at every scale, from community foundations to
international grant makers. The goal of the Network is to determine ways grant makers of diverse
types and sizes can work together to achieve the goals listed above and advance the economic
transition of Appalachia.
Participation in events and committees supported by the Appalachia Funders Network is open to all
members of the Network. The active involvement of our members helps us in our work to create
effective partnerships within the Network.
1.1 Membership Criteria
The Network welcomes as members those organizations and individuals that:
§ Are staff and board members from private and public agencies and organizations whose
activity is grant making, and who provide grants or investment to advance the economic
transition of Central Appalachia.
§ Share the Network’s vision of an entrepreneurial-based Appalachian economy.
§ Share a commitment to the Network’s mission and values and show an interest in enhancing
the reputation of and expanding opportunities for the Network.
1.2 Benefits of Membership
Benefits of Network membership include:
§ Networking, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration with other Network members. Includes
access to Funder Match, our private social networking site and online search tool, where
grant makers can find common points of interest. Access to an audience of well over 100
other funders in the region, as well as their grantee partners.
§ Participation in Network working groups, calls, webinars, and educational events related to a
variety of topics important to our members.
§ Discounted registration fees for the Annual Gathering and other network events.
§ Ability to shape the Network’s agenda, work plan, and future direction.
§ Ability to join the Steering Committee, Gathering Planning Team and working groups.
1.3 Expectations of Members
Members are expected to:
§ Contribute to the goals and purpose of the Network, as defined above.
§ Provide financial support to the Network, in the form of membership fees.
§ Share perspectives, lessons learned, and expertise with other members of the Network.
§ Sign up and actively participate on the Funder Match website.
In addition, we hope that all members will actively participate in one or more working groups,
attend Network events when possible, and assist the Steering Committee in planning and goal
setting to ensure a network that provides substantial benefit to its members, their grantee partners,
and the Appalachian region.
1.4 Application Process
All grant makers interested in membership are asked to complete a membership application. The
information provided therein helps the Network to build and maintain an accurate snapshot and
understanding of our members’ work. The information is intended to facilitate our ability to
understand members’ interest and help us connect members to one another based on real data.
Information about members’ funding practices and interests is not released to the public.
Those interested in becoming a member are encouraged to contact the Network Coordinator or a
Steering Committee member to set-up a preliminary conversation and receive an application form.
All applications will be pre-screened by the Network Coordinator, and then submitted to the
Steering Committee for final approval.
1.5 Removal from Membership
A member may be removed from Network membership if the Steering Committee, in its sole
discretion, determines that the member no longer meets eligibility criteria or that the member’s
actions reflect poorly on the field and/or might do harm the reputation of the Network. Such a
decision will be made in good faith using a consensus based decision making process.
Notice of the Steering Committee's action to remove a member, including a statement of the reason
for removal, will be delivered by email to the most recent email address provided by said member.
The member will be notified of the opportunity to be heard orally or in writing by the Committee.
Any annual membership fees paid by a removed member will be pro-rated to reflect the number of
weeks of membership before the effective date of removal, with the remainder to be returned minus
a 20% administration fee.
1.5 Membership Dues
Recommended levels of support are assessed based on total grant making in Appalachia in the last
full fiscal year. Fees may be paid in annual dues, as an annual grant and/or as special support for
particular activities, as long as the giving totals fall within the ranges stated below. The intent of such
fees is to ensure the commitment of members, provide continuing financial sustainability for the
Network, encourage greater participation by funders, and to reduce the inefficiencies associated with
ad hoc yearly fundraising.
*Please note for some funders, the annual dues can be determined through consultation with the Network
coordinator and the Chair of the Steering Committee.
2.0 Network Governance and Decision Making
The Steering Committee is the primary governance structure for the Appalachia Funders Network.
This Steering Committee may have up to fifteen (15) members and will be comprised of committed
grant makers seeking to develop the Network into a stronger and more influential organization while
ensuring the organization fulfills its mission. Steering Committee membership will represent grant
makers of varying size, constituency and areas of interest.
2.1 Decision Making
Network decisions will be made by the following means:
§ The primary decision-making body, as noted above, for Network membership, protocols,
strategy and work plans is the Steering Committee. The Network Coordinator is accountable
to the Steering Committee for executing strategy, work plans, and other direction. The
Network Steering Committee generally makes decisions by consensus.
§ The Steering Committee will provide opportunities for members to provide feedback about
decisions through business meetings held during the annual Network Gathering, conference
calls, webinars and regular communication through the Network’s social networking site.
2.2 Steering Committee
Goals of the Steering Committee are:
§ To be responsible for the growth, development and well-being of the Network.
§ To provide leadership, long-term planning and financial assistance to the Network.
Steering Committee members are expected to:
§ Contribute approximately 4–6 hours per week to Network activities.
§ Participate in a monthly 90 minute conference call and a yearly retreat (1-2 days).
§ Serve on at least one working group in the Network.
§ Other responsibilities include reviewing documents and providing regular feedback about
§ Develop and monitor the Network’s budget.
§ Raise money to fund Network activities.
§ Under normal circumstances, members are expected to pay for their own travel and
accommodations for Steering Committee meetings and events.
Eligibility and selection process:
§ The Network will provide an opportunity for peer and self-nominations to the Steering
Committee at the annual Gathering.
§ New members are vetted, selected and officially invited to join the Committee by current
§ The term of service will be three years, which can be renewed for a maximum of six years.
2.3 Chair of the Steering Committee
There will be one chair of the Steering Committee who will:
§ Be elected by the Steering Committee.
§ Chair all meetings.
§ Lead the Steering Committee in development of goals, policies and budget.
§ Be available for immediate support to the Network Coordinator.
§ Personally engage members and encourage participation.
§ Serve as the public spokesperson.
2.4 Network Coordinator
This section outlines the roles and tasks that the Network Coordinator manages. The basic work of
the network coordinator is to coordinate both the work of the network and its organizational
development. The Network Coordinator will:
§ Attend to and address the details of Network logistics, manage the Network’s tasks and
timelines, manage the Network’s meetings, and plan and coordinate large Network events.
§ Facilitate face-to-face meetings and conference calls, develop agendas for meetings of
Network members, and capture key reference points for the group.
§ Reflect critically on the Network’s structure in order to improve it, understand each member
of the Network and where it wants to go, ensure all of the groups within the Network are
coordinating well, and weave together the relationships of the groups within the Network.
§ Communicate regularly with members, get materials out early before calls and meetings, and
serve as a clearinghouse for network documents and information.
§ Manage the administrative needs of the Network.
§ Help the Network develop and use shared measurement and evaluation systems for its work,
and develop summary reports of outcomes.
§ Write grant proposals and reports, and assist with fundraising for Network projects.
§ Provide information to the Funders Network via Funder Match, email newsletters, websites
and other means.
§ Coordinate outreach activities for members and non-members.
2.5 Annual Gathering Planning Team
Members of the Gathering planning team are asked to:
§ Commit to monthly 90 minute calls over a 5 month period of time between the months of
from October and March.
§ Assist with the development of the Gathering agenda.
§ Identify and potentially help recruit session presenters and speakers.
§ Help coordinate activities such as site visits and the pre-conference cultural exchange event.
§ Provide local logistical support when appropriate.
§ Act as gathering ambassadors: to include such things as meet-and-greet, welcomes and/or
speaker introductions, possibly moderate a session.
§ Lead or assist with efforts to raise money for the cultural celebration and/or site visits.
3.0 Network Working Groups
Our Network working groups play a key role in helping us deepen our learning and analysis around
promising economic development efforts. Specifically, these groups connect grant makers around a
particular area of interest to accelerate the economic transition of Central Appalachia.
3.1 Purpose of Working Groups
Working groups strive to:
§ Develop a common analysis and shared vision of the opportunities and challenges within the
working group topic (i.e. Food Systems, Health, Energy, Social Justice, etc.).
§ Identify entrepreneurial investment priorities for accelerating Appalachia’s economic transition.
§ Develop a shared understanding of best practices around key investment priorities.
§ Engage funders to collaborate, leverage investments, and develop a common measurement system
around key investment priorities.
§ Engage with leading experts in the field and development practitioners to inform the group’s
collective learning and analysis.
§ Share lessons learned with other funders.
3.2 Guidelines for Starting a Working Group
Any member of the network can start a working group as long as the following criteria are met:
§ Nominate a team of co-leaders to develop agendas, facilitate calls, and set the direction of the
§ The focus of the working group contributes to the goals and purpose of the Network.
§ Two or more Network members are willing to chair the working group which includes a
o Organize and facilitate group meetings.
o Lead the working group in the development of goals and work plans.
o Personally engage members and encourage participation in working group activities.
o Potentially lead a session at the Gathering around the work of the group.
3.3 Support for Working Groups
The following support is offered to working groups:
§ The Network Coordinator, Rural Support Partners will provide basic coordination and
support to working group activities, i.e. coordinate meeting logistics, help develop agendas,
provide co-facilitation support, strategize around working group topics, and help in other
ways as needed.
4.0 Means of Communication
In order to ensure effective and on-going communication, the Network Coordinator will arrange for
and maintain the following:
§ E-mail distribution lists of members.
o Note: Contact information will not be shared with outside parties.
§ Meeting agendas, notes, and next steps for all Network related meetings.
§ Private Funder Match website and public website.
§ A quarterly newsletter sent to all members and those associated with the Network.
§ Members who wish to share information with the Network may utilize tools on Funder
Match or contact the Network Coordinator to be included in the quarterly newsletter.
5.0 Dispute Resolution
In the highly unlikely event that a critical issue or issues cannot be resolved by the Steering
Committee and that an impasse substantially threatens the work and membership of the Network,
the Steering Committee will:
§ Identify and clarify the issue or issues at impasse.
§ Seek an agreed upon, independent, external party to assist the Steering Committee in
overcoming the impasse.
§ Participate in a dispute resolution process, in an established time frame, with the external
party noted above, in a good faith effort to bridge differences and overcome the impasse.