Board Member Position Announcement
*If you are interested in becoming a board member or learning more, please contact Clara Vista Executive Director Tammy Stone at Tammy@claravista.org.
The Clara Vista Foundation is a community-driven development organization working closely with partners in Venado, Costa Rica. We strongly believe in a grassroots development model that promotes community member agency and leadership. Being a startup organization, our board is almost entirely composed of motivated young professionals looking to make a difference through innovative development approaches.
Currently, our organization is at a tipping point. We’ve developed robust programs to empower Venado residents and have a deep connection with the community. Our fundraising has also been on a strong trajectory in which we have increased our annual funding from $5,000 to over $25,000 in fewer than five years. We are ready to expand our organizational operations and seek professional guidance in order to be successful in our growth.
Clara Vista is looking for three new diverse and experienced board members to lead our organization. Clara Vista’s Board of Directors would be dedicated to the organization’s mission of promoting sustainable community-driven development through empowerment and social mobilization. The board leaders that we seek have experience in non-profit scale-up, successful staff management and diversifying funding sources. Board members would start a two-year term in beginning as soon as possible. Recently, Clara Vista has gained momentum building relationships in the rural village of Venado, Costa Rica and will implement our first Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) in 2017 as a proof-of-concept for our development framework (described below). The SDP highlights community-defined needs that have the greatest potential to improve the quality of life in Venado. However, the actual impact of the plan is highly dependent on our capacity as an organization. Clara Vista requires strong and experienced board leadership to guide us through challenging decisions as we grow as a nonprofit organization and achieve our vision of scaling up to other communities in Costa Rica and worldwide.
Immediate operational goals of Clara Vista include increasing and diversifying our funding revenue and hiring a full-time Executive Director to lead in achieving program objectives and enhance the organization’s professional capacity. Therefore, potential board members with a successful fundraising/development record and/or scaling up organizations in their start-up cycle are especially welcome to apply.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
We are currently recruiting for diverse leaders with expertise in the following areas:
- Fundraising development and strategic planning
- International development and capacity building
- Strategic public relations and outreach
- Nonprofit legal expertise
- Nonprofit governance
Clara Vista’s development framework ensures community engagement and empowerment. It focuses on enhancing leadership skills so community members can successfully manage projects and eventually take control of their own development. The framework walks community leaders through the process of identifying community needs, crafting holistic solutions that leverage local partnerships, implementing projects, and continuously reflecting and adapting their program. Clara Vista uses five year-sustainable development plans (SDP) to organize the community’s scope of projects and to intentionally reflect on their impact.
As Clara Vista works with partnering communities to create this five-year plan we gain a deeper understanding of their culture and resources available. We use this understanding to determine a "Sustainability Strategy" which outlines the community’s long-term vision and how to strengthen capacity to reach their goals.
Our framework was initially created by Tammy Stone as a result of her Masters research and is a combination of frameworks from Cooperation for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), Namsaling Community Development Center (NCDC) and Bernard Amadei’s book "A Systems Approach to Modeling Community Development Projects".
Clara Vista is a growing nonprofit organization. We are working with Venado to demonstrate and improve our development framework as a proof-of-concept. With every trip, we are increasingly gaining trust and building local relationships. In 2013, we founded the Neighbor’s Association of Venado (Asociación de Vecinos de Venado). The association has already become proactive in managing their own community projects including the installation of a new well and plaza lights for night-time soccer games and events. Both projects were funded by the local municipality, who has been very supportive and has provided several workshops at the community center. More and more locals have been engaged in our workshops and programs.
Last February, we completed our first five-year SDP for Venado (check it out here). This project was a culmination of two years of the following work:
- Founded a local leadership organization - Asociación de Vecinos de Venado (August 2013)
- Founded a community center to act as a platform for community projects (January 2014)
- Worked with leaders to understand trends in development (July 2014)
- Categorized community goals into sectors (January 2015)
- Developed and implemented a household survey to measure community-defined goals (July 2015)
- Hosted participatory problem identification and prioritization workshops (January 2016)
- Hosted participatory solution identification and prioritization workshops (July 2016)
- Hosted participatory workshops to finalize and confirm Venado’s Five-Year action plan (January 2017)
This SDP is our first major product as an organization and is a key milestone. The plan has been crafted together with the community of Venado which has instilled a strong feeling of ownership within Venado’s leaders. In order to uphold the relationships that we’ve worked so hard to establish, we need to deliver a high level of service and ensure successful implementation. This will require a substantial increase in the amount of effort required of Clara Vista volunteers. It is expected that more time will be required for:
- Stakeholder management and engagement
- Communication with the Associación de Vecinos de Venado
- Communication with the community center assistant
- Coordination of workshops at the community center
- General project management
- Project monitoring and evaluation
- Fundraising to support new projects
- Recognition of high-priority donors
With more projects and a higher potential for impact comes increased risk. Clara Vista is going to need strong board leadership and experienced members to guide us through tough decisions. As more effort is necessary, we will need to bring on more help and will look towards our Board of Directors for guidance on hiring staff and managing volunteers.
Additionally, we need to ensure that we have a strong financial plan to support the commitments we make to Venado through our SDP.
In addition to guidance with our programs, we are also seeking guidance on our internal operations. For example, our by-laws, vision, and mission need to be reviewed. We are also looking to convert our organizational framework from having a combined executive director and the board president to separating those roles.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
We are currently recruiting for diverse leaders with expertise in the following areas:
Clara Vista seeks guidance in making tough decisions as our organization grows. We are looking for leaders with entrepreneurship experience that understand the risks, decision-making, and energy involved in starting up an organization.
2. Fundraising development and strategic planning
Venado’s SDP is a commitment that Clara Vista is making to Venado. It is essential that we have a diverse and resilient fundraising portfolio so we uphold our commitment and our local relationships. We are seeking leaders with experience in strategic financial planning that have a strong network with potential funding sources.
3. International development and capacity building
In the end, Clara Vista is an international development organization and it is essential that we have professional guidance from leaders with experience in sustainable development planning with rural impoverished communities (especially medium/high risk communities with low capacity).
4. Strategic public relations and outreach
As our programs require more funding, it is becoming more and more important to recognize, appreciate, and leverage existing donors as well as attract new donors. Clara Vista seeks guidance in developing a strategic communication plan that aims to grow and strengthen our community of support.
Clara Vista hopes to draw new and diverse leaders that have experience in building organizational leadership. This is not only to help Clara Vista grow internally, but also for Clara Vista to inspire leadership in our partnering communities, which is our underlying goal.
6. Nonprofit legal expertise
As Clara Vista grows it is increasingly important that we uphold our 501(c)3 nonprofit status and report appropriately to the IRS.
7. Nonprofit governance
A strong and effective board is required to fully realize our potential for good. As Clara Vista grows, we need guidance in ensuring good governance practices that instill leadership, direction, and accountability.
Board members are expected to:
- Attend monthly board meetings.
- Read board materials in advance of board meetings and come prepared to ask questions and participate in discussions.
- Actively participate in committee work.
- Play an active role in securing the financial resources necessary for Clara Vista to achieve its mission.
- Leverage personal relationships and connections to help the development committee and staff identify and solicit potential funders.
- Responsibly represent Clara Vista to their respective communities and to advocate for Clara Vista’s mission, programs, and services as appropriate.
- Read and understand Clara Vista’s financial statements and otherwise help the board fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities.
Our ideal board member:
- Attends meetings regularly
- Accepts and completes tasks
- Is a team player
- Thinks collaboratively and constructively
- Treats peers respectfully
- Is not motivated by personal agendas
- Discloses conflicts of interest
- Participates in discussions, but does not monopolize discussions
- Understands when it is time to retire and let someone else get actively involved
- Does not betray confidentiality
Short-term goals of the board of directors include determining a seasonal board schedule, reviewing our bylaws, reviewing our internal structure, finalizing our Standard Operation Procedures, guiding Clara Vista in hiring our first employee, and performing a board self-assessment.
Ongoing tasks of the board of directors include evaluate Clara Vista’s vision, mission and direction; assessing our financial health; ensuring the organization has sufficient and appropriate human resources; maintaining effective relations with stakeholders; and evaluating the executive director.
- Program Management
- Legal (General)
- Executive Admin
- Business Development
- Community Outreach
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Orientation or Training
- 2-4 hours per month