We are always looking for dynamic, motivated people to serve on our Board of Directors. Serving on the board is a rewarding experience and an extraordinary opportunity for personal and professional growth. If you are considering board service, here is some information that will help you make the decision.
Who we are
The Alliance Board of Directors looks a lot like the Alliance: farmers and eaters who care a lot about a just and sustainable food and farm system, and value the health and continuity of the Alliance. We are a group of 12 to 15 members from all walks of life who live all over Illinois.
As Alliance members, we all care passionately about building an Illinois where farmers earn a living responsibly stewarding the land and feeding our communities, people can easily and affordably find and buy local food, and every Illinoisian enjoys vibrant, resilient, and healthy communities. As board members, we go the extra mile to assure that the Alliance remains a healthy, financially viable organization able to assist Illinois in moving toward this vision well into the future.
Each board member commits for a two-year term with an option to renew twice for a total of six years of service.
Four executive officers lead the board: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These officer roles are renewed every year at the beginning of the year.
What we do
While day-to-day operations of the organization are led by the executive director and staff, the board plays a key role in the organization:
- We are trusted advisors to the executive director as s/he implements the Alliance’s strategic plan.
- We stay up to date on things happening at the Alliance and help with “big picture” issues.
- We review and approve the annual budget, finances, and annual audit.
- We evaluate the executive director (along with staff)
- We work to build awareness of the great work the Alliance does.
- We work to build our membership base and broaden support for the Alliance.
- We say “thank you” a lot! To donors, members, funders, and others.
- We participate in events like our Annual Meeting, Summer Shindigs and The Harvest Celebration.
How we do it
The board establishes a schedule of meetings for the year. In 2022, the board proposed to meet monthly for about an hour on Zoom (third Wednesday of the month at noon). Once a year, we have a day-long retreat in person with the staff (in June of 2022). This gives us a much needed chance to connect in person, catch up on deeper dive issues and build community.
Typical Annual Calendar:
- Work with staff to evaluate the executive director and discuss salary
- Update the board officer positions (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer)
- Review the Annual Audit (reviewed and approved by the President)
- Alliance Annual Meeting
- Alliance lobby day in Springfield (typically in April)
- Day-long retreat with staff in June
- Alliance Summer Shindig regional gatherings
- Harvest Celebration Fundraiser
- Begin discussing any bylaws or board changes (term limits, new members, new officers)
- Review the budget for upcoming year
Think of these as steering committees. Committees pay particular attention to specific aspects of board responsibilities, making sure things are moving forward. Every board member serves on a committee and each committee has a chair. It is up to the committee to determine meeting schedules.
- Internal Affairs – responsible for the budget, director evaluation, reviews of any internal processes and procedures needing attention.
- External Affairs – Fundraising, Social Media Outreach, Events, Community Relations
- Governance – board member/officer recruitment, Orientation and Onboarding of board members, Maintenance of board records
Fundraising and Outreach:
We ask that each board member be an active financial contributor to the Alliance at an amount that is meaningful to you. There is no stipulation on how much, but an annual contribution from 100% of the board of directors reflects commitment to the organization..
There are other important ways board members actively promote the Alliance. Here are some:
- Telling friends, chatting about the good work the Alliance does
- Cultivate and share contacts with the Alliance – other organizations, people who are involved in good work promoting stewardship of Illinois farms and local food production, etc.
- Call members and donors to say “thank you”
- Sharing e-newsletters, promoting events, etc.
- Sharing good news stories, articles, calls to action on social media platforms. Tagging the Alliance through Instagram, Twitter, etc. Following our social media pages. Asking others to do the same.
Board service is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual who is passionate about the Alliance’s mission. Candidates come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, including in business, agriculture, food, government, legal, education, social service, philanthropy, HR, marketing, and the nonprofit sector. Helpful experience for board candidates include:
- Able to strengthen the organization because of the expertise they bring from their business or professional background.
- Leadership experience
- Skills and an interest in cultivating relationships among diverse individuals
- Integrity, credibility, and a passion for building a more just and regenerative food system
- Adds diversity to the mix of individuals comprising the board, including age, gender, race, background, expertise, etc.
Questions? Want more information? Here are some board members you can reach out to:
- Shari O’Donnell, President
- Melissa Schwoerer, Vice President
- Emily Wright, Treasurer
- Kendra Boesdorfer, Secretary
If you are interested in serving on the Alliance board, please complete this interest form and a member of the board will follow up with you. This application is used by the Board’s Nominating Committee to identify and evaluate potential board candidates. All new directors are elected by a majority vote of current board members.