These new Bylaws will allow the organization to better pursue the priorities outlined in our 2019-2024 strategic plan, particularly with regard to community engagement and organizational sustainability. By removing barriers to participation, including removing the photo ID requirement and establishing more accessible voting procedures, the Whittier Alliance will be able to engage more community members in matters of the neighborhood. Structural changes to the organization, including added flexibility to Acting Committee work and a clear, transparent process for filling board vacancies, will allow both staff and community members to better maintain the important work of the organization on behalf of the neighborhood.
These changes have been informed by relationships and conversations with business owners, residents, and property owners through formal and informal meetings, events, and one-on-one conversations over the past three years. Board and Task Force members engaged in numerous deep, complex, and thoughtful discussions; they conducted comparisons with other neighborhood organizations’ Bylaws; and they sought a number of consultations with the neighborhood organization lawyer and City staff. You can view the project timeline, including the voting process and Task Force members here.
Beyond the Board's commitment to meeting community demands for removing barriers to participation, the City of Minneapolis’ newly-approved funding and program structure will include a review of our Bylaws beginning in April 2021; these changes ensure Whittier Alliance can continue to qualify for City funding. For example, neighborhood organizations must allow for Board candidate nominations to be taken from the floor of an annual meeting, and they must accept non-photo ID options for membership verification.
During the January 14th, 2021 virtual meeting, which kicked off the seven day voting period, community members shared their thoughts and asked questions about the proposed bylaws. One community member noted “I’m loving how much work went into this, and how these Bylaws were written with the hope of representing folks who make up our neighborhood that haven’t been invited to the table, rather than a misplaced fear or excluding folks who already have power and influence.” Another said “It's clear that passion for community building towards a better future is present and thriving.”
Thank you to everyone who weighed in throughout this process in different ways. Whittier is fortunate to have passionate community members who care about the well-being of this organization, even if they don’t always agree on how best to reach that goal. We believe Bylaws should be a living document, reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that we are operating in a way that supports our mission and the changing realities around us. All comments and questions submitted during the virtual meeting are available for review in the official meeting minutes. There you will also find comments from submitted ballots, compiled anonymously, expanding on the reasoning behind members’ votes and suggestions for the Whittier Alliance. (Note: If you indicated you would like to be followed up with by a staff or board member on your submission, we will ensure this happens in the next month.)
We are so grateful you are part of our neighborhood and community, and thank you to those of you who participated in this process. We are motivated and committed to continue on this journey of Whittier Alliance becoming a more equitable, more just organization that supports and connects members of our Whittier community, with a focus on those most often excluded in our society. We hope you’ll join us!
The Whittier Alliance Board of Directors
For more information about this process, the proposal, and the special meeting is available on the Special Meeting page.