QEW in Practice

For over twenty years Quaker Earthcare Witness has evolved and developed a way of doing its business. This manual of practices has been created to document the decisions that have led to this point.  This will always serve as a working document and change from time to time to assist us now and in the future.

Article I. Membership

Any one who is a recorded member or a recognized participant in a Friends Meeting or other Friends organization who expresses or demonstrates a commitment to Quaker Earthcare Witness’s Statement of Purpose, supports Quaker Earthcare Witness activities through participation, communication, and/or financial contribution, and relates Quaker Earthcare Witness’s goals and activities to Friends and to other religious and/or environmental organizations can be a member of QEW.

Article II. Steering Committee

Section 1. Composition

a) Size

1) The Steering Committee shall have a maximum size of 50 members. There shall be two classes of members: representative members and members-at-large.

b) Representative Members

1) Each Yearly Meeting or similar regional association of the Religious Society of Friends in North and Central America and the Caribbean is invited to appoint not more than two representatives (or one representative and one alternate) to serve on the Steering Committee.

c) Members-at-Large

1) The Nominating Committee will nominate five members-at-large each year for three year terms. The number of panel members could be increased in a given year if necessary.

d) Members of QEW serve on the Steering Committee as members-at-large when nominated by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Steering Committee (or Continuing Counsel Committee acting on behalf of the Steering Committee).

Section 2. Functions

a) The Steering Committee meets to:

1) Attend to the activities and affairs of the organization,

2) Receive reports,

3) Approve policies and priorities,

4) Appoint a nominating committee and approve nominations, and

5) Adopt a budget.

Section 3. Terms of Office

a) Members-at-large serve three-year terms with the possible renewal of two three-year terms (maximum nine years, unless the Steering Committee makes an exception), beginning at the close of the Annual Gathering. Nominating Committee will recommend a second or third three-year term for at-large members who prove to be of good service.

b) Representative members serve at the pleasure of the organizations appointing them.

Section 4. Vacancies

a) Vacancies of at-large members that occur between annual gatherings may be filled by the Nominating Committee with approval of the Continuing Counsel Committee. Yearly Meetings may replace vacancies at their convenience.

Article III. Meetings

Section 1. Site location and dates

The Steering Committee shall meet twice a year in face to face meetings.  These meetings will be held at a time and place selected by the Steering Committee.

During the balance of the year members of the Steering Committee are expected to meet on a regular basis with their selected committee, working group, and project.  These meetings are to be held by email exchange, telephone conference calls, and other electronic means of communication.

Section 2. Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting, the meeting held for legal purposes to fulfill corporation law, is not a part of QEW’s business meetings or Annual Gathering in particular.  It may be held electronically by the Continuing Counsel Committee during one of their electronically conducted meetings. 

a) The Annual Meeting of the organization shall take place with the date and manner to be determined by the Steering Committee.

b) The Continuing Counsel Committee shall notify the Steering Committee of the agenda of official business to be conducted during the Annual Meeting.

c) One purpose of this meeting is to comply with national and state regulations requiring organizations to have at least one organizational meeting each year.

Section 3. Annual Gathering

a) An annual gathering of all interested individuals to meet with the Steering Committee to address items of concern as they relate to the organization’s purpose.

b) Notice of this meeting shall be sent to the Steering Committee members at least 60 days in advance, with the agenda made available at least 20 days in advance of the meeting.

c) The agenda shall include those items listed in Article II, Section 2. To choose a Nominating Committee, a Naming Committee shall be designated from the floor early in the Annual Gathering. The Naming Committee shall bring forward nominations for the Nominating Committee before the close of the Annual Gathering. The new Nominating Committee is charged with bringing forward nominations at the next Annual Gathering.

Section 4. Steering Committee Meeting

a) The Steering Committee shall conduct a meeting in the spring and/or summer of each year. Each member of the committee shall be notified at least 60 days in advance.

Section 5. Special Meetings

a) Special meetings of the Steering Committee may be called by the clerk or by petition of at least five members of the Steering Committee. Notice of the agenda of such meetings shall be sent to the Steering Committee at least 20 days in advance of the meeting.

Section 6. Decisions in meetings

a) Decisions in meetings shall be made by a sense of the meeting of those in attendance after the manner of the Religious Society of Friends. Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded and kept on file. Copies of the minutes shall be distributed to the members of the Steering Committee in a reasonable period of time following the meeting.

Article IV. Officers

Section 1. Selection 

a) The officers of the organization shall be the clerk, incoming alternate clerk or mentoring alternate clerk, recording clerk or clerks as needed, and treasurer.  They shall be members of the Steering Committee.  They shall be proposed by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Steering Committee at the Annual Gathering.

b) The year prior to the member’s first year as clerk, the member shall serve as incoming alternate clerk. The year following his or her last year as clerk, the member shall serve as mentoring alternate clerk.

Section 2. Term of Office

a) The member serving as clerk shall serve no more than one term of two successive years, unless it is determined by the Steering Committee that it is in the best interests of the organization to have the member continue in this role. No individuals shall serve as recording clerk more than one term of three successive years, unless it is determined by the Steering Committee that it is in the best interests of the organization to have the member continue in this role. The treasurer shall serve one term of three successive years with no more than two successive terms, unless it is determined by the Steering Committee that it is in the best interests of the organization to have the member continue in this role. New officers shall begin their terms at the close of the Annual Gathering.

Section 3. Duties

a) The duties of the officers shall be those generally performed by such officers.

b) The clerk can review and authorize any unanticipated, unbudgeted expenses up to $300. The clerk will notify the General Secretary and clerk of the Finance Committee of this authorization.

Section 4. Compensation

a) Persons shall not receive compensation for serving as officers.

Article V. Committees

Section 1. Standing Committees

a) Standing committees include Continuing Counsel, Spiritual Nurturance, Publications, Finance, Nominating, Outreach and Personnel Committees. Standing committees are permanent committees responsible for the administrative operations and the spiritual life of Quaker Earthcare Witness. Every member of the Steering Committee shall serve on a Standing Committee.

Section 2. Standing Committee Functions

a) Continuing Counsel Committee

The Continuing Counsel Committee will consist of the clerks of the committees, working groups and projects, the officers (Clerk, Assistant Clerk, Recording Clerk or Clerks as needed and Treasurer) and staff (General Secretary and Publications Coordinator).  The Continuing Counsel Committee will have meetings throughout the year to tend to the business of the organization between face to face meetings of the Steering Committee.  One of these meetings will act as the Annual Meeting of the organization. It is empowered to act on behalf of the Steering Committee when the latter is not in session to take care of occasional time sensitive administrative matters and/or decisions that cannot wait until the next Steering Committee session. The Continuing Counsel Committee shall report its actions to the next meeting of the Steering Committee.

Duties include:

1) Monitor the organization’s performance and ensure the organization’s focus (and that of its staff and committees).

2) Provide oversight for standing committees and consult with clerks of those committees as needed.

3) Provide consultative support, as requested, to the clerk in planning for upcoming meetings.

4) Provide consultative support to the staff as requested.

5) Provide consultative support to the Personnel Committee and clerks of other affected committees in the case that staff performance problems arise.

6) Provide to the Steering Committee meeting agendas and a report on actions taken while the Steering Committee was not in session.

7) Develop and/or review and refine proposals before presentation to the Steering Committee.

8) Review and approve any requests for unanticipated, unbudgeted expenses over $300.

9) Handle any concerns or items of business that are beyond the areas of responsibility otherwise defined, and that cannot wait until the next session of the Steering Committee.

b) Spiritual Nurturance Committee

The Spiritual Nurturance Committee shall give continuing attention to the need for all Quaker Earthcare Witness activities to be spiritually grounded and consistent with its statement of purpose.

c) Publications Committee

The Publications Committee shall be responsible for implementing a policy of publications; reviewing of content, publication and distribution of printed materials, including BeFriending Creation, our regular newsletter, pamphlets and booklets; and overseeing the web site and social media sites.  It shares oversight of the Publications Coordinator with the Personnel Committee, and develops and updates the Publications Coordinator ’s job description.

d) Finance and Development Committee

The Finance and Development Committee shall consist of the treasurer and at least two other persons from the Steering Committee. It shall recommend fiscal and accounting policy and contract terms for any salaried employee (in consultation with the Personnel Committee) and consult with the treasurer on the preparation of the budget. The Finance and Development Committee is responsible for making sure that QEW investments and financial affiliations are consistent with Quaker beliefs. The treasurer may not serve as clerk of the committee.

1) The treasurer shall be the person with the responsibility of being the primary signer for all QEW bank accounts.

2)  In order to have access to QEW bank accounts and the information concerning these accounts, the clerk of the Finance and Development Committee and the General Secretary shall be named as alternate signers for all QEW bank accounts.

3)  The treasurer shall open and close bank accounts, when necessary, in the name of Quaker Earthcare Witness.

e) Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee shall consist of three persons each serving one three-year term. Openings on the Nominating Committee shall be filled by the Steering Committee after consideration of names brought forward by the Naming Committee (see Article III, Section 2, e). The committee shall select its own clerk. The committee's function is to bring forward nominations for officers, clerks of standing committees, members-at-large of the Steering Committee, and any other positions referred to it. An annual slate of nominations is to be presented for approval at the Annual Gathering. Interim nominations may be presented for approval of the Steering Committee or Continuing Counsel Committee as needed. Members of the Nominating Committee will assist the clerks of the standing committees in filling their committee membership.

f) Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee shall encourage individuals and groups to support Quaker Earthcare Witness through participation, communication, and/or financial contributions and assist Quaker Earthcare Witness committees and staff to stay in two-way communication with one another.  They are to gather news from affiliated local and yearly meetings, and communicate the news and events involving Quakers worldwide to our affiliates. The Outreach Committee is responsible for communications such as the various listservs the organization maintains.  It maintains records of known supporters.  The Outreach Committee shall have responsibility for the programmatic activities of the organization.

g) Personnel Committee

The Personnel Committee has oversight of the General Secretary and other office personnel and coordinates with the Publications Committee on the oversight of the Publications Coordinator.  It develops and updates personnel policies, reviews all staff members and recommends salary and benefits to the Finance Committee.

h) Other Committees

Other committees may be established as needed.

Section 2. Clerks of Standing Committees

a) Committee clerks shall be Steering Committee members nominated by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Steering Committee. Clerks will be appointed for two-year terms, not normally to exceed three successive terms.

b) Establishment of Committee Memberships—Clerks of the standing committees, except the Continuing Counsel Committee, will appoint the members of their committees with the assistance of the current members of the committees and the Nominating Committee, as needed.

c) The clerk of the Steering Committee will serve as clerk of the Continuing Counsel Committee.

Section 3. Working Groups and Projects

a) Working groups and projects are sub-groups of Quaker Earthcare Witness that have concrete, ongoing programs but do not necessarily directly support the administrative operations or the spiritual life of Quaker Earthcare Witness.  Existing working groups and projects include Sustainability: Faith and Action Working Group, United Nations Support Working Group, the FCNL Support Working Group, the No Name Working Group and the Finca La Bella Project.

b) An individual or group of Steering Committee members with a leading or concern may submit a written proposal with a budget request and recommended term to the Steering Committee, or the Continuing Counsel Committee when the Steering Committee is not in session, to establish a new working group and project. The Steering Committee is responsible for approval of the proposal.

c) Members of the working group and project are self selected. In consultation with the working group or project, the Nominating Committee shall nominate a clerk, who shall be a member of the Steering Committee and shall be approved by the Steering Committee.

d) A working group and project may request Steering Committee approval to raise its own funds instead of drawing funds from the general operating budget.

e) At the end of the initial term (and each subsequent term) the working group and project shall ask the Steering Committee for approval of a term extension or to be laid down.

Section 4. Ad Hoc Committees

a) Ad hoc committees shall be those committees that are established for specific, short-term purposes.

b) An ad hoc committee shall be created by the Steering Committee or the Continuing Counsel Committee when the Steering Committee is not in session, with budget requirements and term length.

c) Members of the ad hoc committee will be named and approved by the Steering Committee or the Continuing Counsel Committee if the Steering Committee is not in session. At least one member of the ad hoc committee shall be a member of the Steering Committee.

d) During its first meeting the ad hoc committee shall name its own clerk. The clerk is not required to be a Steering Committee member.

e) At the end of the initial term (and each subsequent term) the ad hoc committee shall ask the steering Committee for approval of a term extension or to be laid down. 

Article VI. Representatives to Friends Committee on National Legislation

Section 1. Function

a) Three members of the Steering Committee shall serve as representatives to Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Section 2. Selection

a) Each year at the Annual Gathering, the Nominating Committee shall name and the Steering Committee shall approve a representative to the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Each representative shall serve a three year term and shall serve no more than two successive terms, unless it is determined by the Steering Committee that it is in the best interests of the organization to have the representative continue in that role.

Article VII. Fiscal Matters

Section 1. Assets

a) The assets of this organization are irrevocably dedicated to educational and religious purposes. On the termination of this organization, its assets after payment of all debts and liabilities shall be transferred to a non-profit educational or religious organization of similar concern or intent.

Section 2. Expenditures

a) All checks, drafts, demands for money and notes of the organization shall be signed in the name of the organization by the treasurer. Unbudgeted expenditures up to $300 may be paid by the treasurer with approval of the clerk. All other unbudgeted expenditures must be approved by the Continuing Counsel Committee.

Section 3. Fiscal Year

a) The fiscal year shall begin on the first day of November.

Article VIII. Changes to our Practice

Changes to our practice happen on a recurring basis.  They are brought before the Steering Committee, having been vetted by the appropriate standing committee, working group or project assembled for that purpose, and approved and minuted.  These minutes will become a part of this document (in appendix) and revisions to existing wording changed to reflect these minutes.

Minutes Approving Change:

SC.Minute.2012.10.02. Friends approved when hiring new staff, if it is not timely to bring the ad hoc Search Committee's recommendation to the whole Steering Committee, the search committee can bring its recommendation to the CCC for approval. Hiring of a new General Secretary would be timed to come to the SC for approval.

SC.Minute.2012.10.04 Friends approved that staff report to and are accountable to the General Secretary, Personnel Committee and appropriate committees. The GS reports to and is accountable to the SC through the Personnel Committee and the CCC.

SC.Minute.2012.10.05 At the request of CCC, Friends approved a change in the wording of our written Practice to establish 2 recording clerks with one serving during e-meetings. The revised wording calls for “a clerk or clerks, as needed.” The legal change to the Bylaws will be made in Jan 2013.