By - Laws

The role of the executive committee is to foster and strengthen relationship with other community partners, including other Caribbean Associations, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, or businesses which serve the Caribbean American Community. 

The bylaws define the make-up, governance, rights and responsibilities of C.H.A.T.T. and its’ members.  They also define specific rules, which may be unique to C.H.A.T.T., which cannot be suspended, but must be adhered to during our meetings and at formal events.

This document is the set of guidelines, policies and procedures that the officers, members, visitors and guest of C.H.A.T.T., Charlotte, and NC will abide by in all operational activities.

All C.H.A.T.T. officers’ first priority is to SERVE THE MEMBERSHIP!   We must foster a positive attitude at all times.

C.H.A.T.T. By Laws

 

By- Laws

 

The Association will be located in Charlotte, North Carolina and will be governed by its Articles of Incorporation, as a nonprofit organization, its Bylaws and seated Executive Committee.

 

The Association is organized for the purpose of which, as set forth in the articles of incorporation, are exclusively charitable and educational within the meaning of section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. It is the mission of the organization to operate as a nonprofit agency, to introduce and share our culture to the Charlotte community through educational, and cultural programs, to enhance our communities by finding and providing resources and services for our members and families, to foster the development of trade and investment opportunities between the city of Charlotte and Trinidad and Tobago, and to collaborate with other Caribbean associations/organizations to provide economic, cultural and scholastic programs geared to deserving youth.

 

The Association is prohibited, under the Articles of Incorporation from carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and will not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of,  or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. No part of the net earnings of the Association shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, officers or other private persons, except that the Association shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in the furtherance of purposes as outlined in the mission statement.

 

In the event of the dissolution of the Association, as a nonprofit organization, its assets should be distributed equally to the Charlotte, North Carolina chapter of a medical nonprofit association.

 

The role of the executive committee is to foster and strengthen relationships with other community partners, including other Caribbean Associations, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, or businesses which serve the Caribbean American Community.

 

The bylaws define the make-up, governance, rights and responsibilities of C.H.A.T.T. and its’ members. They also define specific rules, which may be unique to C.H.A.T.T., which cannot be suspended, but must be adhered to during our meetings and at formal events.

 

This document is the set of guidelines, policies and procedures that the officers, members, visitors and guest of C.H.A.T.T., Charlotte, and NC will abide by in all operational activities.

 

All officers’ first priority is to SERVE THE MEMBERSHIP! We must foster a positive attitude at all times.

 

Section 1: The initial Officers of the Organization shall be as follows:

 

The following elected officers constitute the Executive Committee:

President, Vice President, Director of Finance, Executive Director, and such assistants and advisors appointed by the officers.

 

            The following positions are appointed:

Director of Marketing & Branding, Director of Membership, Director of Web and Media Technology, Director of Scholarships and Grants, and other positions deemed appropriate by the executive board.

 

 Section 2: Election of Officers. Election of new officers will occur as the last item of business at the November/December meeting of the organization. Nominations are to be listed at the September/October meeting. During the November/December meeting, the election of Officers shall be by a simple majority of the “Paid/Voting” members of the organization. .

 

Section 3: Number, Terms, Qualifications. Officers shall serve staggered two (2) year terms.  The President, Director of Finance & Sergeant of Arms/Parliamentarian shall be elected for an odd year and the Vice President, and Executive Director, will be elected on an even year.  All may be re-elected for no more than two (2) consecutive terms in the same position. The year/term begins January l and ending December 31

 

Section 3.2: Qualifications

To be eligible for office of C.H.A.T.T. as well as an appointed committee chair, a member must be in good standing (financial, active) attend monthly general meetings/CHATT events at least four to six months prior to the time of their election or nomination and throughout their terms of office. Candidates must exhibit good faith organization participation to qualify to run for office. 
The Director of Finance and/or the Executive Director will check the status of each member who runs for office or is appointed to a position within C.H.A.T.T.
No member shall simultaneously hold more than one of the following positions: “President, Vice President, Director of Finance, Executive Director and Sergeant of Arms/Parliamentarian”.
All Nominees for office must communicate to the members: their qualifications/skills for the position, their goals, how they plan to serve. .

 

Section 4: It is the responsibility of the Officers to conduct all the business of the organization in proper manner.

 

Section 4:1 Established Officer Criteria for C.H.A.T.T.

Interested in supporting the cause of the organization
Shares the vision and values of the organization
Brings excellent credibility and visibility to the organization
Represents the organization in a professional manner
Will help in any way needed
Has the time to commit to the organization

 

 

Section 4:2 Overall board Responsibilities

Help define organization’s philosophy, vision and policies.
Help guide and monitor programs to comply with board vision, focus and goals.
Help define and support short and long range plans to achieve vision, focus and goals.
Be a generous support of the organizations work.
Help oversee financial health of the organization
Share time, talent, and resources in the growth and development of the organization.
Membership recruitment, fundraising and charitable giving.

 

 

Section 5: Resignation, Termination. Resignation by an Officer must be in writing and received by the Executive Director. An Officer may be removed from office at a special or regular meeting of the membership by the affirmative vote of the majority of members present. A two-thirds vote of the paid members will be required to expel the President for cause.  A request for termination of any member for cause must be submitted to the Executive Director.  The Executive Director will review this request at the next Board meeting obtaining approval for presentation to the general membership to vote on member’s removal.

 

Section 5.1: In the event a Board member is absent from three (3) consecutive regular meeting, that member will be contacted by the President of the board.  If, in the event a Board member is absent from five (5) consecutive regular Board meetings during any term, he/she will be automatically removed from the Board   The Executive Director shall submit his/her name at the next regular meeting of the Board whereupon this action may be reversed by half (1/2) vote of the Directors present and voting.

 

Section 6: Vacancies. When a vacancy of an Officer exists, nominations for new Officer may be received from the “Voting” members in attendance at the following monthly meeting. These nominations will be sent out in the monthly minutes or newsletter to all “Voting” members and will be voted upon at the next monthly meeting. The vacancy will be filled only to the end of the vacated Officer’s term.

 

 

Section 7: President. Shall be the spokesperson of the organization and ensure that the organization operates within the bylaws established by the membership. The President will conduct the monthly meetings, appoint committees, and call special meetings as required. The President will see that all the resolutions of the Executive Committee are carried into effect and will have the right to make all decisions as to policy and otherwise that may arise between meetings of the Committee. The President will be empowered and authorized to sign checks, drafts and any other orders for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the Association and will be authorized to enter into any contract or agreement in the name of C.H.A.T.T , along with the Executive Director.

 

Section 8: Vice President. Shall assume the responsibilities of the President in her or his absence and will have the authority and exercise the powers of the President in such absence! The Vice President will actively work with the Director of Finance on establishing operating budgets for organization functions, act as a co-signer for organization checks and will perform such other duties as the Executive Committee may prescribe from time to time or as the President may delegate.

 

Section 9: Executive Director. Shall record the minutes of organization meetings and keep historical records.  The Executive Director will be responsible for preparing and signing all official correspondence on behalf of the organization as directed by the President and/ or Executive Committee and give notice of all meetings. The Executive Director assists the Director of Membership in maintaining a current roster of membership.

 

Section 10: Director of Finance. Shall have care and custody of all monies belonging to the organization, they Will be responsible for developing and reviewing fiscal procedures along with presenting monthly and annual status of finances to the membership. The Director of Finance and the President (or his designee) are the only required signatures for check writing. The Director of Finance will be the custodian of all financial records, shall maintain records of paid membership dues and assist in the collection of such dues.

 

Section 11: Director of Marketing and Branding shall present an annual calendar of known or established events that are for the interest of the membership. The Director of Marketing and Branding will entertain suggestions for organization events or promotion of shows and present in the calendar as she or he deems. The Director of Marketing and Branding may appoint a committee to help organize an upcoming organization event.

 

Section 12: Director of Web and Media Technology. Shall be responsible for the content and appearance of the C.H.A.T.T. Website and will receive membership input and organize a quarterly newsletter for distribution. The Director of Web and Media Technology will pursue means of exposure for the newsletter to other organizations.

 

Section 13: Director of Membership. Shall be responsible for creating initiatives designed to attract and maintain new members to the organization. The Director of  Membership is tasked with creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere to all members and visitors to any C.H.A.T.T. function or general meetings.

 

Section 14: Director of Scholarship and Grants. Shall be responsible for creating and maintaining a sustained scholarship award program. This person shall also function as the chairperson of the Scholarship Committee and will be responsible for directing the committee in school outreach efforts, scholarship design and award, fundraising, and other such duties as may be required in this position.

 

Section 15: Detailed Roles and Responsibilities (Summary of Officers)

 

President

Preside over and conduct Executive Committee Team and General Membership meetings.
Facilitates meetings- sets agenda with executive committee
Presides over all votes - does not vote until last so that he/she can break voting ties or deadlocks in the voting process.

Protects the assembly from frivolous meeting topics and wasting time.
Countersigns checks and other legal or other financial documents.
Appoints committee chairs with the executive committee and other officers where constitutionally mandated
Provides positive motivation and morale for membership and officers.
Communicates updates and key decisions with Board Members.
Expands the membership of the association while engaging and welcoming current members.
Approve spending of operating expenses. One of the counter signers on the organization’s operating bank account with the Director of Finance.
 Encourage Exec Team and Core Team to consider event programming geared towards community services, social networking, cultural awareness, and professional development.
 Act to enhance the reputation and to protect the interest of the organization.
Fosters a cohesive team dynamic within the Exec Team and Core Team members.
Acts as a spokesperson for the community by being an effective communicator.
Receives, reviews and audits a copy of the monthly financial report after each general meeting to ensure all expenditures are properly explained and accounted for
In the absence of the President, or in the event of disability, the Executive Vice President assumes the function of the President

 

 

Vice President

Works with the Finance Director to create operating budgets for organization functions.
Serves as ex-officio member on all standing committees.
Works with the President to foster a cohesive team dynamic within the Executive Committee and Core Team members.
In the case of resignation, removal of the President, the Vice President AUTOMATICALLY becomes president for the unexpired term, unless the By-laws expressly call for a new election.
One of the counter signer’s on the organization’s operating bank account with the Director of Finance.

 

Executive Director

Responsible for recording and publishing general meeting and Executive Committee Team minutes within one week of the meeting held.
Record absent members for missing meetings and include in meeting minutes.
Is custodian of records and minutes of meetings and proceedings
Signs all certified copies of Acts of the society  
Maintains the organizational seal and affixes to all contracts and other instruments 
Countersigns with the President all requisitions for disbursement of funds. 
Responsible for maintaining all organizational correspondence
Informs members, via notice of each meeting or call meeting as directed by the Executive Board.
Is next in line as presiding officer in the absence of the President and  Vice President

 

 

Director of Finance

Responsible for the solicitation, disbursement and accounting of operating funds.
Approves spending of operating expenses, oversee reimbursement of operating expenses.
Responsible for the association’s fiscal well being, including directing the budget process, collecting assessments.
Ensuring that reserves are adequately funded, and that insurance coverage is sufficient to protect the association.
Monitors the fiscal health of the organization and propose strategies to raise and spend money to support event programming and organization objective.
Each General Meeting shall include a written or spoken statement of accounts.
Statement of accounts shall include both total inflows and outflows of funds, with significant transactions detailed.
Collects dues and report any deficiencies to the Executive Board immediately.
Manages all banking accounts
Countersigns along with the President or Vice President all funds disbursements
Ensures that the association operates within the remit of a 501c3, non-profit organization (If we get a 501c3 designation).
Files informational tax returns as necessary.  Ensure all financial records are audited, clear and transparent and filed orderly.
Limited to $100.00 floating petty cash from the organization’s Operating bank account unless specifically approved by the President or Vice President, respectively

.

 

 

Director of Marketing and Branding:

Fosters and strengthens relationships with other community partners, including other non-profit organizations, Caribbean associations, academic institutions, or businesses which serve the Caribbean American community.
Creates related graphics for event advertising.
Works with the Director of Membership to develop strategies to enhance growth of the membership via target groups: new people of Trinidadian descent coming into the community, college students, young professionals, businesses, etc.
Serves as liaison between the association and event partners.
Seeks out partnering opportunities – sponsorship for events etc…
Promotes all events.
Collaborates with Photographer to upload event images.
Actively works with the Director of Communications to ensure that the association is portrayed in a favorable manner via newsletters, event write-up descriptions, images, websites, and photography.
Acts to enhance the reputation and to protect the interest of the organization.

 

Section 16: Voting Rights

 

Section 16-1: Members must be present at the meeting at which items are presented to the members for a vote.

 

Section 16-2: At all meetings, except for the election of officers, voting shall be by voice or a show of hands. For the election of Officers, voting shall be by ballot and counted by no less than two non candidate members running for the position being counted.

 

Section 16-3: Quorum. A quorum is considered to be at least 50 percent of the “Active/Paid” members in attendance at the meeting in which items are presented to the members for a vote. Acceptance by a quorum must take place before business can be transacted or motions made or passed. 

 

Section 16-4: All major decisions that will have impact on items such as finances or event dates shall be presented during a monthly meeting to the membership but voting on said item(s) will be reserved for the following monthly meeting (unless the decision and/or event is time sensitive).

 

Section 16-5: Elections will be an annual process. Nominations for officers and committee chair(s) will take place during a monthly meeting and elections will take place at the following monthly meeting. Nominations will be held in the September/October time frame; elections will take place in November/December of each year. The transition period will begin during the November/December time frame. A strategic planning session will be held in November/December to plan for the upcoming administrative year.

 

Section 16:6: Each membership is allowed a maximum of one (1) “Active/Voting” members; equating to one (1) votes. To be eligible to vote, members must be in good standing and annual dues must be paid in full. The president will communicate and clarify information, then vote only to break ties.

 

Section 16:7 Candidate for Office Criteria in order to be nominated for an official position you must be an active/paid member for the last 4 months or more.

 

 

Section 16:8 Evaluations of candidates for office

All nominees will be evaluated based on their attendance and contributions (time, money, work, actions, skills and performance, meeting attendance…) 

 

Section 17: Sub Committees

Marketing and Branding; Charitable Giving; Programs; By Laws and any others that are established based on temporary or permanent need

 

Committee Chair(s) or Alternate(s): Represent Sub‐committee and report on accomplishments

and difficulties at each general meeting.

 

Example of the Report Process:

Situation: What is the basic situation or task we are working on and are trying to get accomplished? 
Action: What key action(s) did you or the committees initiate to impact the situation.
Results: What were the results of the action(s) taken?

 

All reports should cover: who? What? What impact? When? Where? Why? How? How much?

 

Section 18:   Agenda Setting.

           The Executive Committee will set the agenda for all general meetings.  All members should submit agenda items (topics) to the Recording Secretary.  This list will be reviewed and approved prior to the general meeting.

 

Section 19: Membership Dues

The annual dues period is from January 1 through December 31.
Annual dues cover membership for one (1) individual and one (1) vote.
Membership annual dues shall be payable in the month joined.
Dues are $20 per individual per calendar year.

 

 

Section 20: General Member: Any individual who applies for membership and is willing to be governed by the Caribbean Heritage Association of Trinidad and Tobago Charlotte, North Carolina principles, values, code of conduct, by-laws, and articles of organization.

 

Visitors: Any individual who is invited by a general member to a Caribbean Heritage Association of Trinidad and Tobago Charlotte, North Carolina activity. Any individual who attends a meeting based on getting information about our meetings from any source.
All members are welcome and are to be respected at all times (at meetings and at events). Our association is strictly voluntary.

C.H.A.T.T. ‘S meetings and events are  designed to create a forum for Trinidad and Tobago nationals and friends of Trinidad and Tobago nationals to foster a sense of community in the area where they live.

An active paid member is any person who has been financial paid member for four (4) or more months within the calendar year; attended, and participated in helping in two or more events; has positively championed the cause of C.H.A.T.T.

 

Section 21: Meeting Frequency

Executive Team: Monthly
General Membership Meeting: Every 4 -6 weeks or as deemed necessary by the board.
Emergency Meetings: Ad-hoc when necessary

 

Section 22: Meeting Objectives and Guidelines

Set Objectives for the Meeting.
Before planning the agenda, determine the objective of the meeting. The more concrete your objectives, the more focused your agenda will be.
Meeting Ground Rules

Share all relevant information.
 No idea is a bad idea.
 All ideas and opinions will be respected.
 All ideas and opinions will be encouraged to survive the “Relevant Test”:

You’ve stated the reasoning behind the idea/opinion
 You’ve given specific example
 You’ve shared any personal intention or benefit to you

 All participants are invited to ask questions of an existing point of view.
 The focus is on goals, not solutions or personal intention. A solution is a strategy of how we meet our goals. The group will create solutions to an agreed upon mutual goal. (The best people at creating innovative strategies don’t allow themselves to draw an opinion or solution until they have gathered all of the information.)
  Before the meeting ends, the group will jointly design next steps that demonstrate the level of commitment necessary to succeed.

Provide an Agenda Beforehand.
Your agenda needs to include a one-sentence description of the meeting objectives, a list of the topics to be covered and a list stating who will address each topic for how long. Follow the agenda closely during the meeting.
Holding the meeting.

Start and end on time; do not let anyone monopolize the meeting; have a note taker and a time keeper.

Assign Meeting Preparation.
Give all participants something to prepare for the meeting, and that meeting will take on a new significance to each group member.
Assign Action Item
Don't finish any discussion in the meeting without deciding how to act on it.
Examine Your Meeting Process.
Don't leave the meeting without assessing what took place and making a plan to improve the next meeting.

Did the meeting start and end on time did we meet our objectives (plans, decisions, goals, meeting protocol). 

Meeting Notes: Summarize the meeting minutes and identify key action required items.

 

 

 

Section 23: Any change to the by-laws must be written and submitted to the membership for review. A vote on the proposed change will take place 30 days after submission of change request.

 

Section 24:  Decision making

We will use a combination of the following methodologies to make decisions.

Consultative - Group members are encouraged to contribute and discuss ideas, suggestions, and opinions free, group intelligence is leveraged.
Voting will then take place; everyone gets a vote. The group majority makes a decision. This is method is usually a quick and easy method, it is a method used when consensus cannot be reached.
Within the process we will create and monitor a discipline of “disagree and commit”.
When there is a need for very expeditious and/or emergency decisions, the executive officers will make an executive decision and the president will announce the decision to the body. Desired business results dictated from above, where only one decision is possible may warrant using this method.

 

Section 25:  The By-Laws will be reviewed and updated annually to help the organization meet the changing dynamics of our members and for continuous improvement (CI) of our operational guidelines. Any decision to change these by-laws must be made by an amendment of the by-laws via the vote of fifty percent of the Active/Paid/Voting members or by a quorum of the active/paid members at two (2) consecutive meetings..

 

 

Section 26 The entire board will do a self evaluation periodically during the year (mid-year; end of year) 

 

End of Document