The Sierra Club Board of Directors has taken a crucial step in the process of steering
the Sierra Club toward financial sustainability and increased effectiveness. With the help
of members and activists, we're continuing to address not only immediate budget needs, but
the long-term need to streamline the Club's work throughout the organization.
The first phase of Project Renewal, the Club's restructuring effort, was approved by
the Board at our recent September meeting in San Francisco. The Board moved to consolidate
63 volunteer committees into six Board Governance committees, created a new Council of
Club Leaders, and initiated plans to expand activists' participation in our core
The new governance committees will help the Board operate with maximum efficiency. The
six committees will oversee and plan for
- communication and education,
- membership and development,
- organizational effectiveness and
- outdoor activities.
In order to "flatten" our decision-making structure and give grassroots
leaders greater access to the Board, the new Council will meet with Directors in an annual
joint session. Under the arrangement, chapters, regional coordinating committees and the
Sierra Student Coalition will have the ability to address the Board directly about any
policy or operation of the Sierra Club.
The Board authorized the creation of conservation strategy teams to coordinate the
Clubs conservation work. Once fully established, the teams will work to expand
opportunities for activists to participate. Activist networks would build on successful
models for recruiting, training and involving volunteers in our conservation work.We also
agreed the Club should continue working to meet our five global challenges -- preserving
the wild planet, preventing pollution, stabilizing population, protecting the global
commons, and creating an environmentally sustainable economy -- but that we would also
need to focus our efforts and our message in order to maximize our effectiveness.
For the next five years, preserving the wild planet and preventing pollution will be
the top-tier objectives of the national Club. Specific campaign priorities within all five
broad issue areas will be set at the Board's December meeting, taking into account
balloting of chapters, groups and the Sierra Student Coalition.
In light of some exaggerated press over the Board weekend, we issued a statement to
announce our decisions and clarify that this new budget cuts 1995 expenditures $3.7
million below projections for 1994, chiefly by reducing administrative and service costs
and focusing our agenda.
Project Renewal is not finished. Once the new governance committees are in place, they
will be able to work with the Board to to review our elections, e-mail policies,
staff-volunteer relations and other areas in order to boost the Club's finances and
With your continued help and support, we can make the Club stronger and more
SOURCE: Robbie Cox, published originally in Planet, November 1994
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