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Iowa Unitarian Universalist Witness Advocacy Network
Vision & mission statements, covenant and bylaws

Iowa Unitarian Universalists Connecting for Justice

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Mission Statement
Engage Iowa Unitarian Universalists in a continuous process of learning, connection and action by increasing the power of our voices and making those voices an effective tool for change.  Build coalitions with partners to strengthen positive education, organization and advocacy.

Vision Statement 
Create sustained positive change by organizing activists to end oppression and work for social justice.


From the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames, Iowa



To deepen our connections with one another and to model compassionate and effective relationships for all those who seek our message of hope and commitment to justice, we adopt this covenant. We make this promise to live our Unitarian Universalist principles in our interactions with one another mindful of the larger mission and purpose of our religious community. 

To value the inherent worth and dignity of every person, we strive to 
· Listen deeply and check our understandings 
· Make space for our diverse backgrounds, needs, gifts and passions 

To enhance the possibilities of justice, equality and compassion in human relations, we strive to 
· Speak from our best intentions and assume the good intentions of others 
· Communicate directly with people when disagreements arise 
· Voice our appreciation generously 
· Speak compassionately to and about one another 

To accept one another and encourage spiritual growth, we strive to 
· Interact with others as they are, not as we imagine them to be 
· Be patient and forgiving with one another and with ourselves 
· Give help and ask for help as we need it 
· Remember our principles whenever we gather together 

To support the right of conscience and honor the democratic process, we strive to 
· Bring our good ideas and generous spirits to our community 
· Respect one another 
· Honor our decision-making processes 

Aware that our joy is more joyful, our tears more healing, our service more effective, our laughter more real and our interdependence more vivid when shared in loving community, we strive to honor the spirit of this covenant in our relationships within this religious community and with the wider world.

IUUWAN's Sign On Policy
All board members are authorized to sign onto statements that are aligned with our position on issues listed on this website: Liveable minimum wage, Anti-Bullying, Stop the Bakken Pipeline, Driving permits for Undocumented Immigrants, Death with Dignity and Restorative and Racial Justice.  Although we may whole-heartedly support other issues, signing on for other issues requires a board vote.

Bylaws of Iowa Unitarian Universalist Witness Advocacy Network

(Hereinafter called IUUWAN)

Article I- Name and Purpose

Section 1 – Name: The name of the organization shall be Iowa Unitarian Universalist Witness Advocacy Network (IUUWAN).  It shall be a nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Iowa.  The corporation’s registered office is 3425 Valley View Road, Ames, Iowa 50014.

Section 2- Purpose:  The Iowa Unitarian Universalist Witness and Advocacy Network (IUUWAN) educates and connects members to end oppression and to work for social justice.  The IUUWAN builds coalitions with partners to address change, advocates for those without a voice, and promotes action in line with our religious values. 

Article II – Membership 

Section 1 – Membership shall be open to all State of Iowa Unitarian Universalist congregations, or any current member or friend of an Iowa Unitarian Universalist congregation or Church of the Larger Fellowship.

There are two categories of membership:  Congregational Membership and Individual Membership.

A.    Congregational Members are those State of Iowa Unitarian Universalist congregations that elect to be such and meet such other criteria as the board of directors shall set.  Congregations will get one delegate for each 100 members, plus one for the remainder. (50 members = 1 delegate, 150 = 2 delegates…)

B.     Individual Members are those persons affiliated with or friend of an Iowa Unitarian Universalist congregation and meeting such other criteria as the board shall set.  Individual votes cannot be more than 50% of the total.  That means that if the individual votes exceed the number of congregational delegates, their vote will be weighted up to half the votes.  (25 congregational delegates vs 50 individual votes, the congregational votes will be doubled). 

Section 2 – Annual dues: The amount required for annual dues of Congregational Members and Individual Members shall be established by the board.   Continued membership is contingent upon being current on membership dues.

Section 3 – Each member shall be eligible to vote in annual and special meetings.

Article III – Membership Meetings

Section 1 – The latest revision of Robert's Rules of Order shall be used, where applicable, to guide the conduct of business.

Section 2 – Annual meetings: An annual meeting of the membership shall take place.  The date, time, and location of the membership meeting will be designated by the board of directors.

Section 3 – Business of annual meetings: Members shall elect directors, receive reports on the activities of the board and committees, vote to prioritize legislative issues, and conduct other business as needed.

Section 4 – Special membership meetings:  Special meetings may be called by the executive committee, or by a simple majority of the board of directors.  A petition signed by five percent of the voting members may also call a special meeting.

Section 5 – Notice of meetings: Through e-mail or US post, notice of the annual meeting shall be given to each voting member not less than seven days, nor more than thirty days, prior to the meeting. Special meetings require ten days’ notice with an agenda outlining the purpose of the special meeting.

Section 6 – Quorum for meetings:  The members present at any properly announced meeting shall constitute a quorum.

Section 7– Voting: Voting procedures for issues prioritization shall be established by the board of directors. All other issues to be voted on shall be decided by a simple majority of members at the meeting at which the vote takes place.

Article IV – Board of Directors

Section 1 – Board role: The board is responsible for overall policy and direction of IUUWAN and may delegate responsibilities to staff and committees. The board shall have the power to:

A.     Review periodically the purposes and mission of IUUWAN and bring proposed changes to the annual meeting.

B.    Appoint a coordinator who shall be responsible for day-to-day management of the IUUWAN office and staff, in accordance with policies established by the board. The coordinator shall adhere to Unitarian Universalist seven principles and shall report to the board of directors.

C.   Oversee and approve the budget of IUUWAN.

D.   Establish requirements for membership.

E.   Appoint committees to carry out the purposes of IUUWAN.

F.   Establish and maintain policies for administrative and financial management of IUUWAN.

Section 2 -- Board composition and compensation: The board sall have no fewer than three members and no more than thirteen members.  The board shall receive no compensation other than reimbursement for approved expenses.  The coordinator shall be a nonvoting, ex-officio member of the board.

Section 3 – Terms: All board members shall serve three-year terms, but are eligible for re-election for up to two consecutive terms.  The first board shall be organized with members serving staggered terms, with one-third of its members serving a one-year term, one-third of its members serving a two-year term, and one-third of its members serving a three-year term.

Section 4 – Meetings and notice: The board shall meet regularly at an agreed-upon time and manner.  An official board meeting requires that each board member have written, email or telephone notice at least one week in advance. 

Section 5 – Board elections: New directors and current directors shall be elected or re-elected by voting members at the annual meeting. Their terms commence on their election date.   Directors shall be elected by a simple majority of members present at the annual meeting.

Section 6 – Election procedures: 
A three-person Leadership Development committee, as set forth in Article V, Section 2.
B, shall be responsible for preparing a slate of prospective board members.  Any member may put himself or herself forth as a candidate.

Section 7 – Quorum:  For business to be transacted and motions to be passed a quorum of at least fifty percent of the directors must be present. 

Section 8 – Officers and duties: There shall be four officers of the board, including a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and a treasurer (with only three board members, VP and Secretary will be one position).  These officers shall constitute the executive committee. All officers are directors, and are elected by the board of directors.  Their duties are as follows:

A.   The president shall convene regularly scheduled board meetings and shall preside or arrange for another director to preside at each meeting in the following order: vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.

B.  The vice-president shall assume the duties of the president in the absence of the president and shall perform other duties as requested by the president.

C.   The secretary shall be responsible for keeping records of board actions, including overseeing the taking of minutes at all board meeting, sending out meeting announcements, distributing copies of minutes to each director, and assuring the corporate records are maintained.

D.   The treasurer shall provide a report on the organization’s current financial status at each board meeting. The treasurer shall assist in the preparation of the budget and make financial information available to members and the public as needed.  The treasurer shall sign all checks issued by IUUWAN.

Section 9 – Vacancies: When a vacancy on the board exists mid-term, the secretary must receive nominations for a new director from the current directors one week in advance of a board meeting.  Such nominations shall be sent out to directors with the regular board meeting announcement, to be voted upon at the next board meeting.  The vacancy will be filled only to the end of the original holder’s term. 

Section 10 – Resignation, termination, and absences: Written resignation from the board is requested. A director may be terminated from the board due to excessive absences, or more than two unexcused absences from board meetings in a year. A director may be removed for any other reason deemed appropriate by a unanimous vote of the remaining directors.

Section 11 – Special board meetings: Special meetings of the board shall be called at the request of the president or of one-third of the directors. Notices of special board meetings shall be sent to each director by the secretary at least one week in advance of the meeting.

Section 12 -- Conflicts of Interest:  Whenever a director or officer has a financial or personal interest in any matter coming before the board of directors, the affected person shall a) fully disclose the nature of the interest and b) withdraw from discussion, lobbying, and voting on the matter. Any transaction or vote involving a potential conflict of interest shall be approved only when a majority of disinterested directors determine that it is in the best interest of the corporation to do so. The minutes of meetings at which such votes are taken shall record such disclosure, abstention and rationale for approval.

Article V – Committees

Section 1 – Committee formation: The board may create committees as needed, such as fundraising, communication, membership, education, bylaws, and others. The board shall determine the membership and duties of each committee. The board president shall appoint all committee chairs.

Section 2 – Standing Committees:  Standing committees may include:

A.    Executive Committee: The officers of the board of directors, in accordance with Article IV, Section 8, shall serve as the members of the executive committee. The executive committee shall have all the powers and authority of the board of directors between meetings of the board of directors to act on urgent issues, and is subject to the direction and control of the full board.

B.     Leadership Development Committee: The Leadership Development committee shall prepare the list of candidates for election of Board members and Leadership Development committee members, and shall work with the Board and others to identify people with leadership potential, and encourage and support their involvement in IUUWAN affairs and development of their leadership skills.  The committee shall consist of no fewer than three members, including at least one current director; its other members shall be current IUUWAN members.  The committee shall be nominated annually by the Leadership Development committee and elected at the annual meeting.

C.     Finance Committee: The finance committee shall be responsible for all aspects of the financial management of the organization.  These duties include developing and reviewing fiscal procedures, maintaining financial records, and creating the annual budget with staff and board members. The board must approve the budget and all expenditures must be within budget. Any major change in the budget must be approved by the board or by the executive committee. The fiscal year shall begin January 1st.   Annual reports shall be submitted to the board, showing income, expenditures, and pending income. The financial records of the organization shall be made available to the membership, board members and the public.

D.    Congregational Advisory Committee:  Each Iowa Unitarian Universalist congregation has the opportunity to be represented by at least one individual who serves as a Network liaison on a IUUWAN Congregational Advisory Committee.  Members of the Committee will receive regular information about the affairs of the organization, including information about issues and actions taken by the Board of Directors and staff.  It is the responsibility of Congregational Advisory Committee members to share IUUWAN issue information and actions with appropriate members of their congregation, including the congregation’s social justice committee and its minister. Committee members have opportunities to offer feedback from their congregation to IUUWAN.

E.     Issue Task Forces: Issue task forces will be formed to study, recommend policy positions and actions and follow-up with issues considered to be priority issues by the Board of Directors.  Issue Task Force meetings will be conducted by conference calls and/or face to face meetings. They will receive staff support to assure that:  notices and agendas are sent in a timely fashion, Task Force memberships are kept current, the Task Force chairs are recruited and supported, that meetings are scheduled, and that recommendations for action are forwarded to staff and the Board of Directors.

 Article VI – Amendments

These bylaws may be amended when necessary by a two-thirds majority vote of the current membership attending the annual meeting or special meeting, provided that notice of such amendment shall have been given thirty days prior to the annual meeting or special meeting.

Article VII – Dissolution
In the event of dissolution of IUUWAN, after all outstanding debts have been paid; remaining assets shall be conveyed to Unitarian Universalist Association in Boston, Massachusetts.

Article VIII – Non-discrimination Policy

We affirm and promote the full participation of all persons in the IUUWAN’s activities and endeavors – including membership, programming, and hiring – without regard to age, race, national origin, color, gender, physical challenge, affectional or sexual orientation, or gender identity, and without requiring adherence to any particular religious belief or creed.


These bylaws were approved at the first annual meeting of the IUUWAN membership on February 2, 2014.



Secretary                                                                     date 

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