Wanted: You on a nonprofit board

At a recent Homer Council on the Arts meeting we were planning our annual meeting which takes place each January. At that meeting HCOA presents a slate of proposed board members for the members to approve.  As we talked, it became clear that it is time to begin a search for new board members.

For nonprofit organizations, board members are critical to planning,  providing new energy, setting policy, giving direction and helping to accomplish the mission of the organization.

Not long after that meeting I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Maya Angelou speak for the third time.

Each time I hear her speak I am amazed at her brilliance, wit, humanity and perspectives on life.

Her message continually speaks to what it means to be a human being and how we should treat one another no matter the color of our skin, the way we look, the God we worship, our political leanings, etc.  She believes that each of us has the capacity and ability to be the “rainbow in someone’s clouds.”  The rainbows that touch and change our lives are what make us who we are as human beings.

It is amazing to hear the stories of how our lives have been changed or improved by the simple acts of kindness of others. A simple word of encouragement, a gesture, an act of love and generosity, a listening ear, a safe home, a warm meal, a song at someone’s bedside, a hug, even a challenge can be a life-changing experience.

As Dr. Angelou spoke, I was particularly touched by a quote made by a Roman slave long ago.  He said, “I am human and nothing human is alien to me.” That statement speaks volumes if you think about its meaning and the truths that can be derived from it. If that is true then it is important that we honor what is human and use our own very “humanness” to make a better world for all.

But why am I telling you this?  Well it may seem a stretch to you, but as I listened to Dr. Angelou I thought about our quality of life and what enriches the way we live. What can we do as just one person? How can we make a difference in a life that may be in crisis, needs a voice or means of expression, is headed along a dangerous path or is needing encouragement of some type? I think, in many cases, we can, and do, make a difference every day of our lives.

 In Homer people say to me all of the time: “I live here because of the quality of life.”  When asked what they mean by that they often reply, “the beauty, the caring people, the opportunities available on all levels for children as well as adults, health care, education, the arts; everything that
is Homer.” 

Much of that quality of life is provided by our local nonprofits and their dedicated staff, board members and volunteers. To be sure, our nonprofits would not exist without great staff, board members and the myriad volunteers that support their missions. The city could not afford to provide the support these nonprofits so generously offer to us.  

So, what I am asking is that you consider joining one of our nonprofit organizations as a board member.

Of course, it is clear as president of the Homer Council on the Arts that I would be thrilled to hear that you are considering becoming one of our board members, but I would be just as thrilled to hear that you have joined one of the many boards that are “rainbows in the clouds” of our community members. Pick up the phone today, give a call and make a difference as a board member. We need you.

Diane Borgman is a retired educator and a small business owner and serves on the Homer Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Homer Council on the Arts board and the Alaska State Council on the Arts.