Philipsburg- Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR) organized workshops on Governance for Non-Profit Organizations. “Because of the huge demand for this workshop we were forced to create two groups to be able to accommodate everyone” stated Jose Sommers, the Training and Capacity Strengthening Manager of R4CR. The two-day workshops were held on November 21 and November 23 from 6pm to 9pm for group 1 and on November 22 and November 24 from 2pm to 5pm for group 2. The staggering of the workshops’ dates and times gave the 27 participants(who are mostly volunteers) greater flexibility to combine their regular day job and family commitments with attending these very important workshops.
The course material for the workshops was developed in-house by Jose Sommers and Rolf Hunink and provided 6 hours of interactive training on Governance for non-profit organizations. The subjects covered important issues such as: what is (good) governance, checks and balances, board composition, the role of the board, board member archetypes, recruiting boardmembers, staffing, working with volunteers, organizational strategy and collaboration.
After the official opening and formal introductions the participants were treated to a fictitious case study in which two concerned citizens (Tim and Mary) want to tackle the growing problem of people with debt on the island. Sommers said, “The case stood as a model for how many non-profit organizations start; mostly with one or more socially conscious persons driven to solve a problem they have experienced or identified in the community. Through interactive assignments, exercises and some basic theory the participants discussed the many governance issues that arise when running a non-profit foundation”.
The final subject during the workshops was reserved for collaboration. Although not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about governance, the R4CR workshop designers found collaboration between the various non-profit organizations on the island a very important topic because it allows foundations to share resources (human, operational,financial) and achieve synergies that could make the collaborating organizations much more efficient and stronger. “We see some organizations collaborating on an operational level but we think that there is still a large untapped potential in that area. To stimulate collaboration, R4CR allocates a higher maximum budget ($120K) for collaborative projects compared to an individual organization submission ($90K). To date we have not had any collaborative submissions yet but we do expect to receive the first one during round 5 financing which closes on December 7” concluded Sommers.
The R4CR program includes a grant scheme as funding mechanism for community and social rehabilitation initiatives on Sint Maarten and focuses on improving the capacity of local non-profit organizations in reconstruction and resilience activities post hurricane Irma.