During the summer of 2001, several women talked about the need to form a feminist network to share information and support each other. Many feminists in the local community had been working over the last several decades to raise issues and make improvements in the various spheres of women’s lives. Yet, because each was busy in a different way, these feminists often did not have an easy, formal way to communicate with each other and thus build on each other’s efforts and past successes.
In September, a group of women met to discuss the formation of a network. They were: Sally Egler, Nazareth Hattwick, Sharon Keeling, Martha Klems, Judith Kohler, Maurine Magliocco, and Janice Welsch. This group became the first steering committee. They decided to hold a meeting of like-minded people to begin development of a network.
The first meeting was held October 27, 2001. Its purpose: to work together to increase our power in business, education and politics. Attendees got reacquainted with “old” friends and met new people with similar interests, and shared information about what was happening in the community. The group brainstormed on what we’d like to change and/or build: big or little things, short-term or long-range plans and how best to communicate with each other.
The network began to meet the first Saturday of each month. Early achievements were getting a “feminist voice” to do commentaries on the local NPR station and getting the WIU Courier to refuse sexist ads. Over time, the network developed its mission statement and guiding principles, which were adopted in May 2002. Membership grew and numerous topics were raised for attention. At the May meeting, members agreed the key focus of the network would be to support feminist political candidates and to secure the appointment of feminists to councils and boards.
During the summer of 2002, the network established rules governing meetings, established dues, named the first co-treasurers, Becky Parker and Paula Wise, and created a “formal” email system, a listserv, for communication. In September 2002, Judith Kohler facilitated a Direct Action Organizing Workshop for members to understand and use DAO principles to build the organization and achieve goals. At this training, members identified specific goals, developed a strategy chart to win them, and began its implementation.
The steering committee was expanded to include Heather McMeekan, Janine Cavicchia, Paula Wise and Becky Parker. In the fall of 2002, a web page and logo were designed, a post office box set up, and an agreement reached to file the appropriate papers with the Illinois Secretary of State as a nonprofit organization. Bylaws were adopted on February 1, 2003.
Macomb Feminist Network (Non-for-Profit) Bylaws
The name of this organization shall be “The Macomb Feminist Network, Non-for-Profit” also known as MFN, Macomb Feminist Network, or MFN(NFP).
A Feminist is one who believes women should have the same political, economic, legal, and social rights as men. Feminism is organized activity and advocacy for the rights and interests of all women to benefit all people.
Article 2-Mission and Objectives
The Macomb Feminist Network (NFP) works for social justice to support feminists of any ability, age, class, race/ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.
The objectives of this MFN shall be to advocate for:
a) Equal educational and employment opportunities b) Equity in pay and benefits, including domestic partner benefits
c) Research on and access to quality women’s health care
d) Elimination of political violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and harassment
e) Prevention of any form of degradation or discrimination
f) Reproductive choice
g) Passage of the Equal Rights Amendment
Any feminist living in the Macomb, Illinois area is eligible to be a member.
Membership. A person is a member if she or he:
a) is committed to the mission and objectives of the MFN (NFP);
b) has paid dues.
Members of the Macomb Feminist Network (NFP):
a) have full voting privileges;
b) may bring forth any issue;
c) may be on the email discussion/communication list;
d) may participate in advocacy tasks and attend special trainings and forums;
e) may hold office;
f) may become a member of the Board of Directors.
Board of Directors. The initial Board of Directors is selected by the steering committee. A Board of at least seven will be elected each year at the September meeting. The current Board will present a slate of nominees; nominations will also be taken from the floor. The Board is responsible for handling business between meetings, helping to set meeting agendas, and approving expenses over $50, of which a majority vote of Board members is needed.
Chair and Recorder. At each meeting, a Chair and a Recorder are selected for the next meeting. The Chair is the meeting facilitator; the Recorder prepares and distributes the minutes and the agenda for the next meeting.
Treasurer. The Treasurer or Co-treasurers are elected by majority vote at the September meeting. The Treasurer(s) is responsible for: collecting dues and other funds; paying bills; proposing budgets; and submitting reports to the membership as required by the Board. Dues are determined by majority vote at the September meeting.
Historian. The Historian is elected by majority vote at the September meeting. The Historian is responsible for collecting and maintaining a complete set of the minutes of the general membership meetings, a roster of current members, and other documents pertaining to the work of the Network.
Group consensus on issues and actions is the guiding principle. No formal vote is necessary, and all viewpoints are solicited. If consensus cannot be reached, the members present may then choose to vote on the issue. A majority vote carries. When it is necessary to vote by email, a majority of members voting shall carry that vote. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be referenced, as needed, for the purpose of guiding the meeting and discussion.
A quorum shall be those members present at a given meeting.
Article 6-Nonprofit Status
The MFN (NFP) shall file and maintain the appropriate documents with the Illinois Secretary of State. An Agent is selected by the Board as required by the Illinois Secretary of State and is responsible for such duties as designated by state law.
Article 7-Statement of Non-discrimination
The Macomb Feminist Network (NFP) will not discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic level, ability, or race/ethnicity.
Article 8-Adoption of Bylaws
These Bylaws shall be presented to all members for comment. They shall be under review for a period of 60 days, at which time the Board of Directors will make any changes as needed and submit them to the members for a vote.
Article 9-Amendments to Bylaws
These Bylaws may be amended by majority vote of all members voting. Amendments should be submitted to all members with sufficient time for review and discussion.
Adopted February 1, 2003