Our Volunteer Tripatite Board
Since 1968, local agencies have been required to have tripartite governing boards to gain and retain designation as eligible entities and to receive CSBG funding. Effective tripartite boards reflect and promote the unique anti-poverty leadership, action, and mobilization responsibilities assigned by law to community action agencies. Boards are responsible for assuring that agencies continue to assess and respond to the causes and conditions of poverty in their community, achieve anticipated family and community outcomes, and remain administratively and fiscally sound.
Sections 676B of the Community Services Block Grant Reauthorization Act of 1998 requires that, as a condition of designation, private nonprofit entities and public organizations administer their CSBG program through tripartite boards that “fully participate in the development, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the program to serve low-income communities.”
For our communities to succeed, the entire community must be involved and be represented on the Board of Directors. These volunteers represent three community sectors: (1) public elected officials because they formally represent both the public and the local government; (2) the poor because they know the problems of poverty; and (3) the balance of the community because the agency cannot succeed without support and participation of the other service agencies, private employers, churches, unions, law-enforcement, etc.
Tripartite boards are key players in the developmental processes described above:
CSBG Required Needs Assessment — Board members, especially those that live in communities to be served and that represent low-income people, ought to be a primary source of information and insight concerning the conditions in their neighborhoods. Representatives of low-income families can help fashion agency outreach and communication strategies, on an ongoing basis, to assure that agency staff and programs are responsive to changing community needs and conditions. Board members that represent elected officials, and other community groups and interests, all bring critical information and perspective to the needs assessment process.
Clarifying Agency Mission — The way each community action agency perceives its role or mission, is central to what they do and how they assess their effectiveness. Tripartite boards, if correctly constituted, provide an agency with a broadly-based, in-house, panel of “experts” on most aspects of community needs, resources, and opportunities. Their expertise should help inform agency leadership and staff concerning the role(s) community action should and could play to reduce poverty vis-a.-vis other public and private programs and initiatives.
Planning –Tripartite boards are important participants in agency annual and longer-range planning activities. Specifically, individual members of the board, and the board as a whole, ought to contribute to, and benefit from, various aspects of program planning:
Long-range Strategic Planning — For those CSBG entities that are 501(c)(3) non-profit agencies, tripartite boards are ultimately responsible for the overall direction, conduct, and effectiveness of agency programs and activities. As such, participation of boards is essential in strategic planning discussions of how the mission of the agency is to be accomplished through its programs and activities, and how the agency will determine what constitutes its “success.”
Annual Planning — Tripartite boards of both public and private entities should participate in the identification of what the agency hopes to accomplish each year and to help the agency establish specific performance expectations, in terms of both the nature and number of improvements to be achieved among low-income people and within the community, to guide agency programs and activities. Milestones, or intermediate steps toward achieving the ultimate results, ought to be identified by agency staff so that board members will be able to track progress throughout the year. In addition, boards are encouraged to identify possible ways to strengthen agency operations, including needed staff or facility enhancements, and to identify specific results it expects to be achieved.
Implementation –Because members of tripartite boards have “fiduciary” responsibility for the overall operation of private, non-profit community action agencies and statutorily described “advisory” responsibilities in public agencies, members are expected to carry out their duties as any
“reasonably prudent person” would do. At a minimum, CAPLAW suggests that this would require:
1. Regular attendance at board and committee meetings;
2. Thorough familiarity with core agency information, such as the agency’s bylaws, articles of incorporation, sources of funding, agency goals and programs, Federal and State CSBG statutes;
3. Careful review of materials provided to board members;
4. Decision-making based on sufficient information;
5. Ensuring that proper fiscal systems and controls, as well as a legal compliance system, are in place; and
6. Knowledge of all major actions taken by the agency.
Evaluation — As indicated, tripartite boards of both public and private agencies are encouraged to focus their attention on results in all phases of agency program activity, including program development, planning, implementation, and especially evaluation. Boards should request, and be provided with, information concerning actual changes or improvements that have occurred among clients and community as a result of agency assistance. To determine the relative “success” of the agency, its staff, and programs, boards may compare the nature and level of these outcomes with performance expectations, or targets, which were developed during the agency’s planning cycle.
The Triprate Board meets in accordance with the bylaws “There shall be at a minimum, including the annual meeting, of four (4) regular meetings each year.” and quorum requirements shall not be less than two-thirds 2/3 of Directors entitled to a vote. All meetings are open to the public, community partners, and especially low-income consumers who are encouraged to attend. A Director may participate in a meeting by, or meeting may be conducted through any means of communication by which all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other during the meeting. a Director participating in the meeting by this means is considered present in person.
Schedule of Required Board Meetings
2nd Thursday of February at noon Special Meeting
2nd Thursday of April at noon Public CSBG Hearing and Regular Meeting
May 18, 2020 Special Meeting to Approve CSBG Grant Application noon
2nd Thursday of June at noon Special Meeting
2nd Thursday of August 2020 noon Regular Meeting
2nd Thursday October Annual Meeting
2nd Thursday of December 2020 at noon Regular Meeting
Board Meetings Events are posted for the Public on Facebook