Before reading the current incarnation of our bylaws please keep three things in mind:
First, these bylaws are not currently in effect and are a draft representation of what we are trying to create.
Second, that we are not currently a nonprofit. We are working towards that goal and these bylaws being ironed out is one major step to that accomplishment.
Third, we are making these bylaws public for one very important reason… we are aware we don’t know everything and are always looking for feedback and suggestions. At the end of the day in whatever form it takes Recovery Innovations for Pursuing Peer Leadership and Empowerment will be here to serve our peer recovery community. It only seems right that the entirety of our community can offer their thoughts and share their views.
Recovery Innovations for Pursuing Peer Leadership and Empowerment
ARTICLE I – NAME & AREA
1.1 – Name
The name of this organization shall be Recovery Innovations for Pursuing Peer Leadership & Empowerment. The business of the organization may be conducted as Recovery Innovations for Pursuing Peer Leadership & Empowerment, RockingRecovery.org. or RIPPLE. From hereafter be referred to by the acronym RIPPLE.
1.2 – Area
The Board of RIPPLE, based out of primarily Connecticut, shall serve as the National Board for the organization, should satellite organizations in other states form.
1.3 – Online Identity
RIPPLE will establish and maintain an online presence to provide information about the organization as well as resources to the community. RIPPLE’s primary website shall be known as rockingrecovery.org
ARTICLE II – PURPOSES
RIPPLE is a non-profit corporation and shall be operated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the corresponding section of any future Federal tax code.
To maximize our impact on current efforts, we may seek to collaborate with other non-profit organizations which fall under the 501(c) (3) section of the internal revenue code and are operated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes.
At times, per the discretion of the board of directors, we may provide internships or volunteer opportunities which shall provide opportunities for involvement in said activities and programs to have a greater impact for change.
2.2 – Our Mission Statement
As people with lived experience in the mental health and substance abuse services system, we seek to empower our peers. To use our voices to educate, inform, and inspire new leaders in our community. We will bring new and innovative ideas to the recovery processes for the benefit of all.
2.3 – Our Vision
- As peers using lived experience, we will teach and lead other peers to advocate for themselves
- As peers, we will create and lead innovations in recovery
- As peers, we will strive to eliminate stigma through education of the public around mental health challenges
ARTICLE III – ORGANIZATION
3.1 – Board of Directors
The Board of Directors will consist of our Officers and Members.
3.2 – Board Officers
The Officer positions for RIPPLE will be President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
3.2.1 – President – The person “in charge,” responsible for supervising/overseeing the work of the other officers and ensuring that they function together as an effective team. The duties of the President include but are not limited to:
- Provides the overall vision and sense of direction for the organization
- Spokesperson/representative/external liaison for the organization
- Schedules and runs officer and organization meetings
- Serves as a role model for other officers and members
3.2.2 – Vice President – The responsibilities of this position are to ensure the effectiveness of our organization in the community.
- Delegates appropriate responsibilities members of the board
- Tracks project progress and reports back to the board during monthly meetings
- Spokesperson/representative/external liaison for the organization
- “Assumes responsibility” in the absence of the president
3.2.3 – Secretary – The Secretary will record and distribute all pertinent information to members, including meeting minutes, upcoming events and opportunities
- Keeps records all organizational correspondence
- Keeps accurate membership lists with names, addresses and phone numbers
- Maintains thorough organizational files and records
3.2.4 – Treasurer – The Treasurer will lead the board to establish annual budgets for the organization and ensures that it’s followed. Treasurer will report to organization officers and members on Ripples’s financial status.
- Manages day-to-day financial transactions
- Records and pays bills/reimbursements
- Deposits/withdraw funds
- Records accrued interest
3.3 – Board Members
The Member positions for RIPPLE will be the Fundraising Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, and Webmaster.
3.4 – Board Guidelines
3.4.1 – The Board of Directors is free to recruit anyone person who meets the qualifications for membership see 3.5. The Board will accept applications for membership regardless of a person’s race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, or other protected characteristic.
- The Board shall be comprised of primarily Peers, i.e., Persons with Lived Experience with Mental/Behavioral Health and Addiction Challenges. Lived Experience is described as follows: Must have utilized Mental/Behavioral Health and/or Addiction Services, for example, Out-Patient, In-Patient or Hospitalization, Residential, Group Home, Halfway House (including Involuntary).
- At any one time, there shall be no more than two (2) active Members of the Board who are traditionally-credentialed providers (LCSW, Psy.D., Psychiatrists, etc.) without Lived Experience.
- The Board shall seek to have Members who are culturally diverse and representative of marginalized populations.
- The Board shall strive to have no less than two (2) Members who have First-Hand Lived Experience with Addiction or Substance Use Disorder(s). Board Members who are Dually-Diagnosed (i.e., Mental/Behavioral Health AND Addiction/Substance Use Challenges) may serve to help meet this criterion, but at least one (1) Board Member must have Lived Experience exclusively or primarily with Addiction or Substance Use Disorder, wherever possible.
3.5 – Officer & Member Qualifications
3.5.1 – Individual Qualifications – Officers and Board members are those who choose to step forward into an active role in their community. We define ourselves as a Peer-led and Peer-driven organization. We feel that the best way to change the Mental Health and Addiction services system is through the personal experiences of those who have worked within the system towards their recovery. To qualify for membership or to become an officer, the following requirements should be met:
- Personally lived experience relating to mental health or substance abuse defined in 3.4.1.
- Understand and follow HIPAA Privacy Rules, which protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information.
- Members will 18 years of age or older and a citizen of the United States (volunteers will always be welcomed regardless of citizenship status)
- Must be able to attend in person or via teleconference when necessary, no less than two thirds (2/3) of scheduled meetings per year. Officers must attend, via teleconference where necessary, no less than three quarters (3/4) of scheduled meetings per year.
3.6 – Board Meetings
3.6.1- Monthly – Monthly meetings will be scheduled for the 2nd Wednesday of each month, postponement due to a holiday will move the meeting back one week to the 3rd Wednesday.
3.6.2 – Quarterly – Quarterly meetings will overlap on regularly scheduled monthly dates. Additional agenda items will include items such as quarterly donations as well as interviews for prospective board members.
3.6.3 – Yearly – Meeting to be held on the 2nd Wednesday of January. Agenda items such as annual fundraising, calendar, and tax preparation will be discussed. This meeting shall be closed to the public.
3.7 – Resignation or Removal
3.7.1 – Resignation – Each Board member shall have the right to resign at any time upon written notice thereof to the President or the Secretary of the Board. Unless otherwise specified in the notice, the resignation shall take effect upon receipt thereof, and the acceptance of such resignation shall take effect upon receipt thereof, and the acceptance of such resignation shall not be necessary to make it effective.
3.7.2 – Leave of Absence – The board of directors will be mindful that the road to recovery is a journey and not a destination. Both board and committee members are encouraged to practice self-care. Should any member feel the need to step back and take time for themselves, this will be allowed without question.
3.7.2a – Short Term – A short-term leave of absence will be a period of time up to three months. In the case of an officer taking a leave of absence, the duties of that officer will be divided amongst the other officers provided that there is no conflict of interests.
3.7.2b – Long Term – A long-term leave of absence will be from three months to a maximum of six months. In the case of an officer taking a leave of absence for this extended period of time, a committee member should be temporarily elevated to the position of responsibility.
3.7.3 -Removal – An officer or Board Member may be removed, with cause, at any duly constituted meeting of the Board, by the affirmative vote of then-serving Board members.
Both board and committee members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. We will not tolerate discrimination in any form. This includes any negative postings, whether on public or personal social media pages and sites. Diversity is the key to the success of this organization. Discrimination includes but is not limited to:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Political beliefs
- Social or economic status
- Past issues with addiction
- Past criminal history
3.8 – Voting
Both board and committee members are entitled to one vote on any particular topic, and this is regardless of their position in the organization. This will also be true for anyone holding multiple positions, if someone is serving as both vice president and secretary, for example, that person is still only entitled to a single vote.
While it should be the goal of this organization for a consensus agreement, there will be points where a vote may need to be held. For the purpose of the bylaws, a passing vote should be no less than two-thirds of the majority of those in attendance. This will eliminate any possibility of a tie-breaking vote by an officer.
ARTICLE IV – COMMITTEES
4.1 – Committee formation – The board may create committees as needed, such as fundraising, housing, public relations, data collection, etc. The board chair appoints all committee chairs.
4.2 – Executive Committee – The four officers serve as the members of the Executive Committee. Except for the power to amend the Articles of Incorporation and bylaws, the Executive Committee shall have all the powers and authority of the board of directors in the intervals between meetings of the board of directors and is subject to the direction and control of the full board.
4.3 – Finance Committee: The treasurer is the chair of the Finance Committee, which includes three other board members. The Finance Committee is responsible for developing and reviewing fiscal procedures, fundraising plans, and the annual budget with staff and other 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. The fiscal year shall be the calendar year. Annual reports are required to be submitted to the board showing income, expenditures, and pending income. The financial records of the organization are public information and shall be made available to the membership, board members, and the public.
CERTIFICATE OF SECRETARY
I,________________________, acting Secretary of Recovery Innovations for Pursuing Peer Leadership & Empowerment do hereby certify that the above bylaws are the adopted bylaws of this Organization.
EXECUTED on this day of _______________________________, in the County of New Haven in the State of Connecticut.