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September 2021 Board Report

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Quarterly Board Report
September 10, 2021

The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors met via Zoom conference on September 10, 2021,  because of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent outbreaks involving a highly contagious variant. The major actions of the board and reports received included:

Florida Supreme Court appointed seats
The Board was pleased to welcome Hon. Jeffrey Kuntz, a member of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal to serve on the board, along with Hon. Edwin A. Scales III, who was reappointed to serve on the board by the Chief Justice. The Board also welcomed back Ms. Ashley N. Sybesma and Hon. James E.C. Perry, both of whom were reappointed by the Supreme Court to serve a second three-year term on the board.

Board approves FY 2021-22 budget
The Foundation’s FY 2021-22 Operating Budget was presented and approved by the Board in the amount of $2,579,365, which represents a 10.5% reduction from the Foundation’s FY 2020-21 FY Operating budget. Actual spending for FY 2020-21 is projected to be $837,985 under budget, and spending to date for FY 2021-22 is below budget by about 13%.

Board approves Long-Range Technology Plan
The Technology Committee, chaired by Murray Silverstein, reviewed and recommended a substantially revised long-range technology plan which was passed on first reading in June 2020. The plan was simplified based on a comprehensive survey of committee members and discussions relating to the Foundation’s specific mission. Because of the significant changes involved, the Board voted to suspend the rules of procedure and waive second reading for the plan proposed in the event it could be considered a separate document submitted for first reading. After a unanimous vote to suspend the rules and waive second reading, a motion to adopt the plan in final form was made, seconded and passed. The plan as recommended and passed provides:

  1. The Florida Bar Foundation should develop and maintain technology tools by giving grants and awards to qualified grantees.
  2. The Florida Bar Foundation should primarily fund innovation and technology grants through IOTA Revenues consistent with the amended Rule 5.1-1 and should consider funding technology through donations as a secondary option.
  3. The Florida Bar Foundation should primarily support technology initiatives which embody comprehensive and statewide approaches. This includes tools designed to have statewide impacts and uses.

As an aside, in addition to the development of a long-range plan, the committee created an asset disposition plan which was approved by the Board in March 2021. The Foundation will continue the implementation of its asset disposition plan and the committee will meet only as needed going forward. Committee chair Silverstein and the entire committee were thanked for the tremendous effort and amount of time taken to carry out its charge.

IOTA Rule implementation
The Foundation continues its focus on the budget and expenses associated with its entire operation, as well as those required to administer IOTA funds pursuant to Rule 5.1-1(g) of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar. The Executive Committee met three times prior to September
10 and will meet three more times to specifically review and decide material issues relating to the Foundation’s continued operations. The next two meetings will be virtual with the last meeting scheduled as an all-day, in-person meeting on October 23. Thereafter, the Executive Committee will report back to the Board for final review of a resulting plan of action, either by special notice in November or at its next regularly scheduled meeting in December.

Similarly, efforts are underway to study alternatives associated with office expenses and operations. These efforts include consideration of either terminating, renegotiating or sub-leasing the Foundation’s current rented space. In addition, the Foundation is exploring other office and equipment space options including remote, shared, reduced-space or hybrid operations. The Foundation will continue to work with and seek input from all stakeholders and grantees regarding its grants and awards and all other obligations and duties consistent with its mission, specifically including those required under Rule 5.1-1(g).

NEXT MEETING
The Board’s next scheduled meeting will be on December 17, 2021. The Executive Committee will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and decide whether the meeting will be in person or via remote transmission as soon as possible.