FAQs for SAA Foundation Board Service

What is the SAA Foundation?

The SAA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, raises money to provide resources to enhance the work of the archives community. To that end, the SAA Foundation supports:

  • Research and reporting about the profession, its practice, and its practitioners;
  • Development of professional growth opportunities;
  • Recognition of archivists via scholarships, travel assistance, and awards;
  • Programs to enhance the performance of repositories; and
  • Efforts to persuade influential external organizations to create or promote archives.

In addition, the SAA Foundation seeks to strengthen itself by enhancing its accountability, development, and governance.

What does service on the SAAF Board entail?

  • Board members are expected to attend all Board meetings, some of which occur virtually or via conference call. Members who are not able to travel to an in-person meeting are expected to participate virtually/by phone. (Due to the ongoing pandemic, all Board meetings for the foreseeable future will be held virtually on Zoom.)
  • Because Board work involves making financial grants and awards to individuals and institutions in a competitive process, as well as reviewing current and potential donations, Board members are expected to maintain strict confidentiality about deliberations regarding awards and donor information. Board members are required to complete a conflict of interest form annually.
  • Over the course of the year, significant Board tasks include: Approving and implementing the annual development/fundraising plan, approving grant and award recommendations, determining the annual budget, deliberating and approving an annual investment plan, deliberating changes to grant-making procedures, approving Board minutes and governing documents, approving a slate of new Board members for election by the SAA Council, and electing officers.
  • Board members are expected to participate in the Foundation's fundraising activities, including through making a personal financial gift at a level significant to them. There is no minimum or maximum contribution amount. By personally contributing at an level appropriate to the individual, a Board member recognizes their responsibility and demonstrates a commitment.

Who serves on the Board?

The SAA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization whose sole corporate member is the Society of American Archivists. The Board consists of “Class A” and “Class B” directors. Class A members are the SAA President (for one year), the SAA Vice President/President-Elect (for one year), the SAA Treasurer (for their full three-year term), the SAA Executive Committee member (for one year), and the SAA Immediate Past President (for one year). Class B members are nominated by the SAA Foundation Board, and are elected by the SAA Council, for three-year terms. 

How long would I serve? 

Class B members are elected for three-year terms. Terms of Class B members are staggered so that approximately one-third of the members’ terms expire each year. Terms begin and end at the start of the Foundation Board’s annual meeting, held in conjunction with the SAA Annual Meeting in August. Class B members may serve an unlimited number of successive terms.

How many meetings are there?  What is the time commitment?

Currently the Board meets virtually every other month, typically for one to three hours. Board members can expect an hour of preparation time for each hour of meeting time. 

Prior to the pandemic, the Board met in person twice a year: At the SAA Annual Meeting in July or August and at SAA’s Chicago headquarters in November or December. The late summer meeting was a single two- to four-hour session. The fall meeting (the Board’s annual meeting) was two days. In addition, the Board met periodically via conference call, usually for 60 to 90 minutes. The Board continues to assess when it will be safe and feasible to meet in person again.

Board members can expect to serve on short-term task groups from time to time, which will require an additional time commitment. All Board members also are elected to serve on one of the following committees: the Nominating Committee, the Development Committee, the Finance Committee, the Grant Review Committee, or the National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives Grant Review Committee. Service on committees requires some additional time, but does not impose additional travel obligations.

Additional time may be necessary to build and maintain relationships with current and potential donors and funders.

What kind of financial support does the Foundation provide?

The SAA Foundation does not reimburse for costs associated with attending any Board meetings virtually, including any meetings scheduled during the SAA Annual Meeting. For in-person meetings, the Foundation reimburses all reasonable travel costs incurred to attend the fall Board meeting, but does not reimburse Board members to attend the SAA Annual Meeting.

What process will my application go through?

Applications received by the SAAF office are reviewed for completeness by the staff and are then forwarded to the SAAF Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee evaluates submissions to determine which applicants possess the qualifications and experience that are most needed by the Foundation Board at that time. Applicants are ranked based on their qualifications and experience and the Committee recommends a slate of new and/or continuing Board members for review and approval by the full Foundation Board. The Board-approved slate is then forwarded to the SAA Council (the corporate member) for election. Approved new members will be informed immediately (generally in mid- to late June) by the SAAF Nominating Committee, and they will be seated at the next SAA Annual Meeting.