PFLAG Santa Clarita Valley was founded as the result of two blatantly homophobic occurrences in Santa Clarita in the late 1980s.
The first incident occurred when one of our high school district’s counselors, the mother of a gay son who had been student body president at his school, offered to arrange for a panel of gay and lesbian alumni to share the challenges they had faced during middle and high school and to suggest some interventions that counselors could implement to make the road easier for those following them. The Superintendent refused to allow this, fearful that, if word got out in the community about such a panel, it would be perceived that the District was “promoting homosexuality.” Incensed, the counselors wrote a letter of protest, hosted this panel in one of their own homes, and later received an apology from their supervising administrator…but not the superintendent.
The second event occurred about a year later when iconic LGBTQ rights advocate and founder of Project 10, Dr. Virginia Uribe, was invited to Santa Clarita to address a group of educators on the topic of creating safe spaces for gay and lesbian students on their campuses. On the night of Dr. Uribe’s presentation, the apron of the road in front of St Stephen’s Episcopal Church, the site of her seminar, was filled with over 400 protesters from local churches as well as several busloads transported from Anaheim by anti-gay pastor, Lou Sheldon. Sheldon, chairman of the “Traditional Values Coalition”, led this hate-filled protest and many community members from a variety of denominations spoke. When the president of one of our high schools’ Parent Teacher Organizations claimed that her son had attended school from kindergarten to twelfth grade in Santa Clarita and he had never had a gay child in any of his classes, PFLAG Santa Clarita Valley (PFLAG SCV) was born!
Since its founding in 1988 as a satellite of PFLAG L.A., PFLAG SCV has moved from the living room of a private home to the meeting center of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. For over 25 years we have held our monthly support meetings, social events, and many June PRIDE events at St. Stephen’s. They have been among our staunchest allies from our inception and remain so today. In 1997, under the direction of then-treasurer, Dick Bongard, we filed incorporation papers under the name of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Santa Clarita Chapter. Over the years we have adapted to the acronym PFLAG SCV.
In addition to our monthly support meetings, PFLAG SCV has created a robust Speakers Bureau available to teacher and counselor training classes, school faculties, student groups, high school health classes, and church groups. Our educational outreach efforts also include contact with all Wm. S. Hart District counselors and social workers as well as administrators of all our elementary school districts. Every middle and high school counselor and elementary school principal has been provided with educational packets consisting of PFLAG booklets, resource lists, and PFLAG SCV meeting information. We have also arranged community educational programs presented by medical and mental health professionals and renowned gender specialists.
Our efforts over the years have led many local organizations to invite us to participate in their yearly resource fairs. We partner, too, with our local libraries which publicize our meetings and events. In return, we have assisted in arranging PRIDE displays in the libraries’ teen section each JUNE and we also conducted a book drive in 2020 to assure that our LGBTQ families from preschoolers through high schoolers will see themselves reflected in the books they check out.
When faced with distortions and misinformation about our loved ones in local news media, we have advocated on their behalf by submitting thoughtful commentaries based upon scientific fact to counter their outlandish statements. We have challenged a senior minister at one of the largest Baptist churches in town who claimed that our transgender population are delusional and living a life of lies and a community member whose article was filled with fallacies as to why the military should ban transgender personnel. Past-president and PFLAG dad, Dave Mc Eachern, even donned his Eagle Scout leader uniform for an interview about the BSA’s decision to lift its ban on admitting gay scouts.
In the 2000s, PFLAG SCV began to participate in the community Fourth of July Parade and, when, in 2014, the stamp honoring civil rights activist and one of the first openly gay elected officials, Harvey Milk, was unveiled, PFLAG SCV hosted a community barbeque to celebrate. Over 500 community members attended. In the spring of 2018, we not only hosted a booth at our community’s “March for our Lives” demonstration, but one of our PFLAG moms spoke to over 4000 attendees about our PFLAG chapter’s actions to stop bullying, particularly as it relates to the victimization of LGBTQ teens. At PFLAG SCV’s 30th anniversary celebration in June of 2018, our Mayor pro-tem surprised us with a Certificate of Recognition signed by all city council members in appreciation and thanks for your commitment to our community and your dedication to advancing equality through your mission of support, education and advocacy.”
In June of 2019, PFLAG SCV, in conjunction with two other LGBTQ organizations, Queer SCV and Boston Scientific International’s PRIDE ERG, hosted the first-ever community PRIDE event, “A Picnic in the Park”. That same month, the city of Santa Clarita declared June as PRIDE month for the first time and asked members of our PFLAG Chapter to receive the Certificate that accompanied this declaration. In June 2020, the city once again named June as PRIDE month, but this time, in perpetuity.
Today, the organization that Santa Clarita never wanted has become one of the most respected non-profit groups in the community. This is because of the support, education, and advocacy that countless parents, families, allies, and our LGBTQ loved ones have provided to PFLAG SCV over the last 32 years.
NAME AND AFFILIATION OF THE ORGANIZATION
The name of the corporation shall be Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Santa Clarita Chapter and shall hereafter be referred to as “PFLAG SCV” or “the Chapter.”
PFLAG SCV is a chapter of PFLAG, Inc. and is self-governing.
As a member of PFLAG, Inc, the chapter is obligated to observe PFLAG, Inc. Bylaws, i.e., dues, and other rules or regulations pertaining to the Chapters that make up PFLAG, Inc.
PFLAG SCV’s purpose shall be to support the mission and charter of our national parent organization, PFLAG, Inc. by promoting the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) persons, their families, friends, and allies through:
for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ+
for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ+
in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ+
PFLAG SCV envisions a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
PFLAG Inc. and PFLAG chapters who have completed paperwork are considered 501(c) 3 organizations. This means we are considered to be a tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 501(c)3 is a federal tax code that allows the filer(s) (in this case, PFLAG National and our chapters) to file as a tax-exempt organization and collect tax-deductible donations. 501(c)3 status imposes strict federal guidelines and violation of these rules can result in loss of 501(c)3 status. A chapter may advocate for or against a bill, law, or particular issue; it cannot, however, endorse or oppose a candidate (of any kind) or political party. Below are recommendations for chapters when dealing with political issues.
DO support or lobby for the passage of a specific bill
DO NOT support or lobby for a particular political party
DO NOT support or lobby for or against any candidate running for Congress, Senate, President, etc.
DO invite everyone running for local or state office to come speak to your chapter
DO NOT invite just one candidate or just one party to come speak to your chapter
DO conduct non-partisan public education campaigns
DO conduct non-partisan voter registration and get out the vote drives
DO work with all political parties to get policy positions included on the party’s platform
DO NOT make any campaign contributions
DO NOT ask candidates to sign pledges on any issue.
The Chapter shall take no legal action without the approval of the Board of Directors of PFLAG, SCV.
The PFLAG, Inc and PFLAG SCV logo may be used on Chapter publications, advertisements, and in materials to be sold for fundraising purposes, letterhead, publicity, and whatever other uses are consistent with the national objectives and authorized by the Chapter as set forth in PFLAG’s Trademark and Trade Name Listing Agreement. Any use of the logo requires an approval of one of the person(s) assigned authority of its use, as assigned by the Board.
PFLAG SCV does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its’ activities or operations.
Eligibility of Membership
Any person who subscribes to the purposes of the Chapter and pays annual dues (aka member in good standing) can be a member and is entitled to the rights and privileges of membership.
Annual dues are to be set by the Board of Directors. Members who have paid their dues are considered “active” and in “good standing” for the current fiscal year.
Members in “good standing” shall be eligible to vote at the annual meeting. All items to be voted on shall be decided by a simple majority of those present at the meeting in which the vote takes place; this includes absentee ballots received at or before the annual meeting. Voting by proxy is not permitted. Each individual member is entitled to one vote.
Membership information and mailing lists of the Chapter are confidential. Only the Board of Directors and supporting members specifically authorized by the Board shall have access to this information when required for official business.
Rights and Resignation
Any member may voluntarily withdraw from membership upon written notice to the Secretary or Treasurer of the Chapter.
Rescinding of Membership
If given cause, any membership may be rescinded by a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the Board of Directors. Examples include, but are not limited to, breach of confidentiality and/or disrespectful behavior toward another meeting attendee/member. Examples include, but are not limited to:
Breach of confidentiality
Disrespectful behavior toward another member/attendee
Misuse or misappropriation of club assets.
Other just cause.
Except in the case of voluntary resignation, a member shall be notified in writing by an Executive Board member or Membership Chair of pending termination and be given an opportunity to appear before the Executive Board to appeal the proposed action in closed session.
MEETINGS OF GENERAL MEMBERSHIP
Regular General Meetings
Regular general meetings of the membership shall be held once a month and are open to non-members, visitors and guests.
An annual meeting of the general membership shall take place in November or at the discretion of the Board of Directors. At the annual meeting, the membership shall elect directors and officers, receive reports on the activities of the Chapter, and determine the direction of the Chapter for the coming year.
Special Member Meetings
Special meetings of the general membership may be called by the President or a vote of one–third (⅓) of the members of the Board. A petition signed by ten percent (10%) of the active membership may also call a special meeting.
Notice of Annual Meeting
A written notice and/or email of the annual meeting must be sent to all members in good standing, as well as those who have attended a regular meeting within the last year and have not yet renewed or become members. The written notice shall include both a voting ballot of those directors who are up for nomination, and a notice of renewal for annual dues for the coming year. The written notice must be deposited in the U.S. mail and/or emailed at least 30 days before the date of the annual meeting. Such notice shall be addressed to the members and attendees at their most recent addresses, as shown on the records of the Chapter.
A quorum for the annual meeting of the general membership shall consist of at least twenty percent (20%) of the active membership; this includes absentee ballots.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
It is the policy of PFLAG SCV that board members may not disclose or make accessible confidential information belonging to or obtained through their affiliation with PFLAG SCV to any person including relatives, friends, and associates, other than to persons who have a legitimate need for such information and to whom PFLAG SCV has authorized disclosure. Board members shall use confidential information solely for the purpose of performing services as a board member for PFLAG SCV. This policy is not intended to prevent disclosure where disclosure is required by law.
Conflict of Interest Policy
Board members have the legal duty of loyalty, that is, putting the interests of PFLAG SCV above their personal interests. A conflict of interest is one in which a board member is in a position to influence a decision that may result in a personal gain for him/herself or for a relative as a result of PFLAG SCV’s business dealings. Any potential conflict of interest should be disclosed by the board member to an officer of PFLAG SCV.
These ethics policies state the values of PFLAG SCV, Inc. and provide a code of conduct for its board of directors.
PFLAG SCV board members dedicate themselves to carrying out the mission of this organization. They will:
Recognize that the chief function of PFLAG SCV, Inc. is to serve the best interests of its constituency.
Accept as a personal duty the responsibility to keep up to date on emerging issues and to conduct themselves with professional competence, fairness, impartiality, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Keep the community informed about issues affecting PFLAG SCV.
Conduct the organizational and operational duties with positive leadership exemplified by open communication, creativity, dedication, and compassion; and with respect and always demonstrating personal integrity.
Exercise whatever discretionary authority the board has under the law to carry out the mission of the organization.
Avoid any interest or activity that is in conflict with the conduct of the official duties.
Strive for personal professional excellence and encourage the professional development of others.
Check Signing: The board President, Vice President or Treasurer are authorized to sign checks.
Expenses and Expense Reimbursement: The Board of Directors authorizes expenditures by approving an annual budget. The Board of Directors must approve expenses not outlined in the budget. In the event a board member must be reimbursed for an authorized expense, a receipt and a reimbursement form must be provided to the Treasurer who is responsible for appropriate documentation of the reimbursement.
The business of the Chapter shall be managed by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall have control of and be responsible for the management of the affairs, transactions, and property of the Chapter. Members of the Board may conduct business in the name of the Chapter only when specifically authorized by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall establish an approval process for limiting spending amounts and payment methods for such purposes.
Number, Tenure, Requirements, and Qualifications
The Board of Directors shall consist of Officers and At-Large members, each of whom shall have been a general member for at least one year. The number of At-Large members is to be set by the Board of Directors. The number of Directors shall be fixed from time-to-time by the Board of Directors, but shall consist of no less than three (3), nor more than fifteen (15), and include the following officers: The President, the Vice President (optional), the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
Per IRS regulations for granting 501(c)(3) status, if spouses both serve on the Board of Directors, the Board must include at least three other members who are not part of the same family.
The members of the Board of Directors shall, upon election, enter into the performance of their duties on January 1st.
Each member of the Board of Directors shall be a general member of the Chapter whose membership is in good standing.
Board of Director terms shall be for two (2) years and staggered so that at the time of each annual meeting, no more than one-half (½) of all members of the Board of Directors terms shall expire.
Each member of the Board of Directors shall attend at least sixty percent (60%) of the regular Board of Director meetings and general meetings annually and not have three (3) or more consecutive unexcused absences at either over a twelve (12) month period.
Each member of the Board of Directors has one vote.
The Board of Directors shall hold regular meetings at such time and place that the President may designate. The Board shall meet a minimum of four (4) times per year and at least once a quarter.
Special Board Meetings
Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by the President, Vice President, or any two members of the Board of Directors. The person or persons calling a special meeting shall establish the reason for the meeting, and the date, time and location of the special meeting as well.
Notice of Special Board Meetings
Notice of any special meeting of the Board of Directors shall be given at least seven (7) days in advance of the meeting by telephone, electronic methods, or by written notice. Any Director may waive notice of a special meeting which will not be counted against their attendance.
The presence of a majority of current members of the Board of Directors shall be necessary at any meeting to constitute a quorum to transact business, but a lesser number shall have power to adjourn to a specified later date without notice.
Any member of the Board of Directors who fails to fulfill any of his or her requirements as set forth in this document shall automatically forfeit his or her seat on the Board. The Secretary shall notify the Director in writing that his or her seat has been declared vacant, and the Board of Directors may forthwith immediately proceed to fill the vacancy. Members of the board of Directors who are removed for failure to meet any or all of the requirements in this document are not entitled to vote at the annual meeting and are not entitled to the procedure outlined in these bylaws.
Whenever any vacancy occurs within the Board of Directors, it shall be filled without undue delay by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Board of Directors.
Members of the Board of Directors shall not receive any compensation for their services as Directors.
Any question concerning parliamentary procedure at meetings shall be determined by the President, by reference to Robert’s Rules of Order.
Removal of a Director
Any member of the Board of Directors may be removed at any time, by vote of three-quarters (¾) of the members of the Board of Directors if in their judgement, the best interest of the Chapter would be served thereby.
Board Member Expectations
Be dedicated to the PFLAG mission and to the vitality of the chapter.
Attend board meetings and assigned committee meetings; and read financial reports and minutes.
Maintain membership in the chapter.
Serve on a board committee.
Avoid speaking or acting on behalf of the PFLAG board unless authorized to do so by the Board of Directors.
Board Member Job Descriptions
President – The president develops the board agenda (with input from the full board), distributes the agenda prior to the board meeting, facilitates board meetings and monthly support or program meetings, serves as spokesperson for the chapter, facilitates planning and program development, appoints committee chairs and committee members (with input from board), appoints ad hoc committees, and serves as ex officio member of all committees.
Vice-President – The vice-president facilitates meetings in the absence of the president and handles chapter duties at the request of the president. The vice-president also maintains the monthly sign-in sheet for meetings, checks the post office box regularly, opens and disperses mail to appropriate officers, notifies membership of PFLAG events and compiles ballot and biographies and mails and tabulates election results. The vice-president reports memberships and remits dues to the PFLAG national office, provides financial end-of-year information to the national office as requested, files required nonprofit forms with the California Secretary of State’s office, at the end of the fiscal compiles all of that year’s financial records into one electronic file and files the 990-N form with the Internal Revenue Service. PFLAG SCV’s fiscal year is October 1 – September 30.
Secretary – The secretary provides minutes of the board meetings to board members, writes thank you notes to donors and speakers, provides a board list (contact information) to board members, acts as email liaison to the national office, maintains a history notebook and calendar of events and maintains a mailing list for fundraising and invitations. The secretary also gathers email from the chapter website and disseminates to the appropriate person.
Treasurer – The treasurer collects and photocopies donation and membership checks, makes deposits, prepares monthly financial reports to the board, maintains a list of donors which is provided to the secretary for the mailing lists, keeps contact information on all members and creates a directory, provides expense and income data to the board for the purpose of developing the annual budget, maintains documentation for all expenses disbursed, provides records to the board of directors upon request, reconciles checking and savings accounts,
Committee Chair Job Descriptions
The president appoints committee chairs and committee members. Committee members can include board members as well as non-board members. Responsibilities of a committee chair include:
Attend all committee meetings.
Call and preside over meetings of the committee.
Set the agenda for committee meetings.
Record decisions and recommendations made by the committee.
Report the committee’s activities and recommendations to the board.
Invite the board president to attend committee meetings.
Work with the president to decide who should serve on the committee.
Delegate responsibilities to other committee members and encourage their full participation.
Evaluate the work of the committee with other committee members and the board president in concert with the organization’s strategic plan.
Possible committees include, but are not limited to, Programming, Education and Advocacy, and Membership.
Email List: The PFLAG email list should be used only to distribute information that is aligned with PFLAG SCV’s purpose: to advocate, to educate, to support LGBTQ+ people and their families and friends; and to disseminate pertinent chapter information and news.
Media: All media contacts are to be handled by the board president or his/ her designee. All press releases and other promotional materials are to be approved by the board president or his/her designee prior to dissemination. It is preferable to give all board members, if time allows, prior notice concerning press releases and/or media interviews, as well as electronic notices.
Strategic planning is a process through which PFLAG SCV agrees on priorities, which are essential to its mission and responsive to the current environment. Planning is one way that the board provides both leadership and care for PFLAG SCV. It is also an important platform for increasing the board’s role in fundraising. The following key pieces should be used in the planning process:
Vision – Describes PFLAG’s impact in the future.
Mission – Summarizes what PFLAG does (support, education, advocacy)
Goals – Desired accomplishments (programmatic, developmental, etc.)
Objectives – (SMART) Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Oriented, Time-Determined.
Action Steps – What is the task? What is the timeline? Who is the responsible person? What will it cost?
The board should set goals and develop action steps in a timely manner in order for the finance committee to be able to develop the annual budget. This process should begin soon after October 1st when new officers and board members are installed.
Existing bylaws may be amended or repealed, or new bylaws may be adopted by a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the Board of Directors.