[nabs-l] Funding rural-state student divisions

sarah baebler wolvessarah at hotmail.com
Sun May 24 19:58:54 UTC 2009


Jim,
I read the majority of you email but I am SUPER busy with our student seminar/rock climbing event coming up.  I do not agree with you,  Wisconsin if rural too.  We are spread all over the place.  I think that 30 is a good number and remember that more than totally blind students can participate and they are not normally counted as being blind or asked to be a part of nfb.  Wi is very rural.  If I wanted to go from the south to the north it would take me 13 hours on greyhound. We are a strong division that is spread out and we do fine with fundraisers you just have to find the oppurtunity and communicate, and most importantly devote effort to the group.  I do not think NABS should be responsible for supporting us finacially, I think that if you are struggling that NABS should have someone get involved with your group and help them grow and strengthen.  
Sarah B


> Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 12:20:09 -0700
> From: jim275_2 at yahoo.com
> To: nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> Subject: [nabs-l] Funding rural-state student divisions
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> NABS Officers, Board Members, and State Presidents.
> 
>  
> 
> I am writing to discuss the lack of stable NABS funding for
> rural-state student divisions. I am also writing to ask NABS Officers, Board
> Members, and State Presidents to begin considering and discussing how NABS can best
> provide adequate, stable, and annual financial assistance to its rural-state student
> divisions. 
> 
>  
> 
> First, using the Montana Association of Blind Students
> (MABS) as an example, I will discuss the unique challenges of presiding over a
> rural-state student division. Then, I will demonstrate how and why rural-state
> student divisions are inherently financially disadvantaged when compared to
> urban divisions. Then, I will further explain and justify the need for NABS to
> provide special consideration and financial support for its rural divisions. Last,
> I will make a suggestion as to how to fund rural-state student divisions; and,
> I will also explain how MABS would spend any special funding.
> 
>  
> 
> To be perfectly clear about my intentions, the purpose of this
> post is to begin a dialogue regarding this issue prior to the National
> Convention; that way, once we arrive at the National Convention, debate will
> have already begun, and action can more easily be taken to fix this problem.
> 
>  
> 
> Let me begin by
> detailing a few relevant statistics regarding The State of Montana: 
> 
> 1. In terms of land mass, Montana
> is the 4th largest state in the union.
> 
>  
> 
> 2. Montana
> has a state population of slightly less than one-million people.
> 
>   
> 
> 3. In terms of population density
> (persons per square mile), Montana
> ranks 48th in the union.
> 
>  
> 
> 4. In terms of population size, Montana
> ranks 44th in the union.
> 
>  
> 
> 5. Montana
> only has six cities with populations larger than 25,000 people; and only three
> cities with populations larger than 50,000 people. 
> 
>  
> 
> 6. Statewide, the Montana University
> System only has two major universities, four smaller universities, five
> colleges of technology, three community colleges, and three private
> institutions, for a statewide total of 17 higher-education institutions. 
> 
>  
> 
> 7. For fiscal year 2009, the entire
> Montana University System only has approximately 36,000 full-time students. If
> you consider part-time enrollment, the two largest universities combine for
> only 50,000 students.
> 
>  
> 
> 8. I have been told by the DSS
> Director for The University of Montana (the larger of the two major
> universities), that the University only has 10 blind students; based on this
> number, I estimate that there are less than 30 blind students in the whole
> state.
> 
>  
> 
> 9. The annual Montana Association
> of the Blind (MAB) state convention averages only 80-120 attendees.
> 
>  
> 
> How do the above
> statistics influence the operations of MABS?
> 
>  
> 
> 1. Statewide, Montana’s
> blind population is small. This means that MABS will also be small. Our small membership
> leads to insignificant dues revenue. Furthermore, our small membership also
> means a reduced labor supply for the purposes of advocacy and fund-raising
> efforts.
> 
>  
> 
> 2. Currently, MABS is represented
> in three universities; there are 1-3 students per university, and those universities
> are separated by 200-400 miles.  Our
> small, dispersed membership reduces our ability to establish our division as a
> presence within the state, within our state NFB affiliate, within any given university,
> or within any given community. This hurts both fund-raising and recruitment efforts.
> Additionally, this geographic dispersal and isolation prevents our division
> from establishing a sense of community within itself, thus reducing membership,
> recruitment, involvement, and motivation. As president, I have yet to meet any
> of my division’s members face-to-face.
> 
>  
> 
> 3. Due to our state’s large
> geographic area, as well as its inadequate public transportation systems, efforts
> to bring all MABS members together for purpose of a social event, an advocacy
> effort, or a fund-raising campaign are expensive, time-consuming, and
> impractical affairs. For example, it can take eight hours by Greyhound bus to
> go from The University of Montana (in Missoula)
> to Montana State University-Billings.
> 
>  
> 
> In general, how and
> why are rural-state student divisions inherently financially disadvantaged when
> compared to urban-state student divisions?
> 
>  
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 1. Rural-state student divisions
> lack the membership to be able to generate any meaningful amount of dues revenue. Furthermore, unlike urban-state student divisions, where the blind student population is larger, thus
> more easily located and recruited, there is not much a rural-state student
> division can do to expand its membership. 
> 
>  
> 
> 2. Due to insufficient dues revenue, all funding for a rural-state
> student division must come from fund-raising and grants, this includes the
> funds for basic operating costs, as well as all funding for any special
> projects or events. This puts rural-state student divisions at a financial disadvantage
> when compared to urban-state student divisions because rural-state student
> divisions have to engage in fund-raising simply to exist, whereas urban-state
> student divisions can cover their basic operating cost with dues revenue. 
> 
>  
> 
> 3. Rural-state student divisions lack the manpower to be able to
> fund-raise effectively. When it comes to writing grants, rural-state student
> divisions don’t have the personnel to have multiple people writing multiple
> grant applications; this limits the grants we can apply for. Additionally, when
> it comes to other means of fund-raising (such as selling candy), rural-state
> student divisions lack the manpower to execute fund-raisers that will generate a
> noteworthy amount of revenue. 
> 
>  
> 
> Why should NABS provide
> special financial support for its rural-state student divisions?
> 
>  
> 
> 1. If state student divisions are
> to be governed by NABS, then NABS needs to provide adequate support for its
> state divisions. In the case of urban-state student divisions, NABS might not
> have to expend many resources to insure that those divisions remain viable and
> sustainable. On the other hand, in the case of rural-state student divisions,
> NABS may need to spend more of its resources to insure the stability of those
> division.
> 
>  
> 
> Within the field of political
> science, it is widely accepted and recognized that the only reason individuals
> (collectively forming society) agree to be governed is because government provides
> services that they, the individuals, are unable or unwilling to obtain on their
> own. If a government stops providing services for the people, then the people no
> longer have a reason to continue to consent to being governed; eventually that
> government will lose legitimacy and will ultimately fail. So it goes with NABS,
> if rural-state student divisions are not adequately funded by NABS, then why
> should rural-state student divisions continue to consent to being governed by
> NABS? 
> 
>  
> 
> The relationship between government
> (NABS) and the governed (rural-state student divisions) is a two-way street; rural-state
> student divisions can and will support the goals and objectives of NABS, if
> NABS supports the rural-state student divisions financially. Without financial
> support from NABS, rural-state student divisions haven’t the financial means to
> contribute to the goals of NABS.
> 
>  
> 
> Last, I would like to clarify the relationship
> that exist between the state student divisions and NABS. State student
> divisions can exist under our state affiliate’s recognition without NABS,
> however, NABS can not exist without the state student divisions. Therefore, it
> is in the best interest of NABS to make sure that all of its state student
> divisions are successful and sustainable. 
> 
>  
> 
> 2. MABS, like other rural-state
> student divisions, is small and dependent through no fault of its own; NABS
> needs to recognize the fact that the plight of MABS is directly linked to the
> fact that Montana ranks 44th
> in the Nation in terms of population size, and NABS needs to act
> accordingly. 
> 
>  
> 
> Additionally, I would like to point
> out that small, dependent divisions could exist in urban states, and I would
> venture to guess that those divisions would be small and dependent through some
> fault of their own. NABS should not reward divisions that are failing due to
> lack of leadership or other identifiable, avoidable, and correctable causes,
> but NABS should recognize when divisions are struggling due to static,
> uncontrollable, and unchangeable circumstance (such as state populations), and
> NABS should adapt and respond accordingly. 
> 
>  
> 
> 3. Without adequate and stable
> funding, rural-state student divisions are unable to contribute towards the
> goals and objectives of the NFB and NABS. What it boils down to is this: If we
> are a Federation, then we work together for a common goal, and one element of
> working together is the financial element. If the urban-state student divisions,
> the NFB, and NABS want the rural-state student divisions to do more than simply
> exist on paper, if they want the rural-state student divisions to thrive and
> actively contribute towards the goals of the NABS and NFB, then we need a
> different means of funding our rural-state student divisions. 
> 
>  
> 
> How can NABS adequately
> fund rural-state student divisions?
> 
>             
> 
> 1. I propose that NABS provides
> rural-state student divisions with an annual $1,000 “subsistence grant.” Ideally,
> the dollar value of these grants should remain constant from year-to-year, and these
> grants should be automatic and guaranteed, as long as the rural-state student
> divisions comply with established grant requirements.
> 
>  
> 
> How would MABS spend a $1,000 annual “subsistence grant?” 
> 
>  
> 
>             1. As MABS
> President, I see MABS as needing $4,000 annually; $2,000 is 
> 
> needed to provide two scholarships
> to send two Division members to the National Convention; $1,000 is needed to
> provide scholarships to get Division members to the state convention; and
> $1,000 is needed to provide funding for an annual student division summer
> gathering. MABS would use a $1,000 subsistence grant from NABS to fund any of
> the above expenses.
> 
>  
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 2. As you can see, MABS is only
> asking NABS to fund 25% of MABS operating cost through an annual subsistence
> grant; MABS must still come up with the rest of its operating cost via other
> grants and fund-raisers. MABS is not asking for a hand-out, we are asking for a
> hand-up.
> I thank you all for your time, and
> I look forward to working with you all on solving this problem
> 
>  
> 
> Jim Reed
> 
> President, Montana
> Association of Blind Students
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
>       
> _______________________________________________
> nabs-l mailing list
> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for nabs-l:
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/wolvessarah%40hotmail.com



More information about the nabs-l mailing list