Southwest Florida Chapter Bylaws

 Article I – Mission of Chapter

The Mission of the Chapter is:

  1. To foster the interests of our Country, the Naval Service and the U. S. Naval Academy;
  2. To perpetuate the friendships and associations formed by the Chapter Members through their common experience and interests in the Naval Academy and the Naval Service; and,
  3. To interest and guide the highest quality of young officer material toward entrance into the Naval Academy.

Article II – Name of Chapter

The name of this Chapter shall be the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, Southwest Florida Chapter (aka: USNA Alumni Association, Southwest Florida Chapter; or, USNAAA SWF Chapter). [For the purpose of this document, the term “Southwest Florida” shall nominally encompass the Florida Counties of: Charlotte, Glades, Lee, Hendry, Collier, and Monroe.]

Article III – Tax Status of Chapter

DISCLAIMER: This Chapter HAS NOT been established, nor operated under the “charitable organization” or “tax exempt status” of IRS Code 501(c)(3).

Article IV – Goals and Basic Operations of the Chapter 

  1. The Chapter is run by and for its Members. The Chapter’s success and smooth operations will only be as good as the Members proactively supporting it. It is the inherent duty of each Member to participate as fully as he or she sees fit. Each Member should assist in the smooth running of the Chapter and fully support the Officers and Board of Directors of the Chapter, including prompt payment of dues and attendance at Chapter luncheons and events. Each Member is also asked to assist in the identification of new members, and potential speakers (providing prospective members or speakers names to the Vice President, and help follow through with the actual contact information and with booking of the speaker). Members should also assist in providing any other relevant information (death of a member or their family member or other member crisis information as well as positive congratulatory information) that could require action by the Chapter to the President, Board, and the “Standing Committee on Member Events” (described below).
  2. To fulfill the Mission of the Chapter, detailed in Article I above, the Chapter shall hold monthly meetings at suitable venues in the region, nominally for the period from November through April of each winter (active) season.
  3. Such meetings will nominally be held as luncheons on the second Tuesday of each month, subject to change to accommodate the specific venue and/or speaker availabilities. Note:   “Members are encouraged to invites guests (spouse, significant other, relative, friend, and neighbor) to any of our events.”
  4. The Chapter will, for the December meeting, arrange for a non-speaker tail-gate themed luncheon that will coincide, in date and time, with the annual Army-Navy Game.
  5. Regular luncheon meetings should include featured speakers that are deemed to be appropriate to the interests of the Chapter Membership,
  6. A Board of Directors Meeting shall nominally be held at the conclusion of each Chapter monthly luncheon, except for after the Army-Navy Game tailgate luncheon).
  7. All Chapter Members are asked to dress appropriately for the venue/subject of all Chapter functions (i.e., recommended blue blazer, open collar shirt (ties optional), and long pants), the exception being the Army-Navy Tailgate, where letter sweaters or other appropriate USNA themed shirts, sweaters, etc., are encouraged.
  8. While not considered to be obligatory, the Board will consider, on a case by case basis in advance, reimbursement of some travel/speaking expenses incurred by the invited speaker(s).
  9. While not considered to be obligatory, the Board will consider an annual donation to a suitable organization, if sufficient funds exist in the Treasury.
  10. The Chapter shall participate in the Annual Service Academy Golf Tournament and host the Tournament on a rotating basis with Army and Air Force. Financial support will be provided by the Chapter when hosting the event.
  11. The Chapter shall foster camaraderie with other Service Academy Alumni-type groups and associations in the area through open invitations to our events, and other joint events.
  12. The Chapter is not meant to be a profit making organization, but shall be operated to be self-sustaining. Income for the Chapter is limited to amounts from yearly dues, collection of luncheon fees, and other limited income producing sources, if any.
  13. All Chapter broadcast communications to the membership shall be conducted by email. Chapter communications to individuals can be by email, telephone or text as appropriate.
  14. Standing Committee on Member Events – This standing committee shall strive to keep the Chapter, via communication with the President, apprised of pertinent changes in the status of Members and their family members, while protecting their privacy. This might include, but not be limited to, notification about Members with serious health issues, and/or needing assistance, the passing of an Alumni or Member, spouse or significant other, or other issues of note and interest to Members. Good news is also welcome (i.e., weddings, graduations, grandchildren, etc.).

Article V – Chapter Treasury and Budget

    1. The Chapter Treasury shall be established to facilitate the receipt of funds from Chapter activities (dues, luncheons, etc.), and promptly pay for Chapter expenses.
    2. The Chapter Treasury will consist of a non-interest bearing Checking account with two signatories (the Treasurer and the President, or his or her designated alternate).
    3. The Board shall establish a comfortable reserve amount of funds it deems necessary to cover unexpected expenses for the year.
    4. A portion of any excess funds, beyond those needed to cover operating expenses, luncheons and speakers, above a threshold limit established by the Board to be a comfortable reserve, shall at the discretion of the Board, be distributed annually to charitable or other organizations.
    5. The Treasurer shall establish a yearly Budget and present to the Board at the first meeting of the year.
    6. Separate Categories shall be included in the budget for Operating Expenses, Charitable Donation Account, and Speaker Reimbursement Account as examples.
    7. Estimated revenue from collection of dues and luncheon fees shall be included.
    8. Estimated operating expenses shall be included.
    9. Significant deviations from all estimates shall be promptly reported by the Treasurer to the Board

Article VI – Membership Categories in Chapter

  1. The Chapter shall consist of four (4) types of Memberships: Full Member; Associate Member; Honorary Member; and, Emeritus Member.
    1. Reserved for USNA Alumni Only
    2. Any person who has been sworn in and entered on the rolls as a Midshipman for his, or her class at the Naval Academy (includes graduates and non-graduates) and whose service has not been terminated under other than honorable conditions, shall be eligible to become a Full Member of the Chapter upon graduation of his, or her class. Membership occurs upon payment of dues.
    3. Full Membership has full voting privileges.
    1. The surviving spouse or significant other of deceased Alumni shall be eligible for membership in the Chapter as Associate Members with no voting privileges. No dues will be assessed.
    2. Non USNA Alumni who have demonstrated active support of the Chapter, the U. S. Naval Academy or the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, including Parents of current or prospective Midshipmen, Blue and Gold Officers, and others may be invited to join the Chapter as Associate Members.
    3. Associate Members have no voting privileges. Annual dues will be assessed.
    1. Honorary Memberships will be considered on special occasions for those not falling into one of the above categories, who have distinguished themselves in a special way in support of the US Navy, and US Naval Academy, and would not normally attend monthly functions.
    2. Honorary Memberships will be of limited duration, and may be granted a complementary luncheon/tail gate admission.
    3. Dues will not be assessed, and Honorary Members have no voting privileges.
    1. A special category of Membership that shall be automatically bestowed upon Chapter Members that have been Members in good standing for at least 5 years, and have graduated from the Academy a minimum of 65 years earlier than the present year (i.e., for the year 2016 this would apply to Alumni from the Class of 1951 or earlier.)
    2. Emeritus Members will have voting privileges, but dues will not be assessed.
  6. Associate, Honorary and Emeritus Memberships must be approved by the Board.
  7. Any Member may be suspended or expelled from membership in this Chapter for due cause by a majority vote of the Board.

Article VII – Chapter Dues and Luncheon Fees

  1. The amount of Chapter dues and luncheon fees shall be reviewed and set annually by the Board.
  2. Dues and Luncheon Fees shall be set at a level to ensure sufficient funds are available to meet operating expenses of the Chapter, and to cover the estimated annual costs of monthly luncheons.
  3. The annual dues shall be due on the first day of the Chapter’s fiscal year, June 1, and shall be paid to the Treasurer. If payment is not made by January 1, the member may be dropped from the rolls.
  4. A “tear-off” Dues Reminder will be sent to all Alumni in the region by email along with either the President’s Annual Fall “Welcome Back Email” or each of the luncheon announcements (starting with the November Luncheon), stating the fact that dues are due and payable, with the Board approved Dues amount, and sufficient text for Members to understand that the Chapter intends to enforce timely payment of dues (as our only source of income to cover operating expenses, and that attendance at luncheons will be denied if dues have not been paid).
  5. Any member who has been dropped from the rolls for lack of payment of dues may be reinstated by payment of the full amount of dues.
  6. Any current/past members who rejoin at any time during the current season shall be assessed the full amount of the annual dues. Current members, in arrears in dues, must be paid in full for participation in any event for the current season.   New members who join on or after 1 February shall pay one-half the annual fee.

Article VIII – Chapter Officers and Board of Directors

  1. The Officers of the Chapter shall consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Data Base Administrator. The position of Chapter Chaplain shall be considered as an honorary Officer and Board Member to be included in officer and board communications but does not have voting privilege.  All regular Officers shall serve for a nominal period of two years with a board approved option to volunteer for a third year, except for the Chaplain, which has no specific term limit.   Officers shall be nominated and elected as herein provided. The Chapter shall be under the management of the above Officers and Board Members, who shall serve without compensation. The President and Vice President shall be Full members. The remaining Officer positions may be filled by either a Full member or Associate member.
  2. The term of office of all Officers shall normally begin on May 1 and end on April 30.
  3. The Board of Directors of the Chapter shall consist of all current Officers, plus immediate outgoing Past President and Vice President (for a term of two years after leaving office); and, other active members appointed by the President (for a term of two years). Total membership of the Board (Officers and Board Members) shall nominally be limited to a total of 11 Members. Terms on the Board Membership may be extended by mutual agreement of the Board Members.
  4. Incumbent Officers and Board Members, plus the Chapter Chaplain, shall upon the expiration of their term of office or decision to resign, conduct a full and comprehensive turnover of duties, including any pertinent materials to the incoming Officer/Board Member or Chaplain.
  5. While the Chapter Vice President is primarily responsible for arranging venues, menus and speakers, ALL Officers and Board Members will assist in putting together a suitable list of speakers each season.
  6. The Officers and Board Members of the Chapter serve the Chapter on a volunteer basis, and are not compensated in any way for their time, effort and service. As such, they do not have any financial or legal obligation to the Chapter, nor to the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association. They may not be held liable for any actions resulting from their decisions or actions while serving the Chapter.
  7. All Officers and Board Members are expected to help with the set up and dismantling of the Chapter specific items at each venue of each Chapter function. Additional assistance by other Chapter Members is also requested.

Article IX – Duties of the Officers and Board Members

  1. The President shall:
    1. Preside at all meetings of the Chapter, and shall exercise the powers and perform the duties usual to that office.
    2. Establish committees from the membership, as required, to carry out the mission of the Chapter.
    3. Establish a “Standing Committee on Member Events” and appoint the chair.
    4. Review, revise and/or approval ALL communications within and outside of the Chapter including Minutes of Board Meetings, Chapter News for SHIPMATE, and monthly meeting announcements.
    5. Preside over all Board Meetings, provide an agenda to all Board Members prior to each meeting, and appoint additional Board Members as appropriate.
    6. Represent the Chapter at the annual meeting of Chapter Presidents at the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association every May, when possible/practical.
    7. Serve as co-signer to the Chapter checking account, or designate another Officer or Board Member to serve as co-signer.
    8. At each luncheon, introduce the guest speaker, invite new Members and guests to introduce themselves, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, cover announcements, old and new business, and lead the singing of the Navy Blue and Gold.
    9. Notify Chapter Members in advance when possible of any issues requiring their vote and preside over the voting process.
    10. Appoint temporary Officers for limited terms in case of any out of sequence vacancy occurring. Such temporary appoints may become a full term appointment with a positive vote of the Board.
    11. Send Yearly Welcome Back email message and End of Season Email message to Members.
  2. The Vice President shall:
    1. Perform the duties normally associated with that office and such duties as may be delegated to him by the President.
    2. Substitute for the President when needed.
    3. Arrange for the proper venue to be available for monthly luncheons and annual Army-Navy Game “tail gate” celebration (including menus), and ensure that the Brigade and American Flags, and any table arrangements are available and on display properly., and that at least one table is Reserved for Speaker and Officers/Board.
    4. With assistance from other Officers and Board Members, arrange for suitable speakers for each luncheon; provide the name and biographical information of each speaker, venue, dates, etc. (including menu) to the Chapter Secretary for inclusion in the official monthly Chapter Luncheon Announcement; provide the formal introduction of the speaker at each luncheon; and, ensure that the Chapter Chaplain or other Member is available to say the blessing at each luncheon.
    5. At the beginning of each season, or as appropriate, with input from the Treasurer, provide the Officers and Board with a proposed Budget that will include expected expenditures for luncheons, rental of any audio/visual equipment, and reimbursements for travel for speakers.
    6. Keep an open dialog going with Officers/Board Members with respect to invitations to speakers, topics, etc.
  3. The Secretary shall:
    1. Serve as the main “voice” of the Chapter, and be responsible for all internal and external communications.
    2. Keep a record of all meetings of the Chapter, and maintain a file of minutes of all Board meetings.
    3. With assistance from the Vice President, draft the monthly meeting announcement, get approval from President, and submit to Membership Data Base Administrator for dissemination.
    4. Provide Minutes of each Board Meeting to President within one week for approval and dissemination to the Board.
    5. Draft monthly Chapter News, send to President for approval, then transmit monthly Chapter news to SHIPMATE in time to meet deadlines for publication, and disseminate any information received from the Association to the Chapter members. Ensure that monthly inputs to SHIPMATE include an invitation for others to join us at our monthly luncheons or other events if in the area.
    6. Draft the monthly Luncheon Announcement, get approval from President, and provide to the Membership Data Base Administrator for dissemination.
    7. Promote increased attendance at the monthly luncheons by running announcements (approved by the President) in local papers (Naples Daily News, Bonita Daily News, Fort Myers News Press, Bonita Banner, Florida Weekly, and others) that offer free announcements to groups such as our Chapter.
    8. Establish communications with, and send email announcements to: representatives of surrounding Alumni Chapters from the U.S. Naval Academy, US Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, or other service oriented groups (i.e., VFW, etc.) in the area.
  4. The Treasurer shall:
    1. Receive all annual dues, luncheon fees, and other Chapter funds and deposit them in a financial institution approved by the Board.
    2. Accept RSVPs for Chapter functions; provide check in lists for each function; provide head counts as necessary; and, set up and run the check in desk for all functions, and order name tags for members.
    3. Provide list of attendees at all functions to Secretary.
    4. Be a signatory on the Chapter checking account (non- interest bearing account) and make disbursements as necessary in the best interest of the Chapter.
    5. Present a financial report to the Board at the completion of each season, or when requested by the President.
    6. Prepare an Annual Chapter Budget
    7. Maintain an accurate accounting of funds, and alert the President when the Chapter appears to be in any financial stress (i.e., not sustaining operating costs by collection of dues and other fees).
    8. Work with the Membership Data Base Administration to keep an up to date Paid Dues List.
  5. The Membership Data Base Administrator shall:
    1. Be responsible for maintaining a roster of all past, current, or potential Chapter Members in the Southwest Florida region.
    2. Once yearly, prior to the start of the Chapter Meeting Season (no later than 1 Nov), obtain a listing of all Alumni in the region from the Alumni Association. This list will contain names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, name of spouse, class year, etc. This list will be maintained in Excel spreadsheet format. This “List of Regional Alumni” will be used to recruit new members.
    3. Construct, and maintain a sub-set of the “List of Regional Alumni” in the area, who are current or past members. Said list shall be maintained separately. This sub-set may contain contact information on Members that are not on the Regional List, and shall also contain contact information on all current or past Associate, Emeritus or Honorary Members.
    4. All lists referred to above will be provided to Officers and Board members yearly or upon significant change.
    5. Update the Current/Past Member list monthly as information on new members are received from the Treasurer or other Board Member.
    6. Ensure that the privacy of all Alumni, Associates, or others on either list is respected. Such lists shall not be used for any purpose other than informing those on the lists of Chapter Events, and Annual Membership Drives. The two lists shall not be given to anyone not a current Officer or Board Member. The “bcc” function in email shall be used for all general correspondence.
    7. Be responsible for sending monthly luncheon announcements and other Chapter correspondence to the Members or prospective Members by email. Email addresses obtained from these two lists will be the primary source for sending information to Members or prospective Members.
    8. Provide a copy of the current By-Laws by email to new members.
  6. The Chapter Chaplain shall:
    1. Be a special position, and as such the Chapter Chaplain will perform Chaplain-type duties only.
    2. The Chapter Chaplain may be any type of Member, including Honorary
    3. The position itself is non-voting. (However, if the Chapter Chaplain is already a Member holding voting privileges, he or she may exercise this right.)
    4. If available, the Chapter Chaplain will be a volunteer from the Chapter Membership, rather than recruited from outside of the organization.
    5. Be responsible for leading the Chapter Members in saying an appropriate, non-denominational, blessing prior to commencing our luncheon or event and when possible represent the Chapter at memorial services or similar events.
  7. The Board of Directors shall:
    1. Be composed of Officers and other Members delineated in Article VIII above.
    2. All Board Members shall have full voting privileges
    3. Fulfill the intent of the Chapter by ensuring proper management of the affairs of the Chapter.
    4. Normally meet at the conclusion of each luncheon (except after the Army-Navy Game tailgate).
    5. Be presided over by the President at all Board meetings, who will establish an Agenda for each Board meeting, and provide that Agenda to all Board Members by email prior to the meeting.
    6. Serve at the pleasure of the Chapter President, who is free to appoint any Chapter Member in good standing to serve on the Board.
    7. Approve all Associate, Honorary or Emeritus Members.
    8. Annually set the specific per member amount of Dues to be collected, and nominal luncheon fees. Raising of fees for luncheons, approval of any travel reimbursements for speakers, and/or “comping” of luncheons for guests shall only be done by advanced approval of the Board.
    9. At the discretion of the President, be polled electronically by email should time be of the essence in decisions between luncheons.
    10. A quorum of the “Board” will consist of the President and/or Vice President, and at least four (4) other Officers/Board Members.
    11. Approve any issue by a majority vote of the Board Members meeting the quorum criteria.

Article X – Election of Officers

  1. At the first Board meeting every season (nominally November), the Board shall evaluate the need to fill pending vacant Officer/Board positions.
  2. Incumbent Officers and/or Board Members approaching the end of their nominal two year term, wishing to continue in their present position for an additional term, shall so inform the Board at the first meeting.
  3. When possible, for a more seamless transfer, the President and Vice President positions should be replaced in alternating years.
  4. In anticipation of maintaining the nominal two year term limits for Officers, or vacancies occurring for any other reason, the President shall inform the Chapter Members at the first luncheon of the year (nominally November) of which positions will need replacing during that season, and ask for nominations/volunteers.
  5. The names of all nominees, and/or those seeking extension of their term, shall be provided to the general Membership at the February luncheon and by email
  6. Candidates for pending vacant Chapter Officer positions shall be nominated and elected by all members of the Chapter.
  7. Final vote for new Chapter Officer positions will be made at the March luncheon.
  8. Voting shall be by any reasonable means with the person receiving the greatest numbers of votes being elected.
  9. Ties shall be decided by lot.
  10. Voting by proxy is prohibited.
  11. Temporary (limited term) Officers may be appointed by the President in cases of vacancies occurring out of sequence.

Article XI – Amendments to By-Laws and Operating Guidelines

  1. These By-Lase and Operating Guideline supersede and replace the previous By-Laws of the USNA Alumni Association Naples – Fort Myers Chapter dated 1998
  2. These By-Laws and Operating Guidelines may be amended, repealed, or altered in whole, or in part, by a majority vote of the voting Members attending any duly organized meeting of the Chapter, provided the proposed changes have been submitted to the Board and to the voting Members at least fifteen days before the meeting.

Article XII – Dissolution of Chapter

  1. In the event of dissolution of this Chapter, funds remaining in the treasury after all obligations are paid shall be forwarded to the U. S. Naval Academy Alumni Association as a donation to the Endowment Fund.

Approved by the Officers, Board Members and a majority vote by attending voting Chapter Members on _________________ at Naples, Florida.


Signed:  Douglas A. Backes

{Signature on file}

President, USNA AA Southwest Florida Chapter