thinking of starting a fruA inc parent organized district (POD) within one of the ten frua regions?

 

great...we can help!

 

 

 

FRUA INC is now officially structured as ten FRUA regions covering all fifty states.  This gives every single FRUA member family an opportunity to be connectged within their region to a regional community, which offers familes, not just contact with FRUA National communication, but with FRUA regional chapter newsletters, Yahoo groups and regional activity.

 

Beneath  that regional structure, metropolitan areas or localized areas can self-organize into FRUA Parent Organized Districts, or PODs. These local sructures can further localize events and activities, from FRUA parent play groups and age-specific gatherings, to family potlucks and issue-specific educatinal topics; how to approach middle school, how to advocate for your child's IEP, or how to deal with a combination of medical diagnosis.

 

This information is meant to give you an idea of how to start a POD or simply to organize a FRUA activity.   Do not plan to do everything yourself.  Just use this as an outline for discussion when meeting with other families in your area.

 

Begin by contacting your FRUA Regional Chapter contact, so that you know what resources might be availble to you from the region. Follow this link to find the region chair and regional contact information: http://www.frua.org/community/chapter-contacts


Starting a FRUA POD doesn't really need to take all that much time.  Each member of your volunteer leadership committee will need to be a current member of FRUA.  You need to organize an event (a pot luck supper, play date, etc.) and find out if there is enough interest in your region for a FRUA POD. Your FRUA Regional leadership can help with this by getting a database of FRUA members in your area.  You no longer need to field a full board or a treasurer for your area; this will be handled at the regional level.


Pull together a few core volunteers and find out what the needs are within your area; it might be specific educational and medical issues, or it might simply be to connect your children so they meet other kids like themselves -- "adopted from Russia, Ukraine, or other Eastern European and Central Asian countries."  The more you learn what you need locally, the better you can adjust your gatherings or events to meet those needs.

 

 

Should you not find what you need at the regional level you can also contact our FRUA National Chair, Jan Wondra, at chair@frua.org for more specific help or questions.

 

 

Building Local FRua membership

If you need help locating members and other interested individuals in your area, please contact either your FRUA regional chair thorugh the contact link above, or FRUA National at database@frua.org  for a list of FRUA members in your geographic area. We do not give out member information to non-members, so you need to be a verified FRUA member.

You can get complimentary FRUA materials, newsletters, brochures or membership forms to promote your chapter formation at no cost by contacting Gay Ketterer at gayk22@gmail.com 



You are welcome to include information about your FRUA POD within your region's news published in FRUA's periodic journal, “The Family Focus.”  by contacting familyfocus@frua.org. To include your regional chapter news our your FRUA POD event in the FRUA national activity dircctory, please contact outreach@frua.org



Once you have your core volunteers let your FRUA regional chapter chair know. The chapter receives a FRUA dues share for each paid membeship, for use within the region to help underwrite local events.


What the FRUA POD becomes is really up to members.  Most areas have found that low-cost, kid-focused events are what most members need.  Of course, this will change over time, as children get older and parents face new challenges.  Some chapters and PODs have quarterly parent networking meetings or events.  These events can be educational or purely social. 

FRUA has a very basic mission and we ask chapters to follow it.  “FRUA offers families hope, help and community by providing connections, education, resources and advocacy and works to improve the lives of orphaned children"

 

NON-PROFIT STATUS FOR REGIONS


One other important note is that FRUA's national 501(c)(3) status does not extend to the regional chapters.  To be a non-profit corporation, the chapter must apply to the IRS on its own. FRUA PODs will not need, nor should they apply for 501(c)(3) status. If the regional chapter wants to pursue this, FRUA National offers a reimbursement in the amount of $150, to help a regional chapter obtain the 501(c)(3) status.

 

CHAPTER START UP GUIDELINES


 

 

Great!  You're thinking of starting a chapter!

 

This information is meant to give you an idea of how to start a chapter.  Do not plan to do everything yourself.  Just use this as an outline for discussion when meeting with other families in your area.

 

Starting a chapter doesn't really take all that much time.  Each member of your volunteer leadership committee will need to be a current member of Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption (FRUA).  You need to hold an event (a pot luck supper, play date, etc.) and find out if there is enough interest in your region.  I'm guessing that there will be!

 

The chapter name should be FRUA – (state-city or location).  For example, if you are the only chapter in your state (FRUA-Illinois).  If you need further identification, you can add a city name or other location identifier (FRUA – Missouri – Kansas City).  This would be the official name; for everyday use, this can be shortened to (FRUA – Kansas City).  We want to keep as much consistency with names as possible.  That makes it easy for potential new members to locate their closest chapter.

 

Pull together a few core volunteers.  You will need a Chapter Chair for outreach and to be a point of contact for members and for the FRUA board, an Events Chair, and a Treasurer.  As interest grows and you learn what is most needed by the regional membership, more positions can be added.  This will vary depending on the focus of your particular chapter's membership interests.

 

Save your receipts!  Once the chapter is established, you can submit up to $100 in receipts for a one-time start-up reimbursement.  The $100 can be used to cover postage and copying costs for invitations to meetings, bank fees, a kick-off event, etc.   Hopefully, this will minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.

 

Building Your Local Membership

 

If you need help locating members and other interested individuals in your area, please contact Mary Fischer at database@frua.org.  Mary can provide you with a list of FRUA members in your geographic area, if you are already a FRUA member.  (We do not give out member information to non-members.)

You can also contact local agencies to spread the word.  We can add your email address to our list of FRUA contacts, so pretty soon people will find you!

 

You can get complimentary FRUA materials, newsletters, brochures or membership forms to promote your chapter formation at no cost by contacting Lori Zimmer at treaserer@frua.org.

 

If you want people to contact you be telephone about getting involved in your new chapter, we will need permission to publish your phone number.  To be a recognized contact, you must be a FRUA member.  FRUA is also interested in you get out information regarding local contacts for answering adoption-related questions;  like getting an apostile in your state, or home study or re-adoption requirements.  If you feel you could help with this, regardless of what happens with the formation of an “official” chapter, please let me know. 

 

You are welcome to include information about the chapter in FRUA's newsletter, “The Family Focus.”   

Because we have so many regions now, it is requested that submissions be limited to 250 words and two pictures.  We can't guarantee that every submission makes it into an issue in its entirely, but we do list each chapter and contact including contact information.

 

Once you have your core volunteers on board, the chapter will need to open a bank account.  Having the bank account opened makes the chapter eligible for “dues share”.  FRUA cannot send “dues shares” to an individual.  Therefore, the account should be in the name of your chapter, “FRUA – Arkansas” for example.

 

Chapter Governance

 

Your FRUA Chapter board will serve two-year, renewable terms and there is an established process for calling for elections.  This not only passes the leadership around among your membership, but allows for member families to affirm the chapters focus and direction, which experience has shown us prevents leadership burnout and makes members take more ownership in the chapter.

 

All chapter members must also be National members.  In other words, individuals can't just join the local chapter. 

 

The chapter will need to decide on an amount for your chapter dues.  Chapter dues range from $25 to $35 per year.  FRUA National retains $20 (a figure it has not changed since its founding in 1994), which covers, “The Family Focus”, the website, the hot line, membership and database and membership expenses, orphanage support projects, etc.  If the members live within a local chapter, the dues in excess of $20 is returned to the chapter as “dues shares”.  The chapter portion of the dues is used to fund local events, Grow Bags and anything else that you do in your chapter. 

 

For ease of administration, all membership forms need to be sent to the National Treasurer via snail mail through the FRUA P.O. Box to be processed.  The membership will be processed and the “dues shares” back to the chapter will be sent out approximately every six weeks to your treasurer.  You will receive a copy of the application forms and a listing of both current and former members on a monthly basis.

 

What the chapter becomes is really up to members.  Most chapters have found that low-cost, kid-focused events are what most members need.  Of course, this will change over time, as our children get older and parents face new challenges.  Some chapters have monthly or quarterly parent networking meetings or events.  These events can be educational or purely social. 

 

Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption has a very basic mission and we ask chapters to follow it.  “Our mission is to support the whole like experience of Eastern European orphan children and to strengthen the families that are created through adoption”.  We accomplish this through education, outreach, resources and support, and we work to improve the lives of orphanage children.

 

One other important note is that our 501(c)(3) status does not extend to the chapters.  To be a non-profit corporation, the chapter must apply to the IRS on its own.  If your chapter wants to pursue this, FRUA National offers a reimbursement in the amount of $150, to help your chapter obtain the 501(c)(3) status.

Chapter Leadership Support

 

All Chapters are supported by a FRUA Regional Liaison, who serves on the FRUA National Board of Directors, giving you a way to ask questions and get guidance.  Your current Regional Liaison is:

 

Cindy Anders

FRUA National Board of Directors

Regional Liaison

chapters@frua.org

 

 

If you need help getting the chapter off the the ground, please feel free to contact her. Not only will you have this support, but many of our FRUA chapters are willing to mentor new chapters to help you get the right start.  They can give you advice on how to garner member interest, how to increase volunteer support and advice on planning and organizing events.

 

As an all volunteer organization, we are very appreciative of the time and energy you have offered to bring to FRUA.  Feel free to contact chapters@frua.org if you need help with anything.

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