NBA Board Meets and Affirms Bold Visions and Ministries

The fall meeting of the NBA Board of Trustees was hosted at Community Christian Church with Trustee, Rev. Shanna Steitz, welcoming the group.

Finn Lanning, Director of Camp Sunflower stands at a podium and presents a presentation of Camp Sunflowers impact.
Finn Lanning, Director of Camp Sunflower.

Over a meal on the first day of the board meeting, an informative and meaningful presentation was offered by one of NBA’s Incubate Partner organizations and ministries, Camp Sunflower. Based in Kansas, the ministries of Camp Sunflower focus on providing affirming programming for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 11-20) with one of their cornerstone programs being a weeklong summer camp for youth. Director of Camp Sunflower, Finn Lanning, shared that LGBTQ+ youth face unique risks and challenges compared to their youth peers. Suicide risks, lack of access to mental health resources, and having a supportive community and mentors are particular needs for youth and young people growing and living into their full identities.

“Since 2017, the NBA’s support and accompaniment of Camp Sunflower has been a huge part of our origin story and why we have been able to flourish and offer the kinds of programs that we do,” Lanning reflected.

The Board also heard reports from all areas of the organization with special focus on strategic initiatives from the expanding Community Engagement and Grants program areas.

Led by Kara Whitehouse, Operation and Grants Management Coordinator, along with other NBA program staff, the NBA launched two additional grant areas, the Young Adult Leadership Development grants and the Health and Social Service Leadership Development grants. These two new grant areas, adds to NBA’s current granting portfolio which includes our Mission and Ministry grants—now in its eighth year—and grants awarded to our Social Entrepreneurship Cohort members. In total, the NBA’s accompaniment of health and social service ministries and leaders culminated in over $542,000 grant dollars awarded this year.

Rev. Héctor Hernández Marcial, NBA’s Director of Community Engagement shared reflections on how the work of imagining and co-creating communities of compassion, healing, and justice can be compared to a journey that unfolds step by step. Marcial’s analogy also offered a meaningful connection to his sabbatical pilgrimage activity of hiking the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, in northern Spain.

“With four new Peer Learning and Wellness groups launching in 2024, the journey ahead for these peer groups is one that includes education, professional development, justice and equity training, and mental health and wellness, to name only a few foundational components of the peer groups area of Community Engagement. Keeping an open and growth-oriented mindset allows the process to strengthen us at every step along the way,” reflects Marcial.

The Board also approved the NBA operations budget for fiscal year 2024. Chair of the NBA Board of Trustees, Rev. Dr. Jacque Foster offers this reflection on the work the NBA trustees accomplished.

“People often think of budget work as unexciting. That could not be farther from the truth with the NBA. The process of creating and passing the annual budget for NBA confirms my long-held belief that an organization’s budget is the true statement of that organization’s values and mission,” she says. “Our 2024 budget makes it possible for us to take bold steps in community engagement, mental health initiatives, social entrepreneurship, young adult leadership, and support of partners who do life-transforming work at the point of people’s greatest need. At the same time, our 2024 budget will strengthen our operations and work to connect with the whole church. Our budget process and the resulting budget reflect our faith that God is working in and through the NBA in the world. I am deeply moved by the commitment to be good stewards of NBA’s resources.”

During the President’s Report from President and CEO, Mark D. Anderson, reference was made to wars happening around the world, the tragic effects on communities and families, as well as the ongoing need for compassionate health and social service care and outreach. His words summed up not only a powerful few days of work with NBA Trustees, but also served as a reminder of why the NBA is engaged in the work of compassion, healing, and justice.

“As people of faith, we know that what happens to our neighbors has an impact upon us. They are we, and we are they. Part of how we, as NBA, acknowledge the many tensions in our lives and in our world is through sharing our bold vision that with empowered, sustained leaders and innovative social enterprises and organizations, we are nurturing liberated communities and a more just world.”