NBA Board of Trustees Fall 2022 Meeting Centered on Partnerships

The National Benevolent Association’s Board of Trustees held their Fall meeting in Jackson, Mississippi from November 10 – 12, 2022. This was the first in-person meeting since the Fall of 2019, due to the coronavirus pandemic that began in 2020. All Trustees and staff were asked to provide a negative Covid test before beginning travel.

Jackson, Mississippi is part of the Great River Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Regional Minister, Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton, joined the group for the opening dinner. Dr. Burton shared deep and moving information on the state of the region and the progress they are making in creating sustainable services for the congregations in their area, including hiring an Assistant Regional Minister for each of the three states in the region.

During the opening dinner, the Board was also introduced to Jamie Himes, President and CEO of Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth (SCSCY), an adoption and family services organization based in Jackson. Himes spoke on the work SCSCY performs, not just in Jackson, but for youth throughout the state of Mississippi. Her poignant presentation covered topics such as housing and treating children with behavioral health concerns, providing therapy for children with trauma, and offering services to youth who have been victims of trafficking. The Trustees toured the SCSCY corporate offices the following day, including the spacious and relaxing atrium that comprises their building’s entryway.

The second dinner of the meeting was held in partnership with the NBA 2021 and 2022 SENT Cohorts, which also hosted their fall ‘huddle’ in Jackson. The Board had the opportunity to hear presentations from two SENT Cohort members, Rev. Dr. Yolanda Norton, Executive Director of the Global Arts and Theology Project (GATE), and Rev. Ken Gregson, Executive Director of Joyful Friends. Rev. Dr. Norton introduced her plans to expand GATE’s impact via the Black Girl Magic Academy, a program for girls aged 11-17 focusing on Black women’s history and literature as well as womanist thought and womanist theology. This work will help participants think through a particular sociological and theological journey using artistic expression and worship. Rev. Gregson shared about the impact of Joyful Friends and their programs for neurodiverse children and youth, including family respite care and day camps that provide families with much-needed breaks from the challenges of caregiving.

During the board meeting, the Board of Trustees received updates on all NBA program areas and learned about the exciting plans the staff of the NBA created for 2023. The Finance Committee presented the 2023 budget which was approved by the Board to support NBA’s missional work in the coming year. Trustees also voted to welcome two new members to the Board: Mr. Jamar Doyle, President and CEO of the Council for Health and Human Services of the UCC (Cleveland, OH), and Mr. Todd Reed, CPA and Financial Planner at Bottom Line Services (Walton, KY).