Board Member

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Our board DUTIES
Directors have three over-arching legal duties to Level Ground:
1. Duty of care: Take care of the nonprofit by ensuring prudent use of all assets, including facility,
people, and good will; and provide oversight for all activities that advance the nonprofit’s
effectiveness and sustainability.
2. Duty of loyalty: Make decisions in the best interest of the nonprofit corporation; not in his or
her self-interest.
3. Duty of obedience: Ensure that the nonprofit obeys applicable laws and acts in accordance with
ethical practices; that the nonprofit adheres to its stated corporate purposes, and that its
activities advance its mission. (National Council of Nonprofits)

In addition to these three main duties, the board as a group:
- Determines and reviews LG’s mission and purpose
- Ensures adequate financial resources for LG to fulfill its mission. Each board member
may make annual contributions to LG commensurate with his or her means, and even
more importantly will work to enhance LG’s public standing and garner support from
the community
- Maintains oversight of LG finances, which includes evaluating financial policies,
approving annual budgets, and reviewing periodic financial reports to ensure that the
organization has the necessary resources to carry out its mission and remains
accountable to its donors and the general public
- Develops a competent and diverse board of directors and evaluates its own
- Hires, supports, evaluates, and sets compensation for the Executive Director
- Ensures effective strategic planning and assists in implementing and monitoring the
organization’s goals
- Monitors effectiveness and strengthens programs and services, as they relate to Level
Ground’s mission

Level Ground is a unique place where students develop grit and resilience, and deep trust is
built over time in meaningful relationships between instructors and students. Level Ground
strives to build this sense of a “Level Ground family” at all levels of the organization – this gives
us a strong foundation from which to build a healthy organization that fights for an ambitious

To that end, the values we espouse with our students apply to all the staff and volunteers who
work with Level Ground. Some Directors may also be martial artists so these values and how
they translate off the mat are probably easily understood. So that we can share an open and
explicit understanding of these values that will help all Directors be aligned with the values of
the organization, here are the five values as they are presented in an athletic context – “on the
mat” – and how they translate for Directors – “on the board”:

On the mat: The mastery of BJJ requires intense mental and physical discipline and focus. The
athlete is required to spend countless hours conceptualizing, drilling, and practicing a single
technique in order to execute it flawlessly. Students learn that they must balance training with
adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and positive relationships with teammates and instructors in
order to excel as an athlete.
On the board: LG Directors strive for balance within themselves and in relationships with
colleagues – we work to develop our own strategies for self-care, being aware of our work or
personal commitments and adjusting board commitments as necessary. We actively work to
develop positive and open relationships with other Directors by communicating our availability,
needs, and styles of communication in order to create a supportive and high-functioning team
that can lead the organization.

On the mat: Practicing respect is the first value the students learn at Level Ground. Students
and instructors must demonstrate tangible signs of respect by bowing as they enter and leave
the mats, provide a verbal form of respect and understanding after each member speaks (by
saying “oss,” a conventional sign of reverence in BJJ), and shake hands before and after sparring
(which we refer to “rolling”).
On the board: Practicing respect is at the heart of serving on the LG board. We demonstrate
tangible signs of respect to each other, staff, and students appropriate to the situation: eye
contact, active listening, shaking hands, hugging, saying hello and goodbye. We show respect
during meetings by arriving on time, being active listeners, contributing ideas and feedback,
abiding by any agreed rules of conduct (such as taking turns speaking and not interrupting) and
staying for full meetings. We show respect to each other by communicating openly and in
advance about schedules, ideas, and concerns. We also show respect through our commitment
to developing a diverse and inclusive board and staff, and communication and actions that are
respectful of our communities.

On the mat: The complexity of BJJ technique demands that students cast away their pride and
embrace a teachable attitude in order to excel. Students learn that there is always a more
knowledgeable person to learn from, which is reinforced through rolling. By rolling with
partners that are more technical than themselves, they are placed in a vulnerable position in
which they have to ‘submit’ to the other person by “tapping out.” We teach our students to
embrace “tapping out,” as it serves as an opportunity to learn and grow.
On the board: Serving on a board can be demanding, and requires a learning curve of each
Director in different ways. Embracing the value of humility means that we agree to learn from
each other, to ask questions, to ask for help. We have a curious attitude and seek out people
who know more than us. We embrace investigating the areas where we as a group need to
grow, as an opportunity to learn and help the organization.

On the mat: Students are constantly humbled, as well as mentally and physically pushed to
their limits. As such, they must envelop a strong sense of confidence, resilience, and tenacity to
keep coming back to the mat. They learn that through a supportive team and their own self-
determination, they can exceed their own expectations and strive for goals that they never
thought were possible to attain.
On the board: Level Ground, since its inception, has had big ideas and big dreams. As Directors
we nurture an ambitious vision of the future, and strive for accomplishments just beyond our
grasp. To accomplish our goals, we work together to build resilience in the face of any odds
against us, develop responsible strategies for the future, and do anything we can to keep the
organization strong and healthy.

On the mat: The BJJ practitioner cannot succeed in a match by leveraging brute force, as they
will become quickly exhausted when rolling with a more technical partner. Instead, they must
re-direct their strength to the mental focus required to master technique. Additionally, every
student learns to exhibit self-control in order to avoid injury to themselves and their partners.
On the board: As a board, we cannot always just barrel along doing things the way they have
always been done when the situation may call for a different strategy. To reach our vision, we
strive to be agile and search for creative ideas to solve our problems or answer questions. We
practice inquiry at all levels, always looking for the most effective approach that serves the
organization best. We strive to champion and protect the organization, its staff and students at
all times.
Position Level Ground is recruiting passionate individuals to join our Board of Directors with expertise in:

- Fundraising & development
- Community & corporate partnerships
- Communications & marketing
- Strategic planning
- Legal
Desired skills
Branding, Business Development, Communications, Digital Marketing, Diversity/Inclusion, Fundraising, Grants, Legal, Social Media, Strategy Consulting
When Quarterly in person meetings with monthly optional, virtual meetings
Where At Level Ground and through Zoom
Commitment 1 to 3 hours/month
Donation Organization strives for 100% board giving, but have no strict guidelines around financial contributions.
Requirements Each individual Director will:
- Attend, at a minimum, 80% of regularly scheduled board meetings
- Participate in committees, as officers, and/or special projects of the board
- Read and prepare all necessary materials and questions prior to each board meeting
On-boarding Onboard consists of a resume/CV screening, phone screening with Executive Director/Board chair, and interview with 2-3 other members of the board. In person or virtual visit to Level Ground is required.
Our mission

The mission of Level Ground is to empower urban youth through transformative athletic, academic, and employment opportunities so that they may overcome the challenges of their environment and accomplish their goals for the future.

Children, Education, Health, Life Skills, Poverty, Social Justice & Equality