November 26, 2018
The Board of the Open Stories Foundation presents this document to answer questions about recent changes to our structure and strategy with the Foundation.
Current Open Stories Foundation Board: At present, the Open Stories Foundation Board is comprised of: Jeremy Macdonald, Kim Turner, Nadine Hansen, and Steve Holbrook. Roger McOmber recently stepped down from the OSF and we express gratitude to him for his many years of service. Craig Woodfield, after years of service on the Board, and more recently as, Board Chairman, has stepped down. We are pleased to announce that he will continue to serve on our Financial Committee. Craig has our deepest appreciation for the years of service to the OSF. Jeremy Macdonald is now serving as Interim Chairman.
Statement of Fiduciary Responsibility*: It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that the Open Stories Foundation operates with financial integrity and in accordance with its values. The financial activities are overseen by an independent public accounting firm: Allred Jackson.* Annual results will continue to be reported in the annual reports.
Note: The OSF has changed its accounting firm to Shaw & Co since the release of this document.
Financial Oversight and Transparency: The Open Stories Foundation Board provides strong oversight over OSF finances while providing donors with financial transparency of OSF operations. The Board’s finance committee requires processes and controls for approvals and reviews performance monthly. These processes and controls include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Utilize a qualified, professional accountant to keep the books and records of the foundation.
- Engage a reputable and qualified independent CPA firm to ensure tax returns are prepared correctly and filed on time.
- Ensure each OSF disbursement is recorded by the OSF accountant and reviewed by the Director of Operations (or other designated OSF staff member).
- Ensure employee expenses are reviewed by someone other than the employee incurring the expenses.
- Closely monitor employee and podcaster compensation, ensuring amounts paid are consistent with compensation levels approved by the Board.
- Establish executive compensation levels by the OSF Board.
- Implement an annual budget process where the annual budget is reviewed and approved by the Board and budget to actual results are regularly reported to the Board of Directors.
- Require the firm’s independent accounting firm to perform regular review procedures over every OSF disbursement and report the results of these procedures directly to the Finance Committee.
- Ensure other key accounting policies and controls are implemented (donor account and bank reconciliations etc) as needed to ensure the financial information reported to donors and included in regulatory tax filings are accurate.
- Publish, at least annually, key financial information, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, to OSFs donors. This information includes all executive director compensation for the year, donations and other revenues for each major OSF activity (podcasts, events etc), cash balances and other key balance sheet and revenue and expense information. This information will be provided directly to donors as requested and also available on the OSF website https://www.openstoriesfoundation.org/finances/.
- Provide a forum for donors to ask questions and request additional information about OSF finances. Donors can email these questions or requests to the Board’s email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sexual Harassment Policy*: The Open Stories Foundation Sexual Harassment Policy can be found here.* Claims of sexual harassment can be sent to the Incident Response Team at email@example.com. The Incident Response Team will investigate all issues and maintain the confidentiality of the submitter. If any person violates the Sexual Harassment Policy they will be subject to corrective action. To date, the Board reports that the OSF is a harassment free workplace and no allegations of sexual harassment have been sustained.
* Note: The OSF Sexual Harassment Policy has been updated since this document was released.
Conflict of Interest*: The Open Stories Foundation requires past and future Directors and Officers to adhere to its Conflict of Interest Policy*. This policy protects the interests of OSF when OSF enters into transactions or arrangements that might benefit the private interest of an officer or director of OSF. Furthermore, the policy requires disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest, and the board determines if it is indeed a conflict of interest.
Podcasters are contractors to the OSF and are not restricted by the OSF to do other for-profit activities. Podcasters may mention their for-profit activities so long as they also state that the activity mentioned is for-profit and not affiliated with OSF. They are not allowed to mention details of the activities, such as dates, locations, or pricing; and must direct listeners to visit a non-OSF location for further information.
* Note: The OSF Sexual Harassment Policy has been updated since this document was released.
Executive Director and Podcaster Compensation: All Executive Director and podcaster compensation is required to be approved on an annual basis by the OSF Board of Directors. Currently, no podcaster or OSF employee (including the Executive Director) is a member of the OSF Board of Directors. If a podcaster or OSF employee joins the Board in the future they would be excluded from this approval process.
Executive Director Compensation to date: Key considerations in determining the appropriate level of Executive Director compensation include the following:
- Financial performance of the Foundation, operating budget and available cash flow.
- Job requirements and performance.
- Market value of the Executive Director to the organization.
Prior to 2017, the overriding factor in the determination of the Executive Directors’ compensation was the foundation’s cash flow. While the other factors likely warranted higher compensation level during this time period, the Board capped Executive Director compensation at a lower amount based on budget and cash flow limitations.
Beginning in 2017, after a sustained period of strong operating performance and positive cash flows, the Board concluded that the Foundation could sustain higher levels of Executive Director Compensation. As a result, increased compensation was approved in 2017 consistent with the Boards determination of the Executive Directors performance and value to the organization. The growth and strong financial performance of Mormon Stories Podcast, which is hosted by the Executive Director was also a primary factor considered by the Board to warrant increased compensation. Mormon Stories podcast has historically generated the vast majority of the Foundations donations and has subsidized the other OSF sponsored podcasts and activities.
In 2018, the Board changed the Executive Director’s compensation method from a standard salary plus bonus structure to a structure more aligned each major role performed by the Executive Director. Under this new structure, his compensation includes the following components.
- A salary for this role as Executive Director (fixed at $75,000).
- A fixed fee paid for each event he leads for OSF. This fee is consistent with the fees paid to other professionals who participate in these events. The number of events is limited to those approved by the Board, which provides an effective cap on the event compensation. [at the time of this decision, OSF was doing events, as of this announcement, however, the OSF is no longer doing events]
- Variable compensation for hosting Mormon Stories Podcast equal to 75% of any contributions received directly for the Mormon Stories podcast, subject to a maximum compensation amount established by the Board. No compensation is received by the Executive Director for donations made to OSF or podcasts other than Mormon Stories.
- A discretionary bonus as determined by the Board based on his performance as Executive Director.
In setting this compensation level, the Board intentionally established caps on event and podcast related compensation to ensure that total compensation didn’t exceed a pre-determined budgeted amount for the year. As a result, Executive Director compensation is expected to be approximately $200,000 in 2018.
Changes in Staff at the OSF: As various plans were presented for sustaining both the mission, growth and goals of the OSF, staff changes were implemented to simplify and financially strengthen the foundation. We extend our deepest appreciation to our former office staff and the excellent work Tim Coray, Sharon Price, led by Amy Grubbs, contributed to the health and growth of the OSF.
Donor Feedback: The OSF Board welcomes any questions or concerns from donors. Please direct emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Updated 10/17/2019 to incorporate new accounting firm name, new sexual harassment policy, and new conflict of interest policy – to avoid confusion, and to be fully transparent. The previous full version of this document can be found here.