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Transition Howard County Constitution

Transition Howard County is a non-profit organization located in Howard County, MD.

Vision:  Locally sustainable communities in Howard County that embrace ethical stewardship of the environment.

Mission:  Foster resilient and engaged communities by: raising awareness of climate change, declining resources and the need to adapt to future challenges; focusing on the sustainable development and use of local resources; promoting the crucial importance of a biodiverse ecosystem; encouraging lifelong learning; and collaborating with community organizations and government. 

Actions:

  • Provide and share in programs and events such as talks, forums, film screenings, arts, demonstrations, fairs, socials, education and training.
  • Provide communications and publicity such as websites, blogs, video, media articles and interviews, event calendars, and posters.
  •  Provide opportunities to share advice, guidance and training.
  •  Collaborate and coordinate with other Transition Town Initiatives and others working with the Transition Model at regional, national, and global levels.
  •  Engage with other organizations, including government, citizen, nonprofit, and business in pursuit of their mutual aims and objectives.
  •  Undertake all of the above in the spirit of fun, joy, and support at coming together to co-create the future that we are envisioning.

Principles:

  Fundamental Principles

    Transition Howard County follows the fundamental principles of the Transition Network, an international charitable organization that inspires, supports, and trains communities that use the Transition Model to rebuild resilience and drastically reduce CO2 emissions.  The Transition Model is a multi-stage process to determine the interest in Transition, to make efforts to act on this interest, to connect with groups within the local community, to build these relationships to increase localization, and to expand Transition to the national stage.

    At the most fundamental level, Transition Howard County subscribes to the principles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948) that affirms the fundamental dignity and worth of all humans.

  Guiding principles

    We work together because we know that together we are greater than the sum of our parts.  We work in a collaborative way because we get better results for less effort. 

    We do not need permission to act.  There is no hierarchy. Everyone shares leadership.  We trust that those who step forward have good intentions and will make good decisions.

    In representing Transition Howard County, individuals agree to abide by and uphold all of our principles and take responsibility for their own decisions, actions and results.  We give autonomy and support to those who wish to be part of Transition Howard County. 

    We are open to working with everyone.  We welcome diversity and see it as a strength.

    We avoid categories of "them and us".  We acknowledge initiatives of other organizations (including government, citizen, non-profit, and business) and seek ways to collaborate.

    Individually and as a group we identify what needs to be done.  People volunteer for tasks when they already have the skills or want to develop the skills.  We help and support each other’s learning.

    We do not have a blueprint.  We believe in multiple paths, ideas, and possibilities.  We think questions are as important as answers.  It is fine to make mistakes and to learn from them.

    We work with a natural momentum, driven by our passion and positive approach.

    We are transparent in everything we do.  Everyone is responsible for ensuring the free flow of information and knowledge within the Transition Howard County network and also the wider Transition network.  We always consider the effects of our actions on our public reputation.

  Organizational Principles

    Membership on all committees, except for the Steering Committee, is open to all Transition Howard County members.

    Committees will form as needed to do what needs to be done, usually based on a particular area of concern such as energy, health, or water.  Committees exist to deliver the aims of Transition Howard County in a positive and concrete way. The committees make decisions, take action, and dissolve when the need is gone.  Within the Transition Model, Committees are referred to as Working Groups.

    Each of these Committees (Working Groups) has one or two representatives on the Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee is responsible for the overall administration of Transition Howard County and has decision-making authority. Decisions are made by consensus. 

    There also are up to two additional at At-Large members to serve on the Steering Committee.  They are appointed by the Steering Committee.

    Members of the Steering Committee must attend at least 50% of the Steering Committee meetings during a year to maintain membership on the Committee.

    Steering Committee meetings are open to all Transition Howard County members. 

    While Steering Committee meetings are open to all Transition Howard County members, only members of the steering committee may vote in decisions.

    If anyone in Transition Howard County does not agree that a project or action is in line with THC aims and principles, then that person can take the matter to the Steering Committee for discussion.

  Financial Principles

    The Steering Committee makes all financial decisions for Transition Howard County.

    Transition Howard County has arranged a relationship with an existing 501(c)(3), Earth Party, to be our fiscal sponsor.

    The Treasurer, who also is a member of the Steering Committee, will maintain a bank account and keep records of income and expenses.  A quarterly report will be given to the Steering Committee.

    Projects for which funding is sought must be approved by the Steering Committee.  The project must support the aims of Transition Howard County and be in line with THC principles.

    Each committee will hold the budget for their projects, account for them publicly, and be responsible for monitoring their projects, their process and outcomes.

Governing Document:

    This Constitution is the governing document for Transition Howard County.  It is anticipated that this document will be revised when necessary, requiring a 75% majority approval of the Steering Committee members. This Constitution is a general approach and will be made more specific as needed.

    Signed on November 4, 2013 by the Transition Howard County Steering Committee:

Margo Duesterhaus – Steering Committee Chair

Ann Coren – Ecosystem Landscaping Committee Chair

Dan Duesterhaus – Knowledge Committee Chair / Treasurer

Nancy Fayer – Food Committee Chair

Liz Feighner – Outreach Committee Member

Tim Foresman – Outreach Committee Chair

Charlie Goedeke – Energy Committee Chair

Ernie Hilsenrath – Energy Committee Member

Nan Lyon – Food Committee Member

Andy Monjan – Health Committee Chair

Betsy Singer – Water Committee Member

Ruth Alice White – Economy Committee Member

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