National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI 2010 Elections

As a grassroots organization, NAMI draws its strength from its members and leaders. That strength comes in the form of a skilled and active board of directors, in bylaws that support the organizationís mission and vision, and in resolutions that promote and advance that mission and vision. †

NAMI's board and bylaws can only be changed by vote of the membership—NAMI's affiliates and chartered state organizations—that is: by you! NAMI's future lies in our hands.

This site includes information to help you make those decisions. Please read on—and then join the election debate within your affiliate.

Click here for information about candidates for the NAMI National Board of Directors.

Click here for information about proposed bylaws amendments.

Click here for information about NAMI's voting processes.

You can help shape NAMI's future. Your vote counts!

Service on the NAMI National board is a fulfilling experience. We are honored and humbled to represent the members who elected us and we want to do the best job possible for NAMI and its vital mission. We thank the thousands of NAMI members who inspire and focus us in our work.


Stephen H. Feinstein, Ph.D
President, NAMI Board of Directors
Jim Payne
Member, NAMI Board of Directors
2010 Election Chair

A Message from the NAMI National Board of Directors

NAMI Board service demands experience, knowledge, commitment, and time to help others. Board members must be passionate about NAMI's goals, values, and beliefs. But beyond that critical passion, Board members should have some high-level decision-making experience and knowledge in one or more of the following areas: public policy, fund raising, nonprofit legal oversight, outreach and educational programs, technology and communications, marketing, membership development, business, investments, finance, or volunteerism. Service on the board of a large nonprofit organization and understanding of the complex and varied legal and fiduciary decisions a board struggles with on a routine basis are also critical to good NAMI Board service.

Board members are elected for three year terms and may serve two consecutive terms. Board members should be prepared to dedicate a between six to ten hours/week to their NAMI Board service, including service on three or four standing committees, frequent conference calls, other work groups as may be needed, in addition to Board and other meeting travel. NAMI Board members represent the organization before the general public, NAMI members, professional service providers, and public officials.

To know what specific skills and expertise we need on the Board, we first had to know what we already have. In collecting this information we noticed some important things:

  • While among our most important roles as a governing board is fiscal management, we have very few members with specific training in this area.
  • While fund raising is critically important as a board function—and an expectation of us all—we have relatively few members who really relish this role.
  • While NAMI represents mental illness across the life span, we have no members with younger children who live with mental illness now, and just a few whose adult children became ill when very young.
  • While NAMI seeks to represent the communities in which we live all across the country, our board still lacks substantial diversity (NAMI defines "diversity" broadly, including but not limited to race and ethnicity, as well as representation across the life-span, regionally, urban/rural/frontier, sexual orientation, and lived experience, among others.) Although we think we've made great progress in our diversity in recent years, we know we need to do more!

This year, six board members will be elected. Five candidates will be elected to serve for the standard three-year term and one candidate will be elected to fill the balance of a vacated term for one year. Five current Board members' regular terms will expire and their seats come up for general election. In addition, one member appointed by the Board on an interim basis is required to seek election by the membership to continue Board service.

The NAMI National Board is a working board whose members play active and important roles in setting policy for the success of the national organization. NAMI is best served by Board members who are team players and who keep the big picture in mind. Service on the National Board challenges us all to rise above our local and state concerns, or single areas of particular interest, to see the scope of our national needs. To best serve in the Board role, members are expected to:

  • Attend and participate fully in quarterly Board meetings, Annual Conventions, Leadership Institutes, and other organizational functions
  • Understand and protect the fiduciary health of the organization
  • Understand and adhere to the legal and fiduciary responsibilities of a non-profit board
  • Understand and support NAMI's programs and public policies
  • Be NAMI members in good standing, and
  • Make what feels to the individual to be a significant financial contribution to NAMI National, on an annual basis.

Service on the NAMI National board is a fulfilling experience. We are honored and humbled to represent the members who elected us and we want only to do the best job possible for NAMI and its vital mission. We invite able and experienced leaders from all walks of life to join us in this remarkable journey—and we thank the thousands of NAMI members who inspire and focus us in our work.

Related Files

NAMI Board of Directors Open Letter (PDF File)