December 2021 Board Report

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In December 2023, The Florida Bar Foundation changed its name to FFLA. Posts prior to this date contain our former name.

Quarterly Board Report: December 17, 2021

The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors met via Zoom conference on December 17, 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent outbreaks involving a highly contagious variant.

The major actions of the board and reports received included:

Foundation Officers Elected

Pursuant to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of The Florida Bar Foundation, the Nominating Committee of the Foundation presented, and the Board elected, the following officer nominees for a term beginning July 1, 2022 and concluding June 30, 2023:

President: Honorable Suzanne Van Wyk

President-elect: Murray B. Silverstein

First Vice President: Roberto R. Pardo

Second Vice President: Ashley N. Sybesma

Immediate Past President: Connie Bookman

Board approves $5,880,320 Grant Allocation for FY 21-22

The Board received a report and recommendation from the Grant Allocation Committee which had previously discussed and reviewed four grant allocation scenarios.  The Board accepted and approved the Grant Allocation Committee’s unanimous recommendation of a total allocation of $5,880,320 for FY 21-22.  This amount requires no depletion of reserves and should be awarded before June 30, 2022.  This amount does not include FY 2021-22 IOTA collections which will also be distributed to qualified grantee organizations on or before December 31, 2022 per the amended IOTA rule.

Board approves funding 8 Grant Programs for FY 21-22

The Grants Committee met on December 16, 2021 and reviewed the Grant Allocation Committee’s work product and recommendation along with all grants and awards provided by the Foundation within the past five years.  Thereafter, the Grants Committee prepared a recommendation for funding 8 grant programs in specific amounts totaling $5,880,000 for FY 21-22 distribution.  The Board reviewed and approved the committee’s recommendation and will fund the following for FY 21-22 distributions:

Grant ProgramAmount
Loan Repayment Assistance Program$1,250,000
Children’s Legal Services$1,000,000
Administration of Justice$800,000
Law School Civil Clinic$250,000
Limited Matching Funds$200,000
Community Economic Development Grant extensions$880,000
IOTA Trial Run distributions$1,250,000

Board approves in concept the development of a policy regarding receipt, processing, and administration of new development gifts.

The Administration Fee Subcommittee of the Development/Pro Bono Committee has been researching, reviewing, and analyzing best and common practices related to the receipt and processing of gifts received by fundraising organizations. The subcommittee presented its report and recommended that the Foundation approve in concept the necessity of the Foundation to explore the development and implementation of a new policy related to the receipt and processing of new gifts received and the charges, if any that may be assessed in connection with such gifts.  After extensive discussion, the Board unanimously approved in concept the development of such policy.  The subcommittee will continue working toward a more detailed recommendation for presentation to the Development/Pro Bono Committee and full Board.

President Creates and Appoints Four Ad Hoc Committees  

President-Elect Judge Suzanne Van Wyk, who presided over the meeting in Connie Bookman’s absence, reported that President Bookman has created four ad hoc committees as follows:

Overall Review Ad Hoc CommitteeTo study, review and make recommendations to the Board regarding the Foundation’s brand, name, mission, mission statement and message. It is expected that the committee will make initial findings and recommendations by June 1, 2022 and thereafter finalize its recommendations, if any, by December 1, 2022.
  • Connie Bookman, Chair
  • Min Cho
  • George Knox
  • John Patterson
  • James Schwarz
  • Murray Silverstein
  • Ashley N. Sybesma
  • Judge Suzanne Van Wyk
  • Gary Yordon
Paul Doyle Award Criteria Review Ad Hoc CommitteeReview the selection and qualifications criteria for the award and recommend

changes, if any, to the Board for consideration. The committee should be prepared to have its work completed by June 2022 so that the Board may consider and act on any recommendations at that time.

  • Roberto Pardo, Chair
  • Dr. Patricia Babcock
  • Juliette Lippman
  • Paige Greenlee
  • Kevin McCoy
Goldstein-Van Nortwick Award Selection Ad Hoc CommitteeTo review and consider applications or nominations submitted for this bi-annual award, and then recommend recipients (usually three places) in time for the Board to consider the recommendations and make selections, if any, at its March 2022 Board meeting.
  • Maria Henderson, Chair
  • Brian Currie
  • Sarita Courtney Baigorri
  • Maria Gonzalez
  • Roberto Pardo
  • Stephen Senn
Audit RFP Ad Hoc CommitteeTo develop and execute a work plan relating to the Foundation’s periodic review of its auditors. This committee will be responsible for overseeing an RFP process inviting potential accounting firms to prepare a proposal for conducting an annual financial statement audit of the Foundation’s and Endowment Trust’s financial records and statements. Once the RFP is developed and sent out, the committee will review and recommend to the Audit Committee a qualified company for this purpose. The Audit Committee is expected to act on the recommendation and thereafter make a recommendation to the full board.
  • Vincent Cuomo
  • Ian Comisky
  • Carl Domino
  • John Harkness
  • Steven Salzer
  • Judge Suzanne Van Wyk
  • Veronica Jhon

Board members who want to serve on any of these committees are invited to contact either Connie Bookman or Donny MacKenzie for inclusion on such committees.

In addition, the Grants Committee announced the formation of an EJW Policy ad hoc committee to review and develop a formal policy relating to the Foundation’s funding and participation in the Equal Justice Works program.  The committee will be formed shortly and members who wish to participate in this ad hoc committee’s work should contact Donny MacKenzie.

Executive Director Report

Donny MacKenzie provided a short report which provided directors required annual information related to the Foundation’s updated schedule of insurance coverages, summarized ongoing efforts to implement operations and procedures related to the amended IOTA rule, briefly outlined the launch and overall rollout plan of the ONE Promise Campaign, discussed an upcoming fundraising event involving the Tampa Bay Lightning and Medal of Honor recipient Judge E.J. Salcines, Jr., and noted the tremendous generosity of the Foundation’s directors in giving not only their valuable time and talents, but also their treasure to the Foundation in support of its mission.

Presentation and Review of Audited Financial Statements

Melanie Fernandez, a partner with BDO USA, LLP, and her team presented the written report and results of BDO’s annual audit of the consolidated financial statements and related statements of activities, cash flows and functional expenses of the Foundation and The Florida Bar Foundation Endowment Trust for the year ended June 30, 2021.  She further stated and opined that such materials present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Foundation and the Endowment Trust in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The Board, after open discussion and thereafter in executive session, approved and accepted the audit report, which is posted on the Foundation’s website and available for review upon written request.


The Board’s next scheduled meeting will be on March 18, 2022.  The Executive Committee will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and decide as soon as possible whether the meeting will be in person or via remote transmission.