KOM Board Member

Board Member Recruitment and Pledge Form

Vision: The vision of the Karen Organization of Minnesota is that refugees from Burma pursue their dreams and become contributing members of society while maintaining their cultural roots. 

Mission: The mission of the Karen Organization of Minnesota is to enhance the quality of life for all refugees from Burma in Minnesota.

Goals: KOM has three primary goals to achieve its mission:

  1. Assist refugees to settle, integrate, and become increasingly self-sufficient
  2. Foster cultural knowledge and understanding
  3. Strengthen organizational capacity and effectiveness to meet the needs of the community

Background: Refugees from Burma have been the largest population resettled in Minnesota for the past seven years. The vast majority of refugees from Burma in Minnesota are Karen (pronounced “Ka-REN”), an ethnic minority that has been persecuted by the Burmese military government for over 60 years. Over 17,000 Karen now live in the St. Paul area, making it the largest Karen community in the country. Over 63 percent of refugees from Burma are under age 25.

The Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM) is the first nonprofit social service agency in the country to be established by Karen refugees from Burma. KOM originated from a group of Karen leaders in St. Paul who saw the need for a community-based organization to respond to unmet needs and leverage outside support. Because of its strong leadership and effective partnerships, KOM has quickly grown to a thriving multiservice organization with over 20 staff and an annual budget of over $1.7 million. KOM’s primary headquarters are in Roseville, MN, and in 2014 the organization opened a second office in Marshall. KOM’s multilingual staff help over 3,000 refugees each year find housing, jobs, education, and other resources they need to become independent. KOM is also a respected resource and partner for mainstream agencies with an interest in serving the Karen community.

Board Information:

Board size:                              9-15 members

Positions open:                        5

Meeting Schedule:                  Bi-monthly, evening meetings

Meeting Location:                   Karen Organization of Minnesota

2353 Rice St., Suite 240, Roseville, MN 55113

Expectations of Board Members:

Length of Term:                      3 years, renewable

Time Commitment:                 10 hours per quarter minimum

Financial Contribution:           Yes, at level of ability

Committee Membership:         Yes

  • Have a commitment to the mission and vision of the Karen Organization of Minnesota.
  • Be an advocate and an ambassador for the organization, informing others about our mission and encouraging others to get involved.
  • Commit to financially supporting the Karen Organization of Minnesota.
  • Commit to help raise funds for the Karen Organization of Minnesota through personal contacts with individuals, businesses, and foundations and input into the grant-writing process as needed.
  • Consistently attend board meetings.
  • Review agenda and supporting materials prior to board and committee meetings and respond promptly to requests for information and input.
  • Actively serve on one or more committees (Development/Communications, Governance, Finance)
  • Attend KOM special events as a representative of the organization.
  • Provide possible board member nominees who can make significant contributions to the work of the board and the organization.
  • Abide by conflict of interest and confidentiality policies.
  • Engage in peer board member evaluation.
  • Serve on additional committees or task forces for special projects.
  • Assist the board in carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities and actively review the organization’s annual financial statements.

Board Member Qualifications:

The Board of Directors is seeking new candidates who are motivated to be actively involved in furthering the mission of the Karen Organization of Minnesota. The Board of Directors is especially interested in candidates with the following skills:

__ Accounting/Finance                                                __ Human Resources

__ Business Management                                            __ Legal Expertise

__ Education/Youth                                                      __ Medical-related Fields

__ Ethnic/Faith-Based Community Leaders           __ Public Policy/Advocacy

__ Fundraising                                                            __ Public Relations/Marketing

__ Grant writing/Foundations                                   __ Social Work

__ Housing/Real Estate

Questions regarding KOM or board service? Contact Alexis Walstad or Eh Tah Khu, KOM Co-Executive Directors.

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