Board of Directors Meeting Summary - March 2018

Hi All -

The Board of Directors held its first meeting of 2018 on Friday 23rd of March. Attending the meeting was Bill Tierney, Mitchell Baker, Christopher Bailey, Jan Flowers, and Paul Biondich (About the Board of Directors).

Just to note, I’ve BOLDED below any requests I have for input and feedback from the community on specific topics.

The first topic of discussion was the investment strategy for the recent donation we received from the Pineapple Fund. The Board approved the strategy put forth by the community and await the forthcoming spend plan recommendations from the community for the 2-3 annual operations funds that were set aside from the investment strategy. Investments have started to be made, with a 6-8% ROI, and all funds placed where changes can be made within 24 hours. The bank will continue to make recommendations where applicable. We will share quarterly progress on the investments.

In addition to the Pineapple donation, other sources of fundraising were discussed as part of the Board’s interest in our overall fundraising strategy. This includes another recent bitcoin donation ($500), ongoing funds raised through purchases made on Amazon Smile designating OpenMRS as their charity, social media campaigns conducted by our acting community manager, personal fundraising campaigns members have conducted, and competitive grant proposal submissions such as the recent Digital Square notice. There was interest in pursuing some fundraising efforts through our emerging partnerships program, but it was noted that this area was still largely unexplored and needed more time to mature. Lastly, there was discussion and advice about how to improve outreach to individual donors.

With this new funding, the Board was briefed on the potential new hires - the Director of Community, and the Technical Project Manager. It was recommended that as part of the Director of Community responsibilities, that they are tasked with strategizing for and maintaining sustainability. In addition, the Board agreed that this is a worldwide search in order to find the best candidates for our community roles. So if you are interested or know someone who might be a good fit, please refer them to the job postings!

The Board also discussed new potential membership, including filling the current open Board positions. We have a well qualified candidate that spent time over the holidays meeting with individual Board members to determine the right fit. We have agreed to go forward towards her joining the Board. In addition, the Board committed to diversifying membership, agreeing to recruit for the second open position from the global health sector that we serve. There was a suggestion to consider setting up pathways and mentorship within the community for the community members who are interested to pursue roles in leadership and potentially the Board over time. I’d definitely be interested in hearing what folks think of that idea, and what that might mean operationally within the community. I also emphasized that this means there needs to be a much higher level of interaction and transparency between the community and the Board in order for folks to gain a better understanding of the role of the Board, and what the expectations and responsibilities are. The Board members have expressed in this, including potentially attending either Town Halls, or an annual implementer’s meeting. I’d look forward to getting some feedback on whether this would be useful or other ideas on how to increase their interaction and transparency with the community.

The Board was impressed by the progress made over this past year, as summarized in the annual report. They specifically noted the keen interest in national implementations, distributions, and the emerging leadership by community members. The meeting as adjourned with the Board members expressing interest in becoming more involved in specific ways to support the community mission and goals. It’s hard to tell what those ways might be, but I’m open to taking suggestions back to the Board about how the community would like to interact, increase transparency, and see the engagement by the Board members.

Looking forward to your input,



To me what has been expressed in your meeting summary is very useful. The most import is

I for one didn’t know openmrs had Board of directors. Am sorry am just getting to know openmrs structure.

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Thanks for sharing this Jan!

I assume that means a target return, not a guaranteed one, right?

Technically speaking, OpenMRS (the community or the software… what most of us mean when we say “OpenMRS”) does not have a board of directors. OpenMRS, Inc. — a non-profit dedicated to supporting the success of the OpenMRS Community — has a board of directors.

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You are correct.

Thanks for that feedback. I think that’s common that folks either don’t know about the Board, or they don’t know what the Board is doing for the community. Any ideas for how to help the community get a better understanding about the Board?

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Thanks for shading more light honestly i didn’t know about it.

Let me peruse through the documents first. I may end up suggesting what is on the ground otherwise thanks for the good work you are doing to the community.

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@jwnasambu Great! Looking forward to your input and ideas. I would also encourage you to participate in the Thursday calls on governance to give input on how to improve this in the community. It’s a great place to learn about how things like the Board work within the community. It’s also a great place for you to effect change to how those things work in the community, as this is where some of the decision making happens. It can be a bit intimidating at first to speak up there because those of us that attend have a lot of opinions and talk a lot! But just know that those of us that attend really do want others to join in and help shape and lead our community! :slight_smile:

Jan, thanks for this great summary. I want to echo your encouragement for people to join our Thursday calls. We are proposing a modification to them to make our calls more effective ( see this post from today Changing Leadership Team Meetings to Alternate between Strategy and Operational).

let us know what you think! thanks