Updated August 18, 2013
BVA Regional Groups are encouraged to establish Regional Group Chapters as a means for organizing blinded veterans at the local level, and increasing participation in Regional Group and BVA activities.
The following guidelines were approved by BVA National Board of Directors during BVA’s 59th National Convention in Reno, Nevada in August of 2004.
Changes were made to paragraph 13 during BVA’s 68th National Convention in Spokane, Washington in August 2013.
Regional Group Chapter Guidelines:
1. It is the policy of the Blinded Veterans Association that BVA Regional Groups organize, as needed, Regional Group sub-groups, districts, or chapters. The preferred term would be “Chapters”.
2. BVA National By-Laws provides policy and directions for establishing and operating BVA Regional Groups only. We would emphasize that Regional Group Chapters have no official standing outside of the particular BVA Regional Group.
3. The Primary concern leading to establishing Regional Group Chapters is the need to provide an organizational structure or arrangement whereby blinded veterans can be involved in BVA and Regional Group activities in their local communities, to give blinded veterans an opportunity to meet more often, and avoid the burden of traveling long distances to Regional Group meetings.
4. Chapters should be organized in major metropolitan areas, preferably those areas with a VA Medical Center or Outpatient Clinic.
5. To the extent possible, Chapters should be organized in conjunction with establishment of a BVA Volunteer Office at a VA facility.
6. Chapter members must be BVA members.
7. Chapters may elect their own officers. Chapter Officers may be titled as specified in Regional Group by-laws.
8. Chapters should have identifiable names. For example, “Hampton Chapter of the MDCV BVA Regional Group”.
9. Chapters may schedule their own meetings. Regional Group meetings may be held in chapter locations on a rotating basis.
10. Chapter officers may, through the Regional Group, request name labels and print-outs from BVA National Headquarters in order to recruit BVA members and carry out Chapter and Regional Group activities.
11. Chapters may not incorporate.
12. Chapters may not engage in fund raising activities unless the Regional Group has sought and attained approval from the BVA National Board of Directors.
13. Chapters are authorized to establish checking accounts providing that two signatures are on bank accounts. The regional group membership, at their discretion will set the limit for the dollar amount a Chapter should have. Review of the bank accounts is the responsibility of the Regional Treasurer.
14. Regional Groups should amend their by-laws to address the establishment of Chapters.
15. In amending Regional Group by-laws, Chapter representatives may be designated as members of the Regional Group Executive Committee or Regional Group Board of Directors if so desired by the Regional Group.
16. Those Regional Groups that hold State Conventions may amend their by-laws to designate Chapter representatives as delegates to State Conventions.
17.Amended Regional Group by-laws should speak directly to the issue of providing financial support, and administrative oversight of Chapter activities.
18. Amended Regional Group by-laws should speak to the issue and process for suspending or dissolving Chapters.
19. Amended Regional Group by-laws should establish guidelines for the election of Chapter officers.
20. As Chapters are established, their boundaries should be defined by the Regional Group. Keep in mind that Chapters should have a local focus.
NOTE: Chapter policy is evolving. It is important that Regional Groups maintain communication with the BVA District Director and BVA National Headquarters and share new approaches and ideas regarding Chapters.
A Word Document of the Guidelines can be downloaded below.