Since 1995, CIRI’s Shareholder Participation Committees (SPCs) have helped increase two-way communication between CIRI and its shareholders, identify issues of immediate and long-term importance to shareholders and descendants, and educate shareholders and descendants on the corporation’s mission, business operations, corporate policies and other matters.
The SPCs are comprised of three subcommittees – the Anchorage Committee; the Alaska Committee, made up of shareholders who live in Alaska outside of Anchorage; and the Lower 48 and Hawaii Committee. There are youth representative positions as well, selected via an application process from CIRI shareholders or confirmed descendants 13 to 17 years of age.
The SPCs have risen in importance and prominence over the years, becoming a vital link between shareholders and the corporation. In fact, the 2017 CIRI Annual Report highlighted the SPCs and some of the current and former shareholder and descendant members who have contributed to their success. To date, seven former SPC members have gone on to serve on the CIRI Board of Directors.
CIRI formed the SPCs at a time when its mission statement was being developed and the company was looking to gain broad-based input on what shareholders viewed as CIRI’s priorities for the future. Since that time, the SPCs have addressed a range of matters, from ways to increase and enhance shareholder and descendant outreach and opportunities to the establishment of an Elders’ settlement trust. They’ve also raised funds to help purchase appliances for a Cook Inlet Housing Elder facility in Anchorage, solicited money and raised membership awareness for the Alaska Native Heritage Center and initiated a book drive focused on Alaska Native cultural themes for the Chief Leschi School in Puyallup, Wash., where CIRI holds a number of events, including the Northwest Potlatch, which became an annual event at the behest of shareholders who raised the possibility with SPC members.
Last year, SPC youth representatives were brainstorming new ways that CIRI might connect with shareholders and descendants 15 to 19 years of age. In response, CIRI shareholder Autumn Olson, who was interning with CIRI at the time, worked with Darla Graham, CIRI’s Shareholder Programs manager, to develop the CIRI C3 Experience, an overnight camp focused on culture, college prep and careers. The inaugural camp will be held this summer.
According to Graham, “The perspective SPC members are able to offer is invaluable when it comes to developing programs for shareholders and descendants. Being able to bounce ideas off of them and hear their feedback ensures we are developing programs that are impactful and meaningful. The reassurance when a youth SPC member says ‘I’d attend that program [CIRI C3 Experience] in a heartbeat’ and watching them become ambassadors for CIRI’s programs is inspirational and rewarding beyond measure.”
Each of the three committees has nine adult voting shareholders, who serve three-year terms, as well as a youth representative, who serves a one-year term. The SPCs meet in June and October of each year. CIRI will soon update its website with photos and bios of each of its current members.
CIRI annually solicits applications from eligible shareholders who wish to serve as SPC members. The current-year deadline to apply is now closed, and new members will be announced when the selection process is complete.
We remind shareholders and confirmed descendants 13 to 17 years of age that SPC youth representative applications are due Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. This is a great opportunity for young people who wish to become more involved in their corporation! For more information, see the article about CIRI Youth Opportunities.