Since inception, the CIRI Participation Committees (SPCs) have addressed a broad range of matters. The following are a few of their accomplishments:
Special Shareholder Vote
In 1995, CIRI was attempting to develop a Company mission statement and held a series of workshops and SPC meetings to learn what shareholders viewed as CIRI’s priorities for the future. It quickly became clear that shareholders held differing views of what CIRI should be. Thus, in 1998, after three years of workshops, meetings, printed educational materials and videotapes, CIRI conducted a Special Shareholder Vote in which shareholders were asked to decide the future direction of the corporation by voting on four options:
- Option 1 (Continue Stock Restrictions)
- Option 2 (Lift Stock Restrictions)
- Option 3 (Stock Buy-back)
- Option 4 (Issue Bonds)
The SPCs provided key consultation to the corporation on the options prior to the vote, and provided guidance on materials distributed to shareholders to ensure that issues were presented in a manner clearly and easily understood by shareholders.
Election of CIRI Board of Directors
CIRI shareholders have repeatedly expressed greater interest and involvement in the election process of the CIRI Board of Directors. This issue was an early focus for the committees and continues to be a priority. The SPCs have assisted in setting priorities and updating qualifications for potential board candidates, expanding the Nominating Committee to include the three committee chairpersons as advisory members and developing alternative proxy language for consideration by the CIRI Board of Directors.
Over the years, the SPCs have provided valuable feedback regarding the expansion and improvement of the CIRI newsletter and website to better serve shareholders. In 2010, the SPCs created and distributed a survey to CIRI Elders with a goal of determining how CIRI and its shareholders and descendants can honor and learn more from CIRI’s Elders. One result of that survey was the creation by the Committees of the annual CIRI Elder of the Year award in 2011. Another was the development of commemorative cards and lapel pins acknowledging CIRI’s 40th anniversary, which were mailed to original CIRI shareholders in 2012.
SPC members volunteer at multiple CIRI events throughout the year, affording members the opportunity to interact with shareholders and descendants, solicit feedback and assist CIRI with a variety of tasks.
At the request of shareholders, the SPCs encouraged the establishment of the Northwest Potlatch as an annual event. The Potlatch provides a central occasion for shareholders living in the Pacific Northwest to renew cultural and family ties, visit with friends and catch up on events in Alaska.
In response to feedback from the SPCs that many shareholders would prefer a more informal structure for CIRI’s Shareholder Information Meetings, CIRI introduced a new format wherein attendees continued to have an opportunity to enjoy delicious food and to view a financial presentation, but were also able to visit booths that afforded an opportunity to visit one-on-one with CIRI executives, Directors and Board candidates, and to ask questions and offer feedback in a more relaxed environment. Reaction to the new format was overwhelmingly positive, but we do know that some shareholders prefer the traditional format. Thus, CIRI may alternate between traditional and open meeting formats in the future.
In 2003, the SPCs raised nearly $500 to buy a new easy-to-use washer and dryer for a Cook Inlet Housing Authority Elder (CIHA) Facility in Anchorage. CIRI and CIHA contributed the remaining amount necessary to purchase the appliances, which were then donated on behalf of the SPCs. In 2004, the SPCs initiated a book drive for the elementary library at the Chief Leschi School in Puyallup, Wash., where CIRI holds a number of shareholder events, with an emphasis on books with Alaska Native cultural themes. Over 40 books were donated as a result of the drive. In 2005, the committees raised money and membership awareness for the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Members have also caught and donated salmon to Elders via the Ninilchik Traditional Council.
Prior to the initiation of CIRI Elder payments, the SPCs researched and reviewed Elders’ trust funds that some of the other Alaska Native Corporations had in place, sharing those findings with the CIRI Board of Directors and making recommendations for the formation of a CIRI Elders’ Trust.
Each Shareholder Participation Committee continues to explore avenues for CIRI, its subsidiaries and non-profits to better serve CIRI shareholders and descendants. To date, six former SPC members have gone on to serve on CIRI’s Board of Directors.[/box]