as of January 2020
Resolution establishing the travel fund, March 2014
WHEREAS the interests of the Democrats Abroad organization are best served when guided by the diverse and representative voices of our membership;
WHEREAS in-person participation is critical to making one’s voice heard;
WHEREAS many active members cannot participate in person due to the high cost of attending international meetings;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) set up an internal travel fund for those DPCA members with demonstrable need and proven commitment to the organization;
AND LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that the International Chairperson, in consultation with the International Treasurer and the DPCA Executive Committee, will set the amount of such stipend;
AND LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that the International Chairperson will appoint a committee to design and implement a transparent mechanism to request and accept applications for the stipend in a timely manner and with a preference for a registration contribution on a voluntary basis.
Establishing and Governing the DPCA Travel Fund
Contributions to the DPCA Travel Fund shall be considered to be ordinary donations to the DPCA. Thus, contributions to the Travel Fund must be governed by the usual laws and regulations (e.g. from US citizens only, at least 18 years old, not anonymous, not in excess of campaign limits).
The Travel Fund does not require a separate bank account. It is sufficient that the International Treasurer keep a separate accounting of donations to, and disbursements from, the Travel Fund. The International Treasurer should give a separate report to DPCA members on the financial status and activities of the Travel Fund.
The DPCA Executive Committee may not authorize disbursements from the Travel Fund for any purpose other than Travel Fund Awards, as described below, except as follows: The DPCA Executive Committee may make a one-time disbursement from the Travel Fund for an emergency purpose, by unanimous vote of the Executive Committee, and with timely notice to all DPCA members and prominence in the International Treasurer’s annual report.
The International Treasurer establishes and maintains the means of accepting donations to the Travel Fund. The International Chair has responsibility (which may be delegated) for promoting both voluntary contributions to the Travel Fund and the process of applying for Travel Fund Awards.
Running the Travel Fund
Timing Proposal: The International Chair should appoint a Travel Fund Committee of at least one Chair and at least one member from each of the three regions by January 1 of each year. By February 1 or ninety days before the next in-person meeting of the DPCA (whichever is sooner), the International Treasurer should inform the chair of the Travel Fund Committee of the amount of funds available in the Travel Fund. The Travel Fund Committee should work with the International Chair so that a detailed description of the awards available and the application procedure are available no later than the date that registration is opened for the DPCA meeting.
The Amount of a Travel Fund Award
The purpose of Travel Fund awards is to provide partial, but not total, financial assistance for members to attend DPCA Global Meetings in person. Awards of $500 will be distributed to selected applicants to help offset their out-of-pocket costs.
Awards will not be granted for attendance at Regional Meetings or the Democratic National Convention.
The Application for Travel Fund Awards
Eligibility: All Democrats Abroad members in good standing are eligible to apply for Travel Fund Awards; applicants need not be in an elected position to be eligible. Individuals who have received a Travel Fund Award in the previous five (5) DPCA Global Meetings are not eligible to apply.
Application: An applicant must complete and submit an application form, which shall be provided by the Travel Fund Committee through DPCA Leadership messaging and on the Wiki. Information to be supplied by the applicant will include, but will not be limited to, a two-paragraph statement from the applicant detailing the applicant’s past and present involvement with Democrats Abroad at the chapter, country committee, and/or international levels, and describing the vision of the applicant’s future roles within Democrats Abroad. All applicants will also supply a letter of reference from a DPCA member.
Determination of Need: The applicant must give an indication on the application form of genuine financial need. No personal financial information will be collected by the Committee. The applicant must also provide an estimate of travel costs to the Global Meeting, to exclude lodging and miscellaneous expenditures.
Determination of Underrepresentation at Global Meetings: The applicant must provide information about the home Country Committee’s attendance at past Global Meetings and the applicant’s own history of attendance at past Global Meetings.
Sensitivity to Diversity: The applicant may voluntarily provide information to assist the Committee in meeting affirmative action and gender balance goals, in line with recommendations established by the Diversity Committee. Diversity information will not be used as a primary factor in evaluating applications but will be used by the Chair as a tie-breaker in the event two applications are ranked the same.
Endorsements and Letters of Reference: All applicants, whether in an elected leadership position or not, must solicit one letter of reference from a DPCA member prior to the close of applications. The referring DPCA member need not be in a position of superiority to the applicant nor must the referring DPCA member be resident in the applicant’s country or region. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the referring DPCA member submits a letter of reference to the Travel Fund Committee. Applications lacking a letter of reference at the close of applications will not be considered.
Conditions of the Award: Travel Fund Awards will be granted to recipients by the International Treasurer at the DPCA Global Meeting as reimbursement to ensure that the recipients are physically present at the meeting. Recipients are required to provide travel-related receipts to the Travel Fund Committee Chair and International Treasurer no later than two weeks in advance of the DPCA Global Meeting. Recipients are required to attend, in person, the DPCA Global Meeting in its entirety. Failure to attend the meeting in full, absent a genuine and verifiable emergency, will result in forfeiture of the Award. Awards will not be prorated for partial meeting attendance.
Determining Recipients of Travel Fund Awards
- Invalid, incomplete, or late applications are discarded by the Chair of the committee. Furthermore, the Chair reserves the right to verify past DPCA Global Meeting attendance and service to Democrats Abroad with the DPCA International Secretary and/or relevant regional and local officials, and to reject applications determined to contain false information.
- The Chair removes identifying information from all applications and letters of reference prior to distribution.
- All members of the committee read all valid applications and associated letters of reference.
- All members of the committee rank all valid applications in order (1, 2, 3, 4…), submitting their ranks secretly to the Chair of the committee.
- The Chair of the committee sums all the ranks for each applicant to determine an overall ranking.
- In the event that more multiple applications have an equal aggregate ranking, the Chair of the committee shall determine the order between them.
- In the event two recipients are from the same Country Committee, the award of the lower-ranked individual will be offered to the next highest-ranked individual not from a Country Committee already represented among the recipients.
- The committee shall award $500 to each selected applicant, beginning with the applicant receiving the lowest numerical score, until less than $500 is left in the fund. The remainder is left in the fund for the next in-person DPCA Global Meeting.
- The Chair of the committee will contact each potential recipient in order.
- If a recipient states that he or she will not attend the meeting, then $500 will be awarded to the next highest-ranked applicant, taking into consideration applicants falling under 4(b).
- Under no circumstances should the committee increase the amount awarded to an applicant or even inquire whether a larger award would allow an applicant to travel. Any money not awarded due to lack of valid applicants or applicants willing to attend should be kept for the next DPCA Global Meeting.
- The names of award recipients shall be publicized through appropriate DPCA channels, including the DPCA Leadership group and at the Global Meeting.
- The Chair of the committee should request the record of attendance from the International Secretary as soon as practical after the meeting and submit a full report to the International Chair for the use of the next Chair of the Travel Fund Committee.
Report of the Travel Fund Committee
The Chair of the Travel Fund Committee shall submit a written report to each in-person DPCA meeting, including:
- The number of applicants for the present meeting.
- The number of awards accepted and disbursed.
- Recommendations and best practices for future Travel Fund Committees.