A Viewpoint from the Children’s Home Society Board of Directors

Posted on April 27, 2022

By Gina Hopkins

If I volunteer my time, I want those hours to go to an effective, well-run organization. After all, time is valuable.

That’s one reason I serve on the board of Children’s Home Society of South Dakota (CHS).

Certain organizations in the state have a reputation for high quality and excellent, engaged boards—and CHS is among them. Now in my ninth year on the board and currently serving as Board Secretary, I feel very good about my board service.

Meetings are well-prepared for, well-run and efficient. We have numerous board members who have served multiple terms rotating from the CHS board to the Children’s Home Foundation (CHF) board and back. It really says something about the organization and the boards when board members return, term after term and year after year.

As Vice President of Facilities at CorTrust Bank in Sioux Falls, I’m familiar with how businesses view board service. Typically, we encourage a staff member or a manager to represent the company on a board. But in the case of CHS, business owners themselves serve on the board, which is rare. Our board members aren’t serving in order to build their resumes; they’re at a level where they don’t need resumes. They’re serving because it’s a high-quality board and a good use of their volunteer time.

Because of the high caliber of the board members, we are bringing knowledge and expertise into the board setting. Management can tap into those resources as needed.

On the CHS board, there is an open table for opinions, ideas and advice. We aren’t and shouldn’t be involved in operations—that’s not our job. But when it comes to policy and critical decisions, the board can help.

The nominating committee on the CHS board has a long list of people who have shown interest in joining the board. Someone could wait years to be nominated, and that’s partly because so many board members wish to return.

The story of how I joined the CHS board is revealing. Originally, my husband was asked to join, but he was already committed to another board that took a fair amount of time. He suggested me, even though I didn’t have his bank president credentials. Before I was allowed to join the board, I was asked to serve on an outside committee for a year so they could get to know me and see my level of commitment. Essentially, I had to prove myself before being considered. And it shows that CHS chooses candidates carefully to ensure we have the best board members.

Aside from our excellent board, CHS itself is stellar. We consistently pass our Joint Commission accreditation reviews with flying colors. It’s clear that CHS always has the clients’ best interests at heart.

Another indication that CHS is a great organization is our strength when it comes to fundraising. There are a great many places asking for our charitable dollars, but when it comes to choosing, people feel very good about giving their money to CHS. And we know that when we give personally or through our business, our donations are well stewarded and that they will be used well.

I feel very strongly that CHS is a great place for people to give their time and to know that it’s very valued and worthwhile!