What is the role of DRA Chapters?
Chapters are an effective vehicle to bring together geographical neighbors and members of DRA to solve problems and discuss issues in their geographic community. Each chapter is unique to its membership. Each chapter is staffed by an organizer of Dakota Rural Action.
Like any non-profit corporation, DRA has a set of by-laws. Chapters are laid out in DRA’s bylaws generally as:
1. An organized, geographical area being established under the auspices of DRA. Each chapter is to be organized around 15 or more members of DRA, led by officers, which include at a minimum a Chapter Chairperson, a Chapter Vice-Chair, and a Chapter Secretary/Treasurer.
2. Potential chapters wishing to be officially recognized need to contact the state DRA office for instructions on Board approval.
3. If a chapter can no longer meet the qualifications from section one they must go into stand-by status.
Characteristics of the Chapters:
1. Organized in a specific geographic area which is defined by people in the chapter (neighborhood, city, county(s), etc).
2. Membership based. Dues go to both chapter and state organization; all chapters are members of the state organization.
3. Focused on locally specific issues, but can also provide mutual support to other chapters and engage in state and national issues.
4. Multi-issue, addressing more than one local issue over time.
5. Group decisioning based on democratic principles (procedures vary by chapter).
6. Represented on state-wide Board of Directors (up to two representatives per chapter).
7. Staffed by a paid organizer,assigned by the state organization.
8. Can work on any issue that doesn’t conflict with state policy as long as it is within the mission statement of DRA.
Current chapters of Dakota Rural Action are Deuel County Chapter, Brookings County Chapter, Black Hills Chapter, Greater Oahe Action League (Pierre area), and the Moody County Chapter.