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CAI Launches Board Member Education Initiative

9/9/2009  -  Alexandria, VA

Community Associations Institute (CAI) has launched an online learning program that gives community association board members and other homeowners the information, guidance and perspective they need to govern their communities effectively and responsibly.

Free for CAI members and nonmembers, Board Member Basics consists of six online elements, each developed to inspire thoughtful, informed and enlightened association governance.

The program is ideal for current association board and committee members, those who aspire to community leadership positions and residents who want to understand how associations can and should function. The information is applicable to leaders in virtually any common-interest community, including homeowner and condominium associations.

More than 60 million Americans live in an estimated 300,000 association-governed communities. At least 1.8 million homeowner volunteer leaders serve on the elected boards that govern these associations. Hundreds of thousands more support their associations in other ways, including serving on committees, writing newsletters and maintaining community websites.

“Virtually all association-governed communities share common characteristics and core principles,” says CAI President Edward D. Thomas, CMCA, AMS, PCAM. “Basic standards and best practices apply to any association and every homeowner leader. Homeowner leaders who complete this learning program take with them a better understanding of how associations should function and the knowledge and perspective to help them lead their communities.”

Developed under the auspices of CAI’s Center for Community Association Volunteers (CCAV), Board Member Basics consists of the following elements:

  • Model Code of Ethics for Community Association Board Members—a new CAI resource that addresses board authority, decision-making, conflicts of interest, elections, confidentiality, professional relationships, harassment and more.
  • Community Association Fundamentals—a primer developed to help homeowners, association leaders, realtors and others better understand the basic nature of common-interest communities.
  • Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities—42 principles and practices designed to help promote a sustained sense of community by reducing conflict and promoting responsible citizenship and effective leadership.
  • Community Association Governance Guidelines—12 principles that address many of the most potentially contentious components of association management and governance, including rules, grievances and appeals, assessments, elections and foreclosure.

The curriculum also includes levels 1 and 2 of CAI’s Community Volunteer Leadership Development Program:

  • An Introduction to Community Association Living—a two-hour program that addresses the roles and functions of community associations, such as providing services, managing physical assets, working with association governing documents and advocating for fellow homeowners.
  • The Fundamentals of Community Volunteer Leadership—an online course that covers operations, association management, roles and responsibilities, contracting, meetings and more.

“With all of their inherent advantages, common-interest communities can face complicated issues,” says Marilyn Brainard, chair of CAI’s Community Association Volunteers Committee. “Serving on an association board is a challenging responsibility with infinite opportunities for mistakes and missteps. This education program will help board members avoid situations that often create discontent, strife and, in some cases, costly litigation.”

Adds CAI Chief Executive Officer Thomas M. Skiba, CAE: “We believe associations can and should exceed the expectations of their residents. Our vision is reflected in community associations that become better—even preferred—places to call home.”

Homeowners who complete the unit can print a “Statement of Completion” from the CAI website to show they have taken this important step to educate themselves. However, individuals who represent they have studied and understand this information do so on the honor system, since CAI cannot verify that the entire curriculum has been reviewed.

Learn more about Board Member Basics
CAI is a national membership organization that represents homeowner and condominium associations, providing education and resources to the volunteer leaders and professionals involved in the governance and management of common-interest communities. CAI’s 29,000-plus members include community association volunteer leaders (homeowners), professional association managers and management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to community associations.

Phone: 703-970-9235