The legal name of the nonprofit organization shall be The LIFE Initiative, Inc. (Lifting Individuals to Freedom from Exploitation) and shall be referred to herein by either that name or the “organization”. The LIFE Initiative, Inc. is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
The purposes of The LIFE Initiative, Inc. are as follows in an attempt to enhance the strategies in place to identify and combat human trafficking in Kenosha, Wisconsin as well as throughout the state of Wisconsin and all surrounding areas.
Section 1. Continuously build upon an established network of comprehensive, trauma-informed, victim-centered, and harm reducing wraparound services, local and state professionals, and other community-based organizations/agencies dedicated to identifying and addressing the heinous crime of human trafficking and recovering victims in the safest manner possible.
Section 2. Provide any and all recovered or identified victims with a 24/7/365 trauma-informed, victim-centered approach as well as immediate access or referrals for any needs related to substance abuse, complex trauma/mental health, shelter/safety, education, employment, insurance, childcare, physical health, and ensuring long-term, consistent advocacy support throughout the reintegration process as well as any legal proceedings. Advocates will be required to engage in initial trauma-informed care training as well as annual training to enhance knowledge and best service provision to victims. LIFE will also aim to ensure collaboration with victims/survivors and ensure they are offered an opportunity to obtain a position of leadership within the organization or to provide any input which they deem appropriate or necessary to further the organization or best interests of victims/survivors.
Section 3. Coordinate events and activities within the community, especially as it relates to prevention for youth or within the school systems, designed to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking which directly relates to an increase in reports to identify and recover potential victims of trafficking. Some of these events may be necessary and utilized to raise funds and build corporate relationships and partnerships to assist the organization in best serving victims as well. A common barrier is appropriate and available safe shelter for recovered victims and LIFE aims to raise the funds to create and maintain a safe shelter for any and all recovered victims who may require this basic need to be met.
Section 4. Provide extensive and increasingly in-depth, profession-specific trainings for professional organizations and agencies to ensure community members and professionals have the knowledge and support necessary to identify and assist victims of human trafficking. An essential component of the organization is to have medical professionals, advocates for victims of violence, educational staff, corrections, law enforcement, legal services, substance abuse, trauma-informed therapists as well as other professionals in board positions to ensure the most efficient identification and appropriate treatment of victims during any and all encounters.
Section 5. Collaboration and Partnership with local law enforcement officials to engage in recovery efforts and support and advocacy throughout the recovery and investigative process.
Section 6. The LIFE Initiative, Inc. will not engage in any prohibited political or legislative activity in conflict with its tax-exempt status.
Section 7. In the event The LIFE Initiative, Inc. should dissolve, assets will be dispersed to one or more other charitable organizations meeting the needs or assisting human trafficking victims in Wisconsin.
Codes of Ethics and Whistleblower Policy
Section 1. Purpose. The LIFE Initiative, Inc. requires and encourages directors, officers, and employees to observe and practice high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. The employees and representatives of the organization must practice honesty, integrity, and transparency in fulfilling their responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. It is the intent of The LIFE Initiative, Inc. to adhere to all laws and regulations which apply to the organization and the underlying purpose of this policy is to support the organization’s goal of legal and ethical compliance. The support of all organizational staff is necessary to achieving compliance with various laws and regulations.
Section 2. Reporting Violations. If any director, officer, staff, or employee reasonably believes that some policy, practice, or activity of The LIFE Initiative, Inc. is in violation of a law or stated ethical practice, a written complaint must be filed by that person with the board president or vice president.
Section 3. Acting in Good Faith. Anyone filing a complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation. Any allegations that prove to be unsubstantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false shall be subject to civil and criminal review.
Section 4. Retaliation. Said person is protected from retaliation only if he/she brings the alleged unlawful or unethical activity, policy, or practice to the attention of The LIFE Initiative, Inc. with a reasonable opportunity to investigate and correct the alleged activity. The protection described below is only available to individuals who comply with this requirement.
The LIFE Initiative, Inc. shall not retaliate against any director, officer, staff, or employee who in good faith, has made a protest or raised a complaint against some practice of The LIFE Initiative, Inc. or of another individual or entity with whom The LIFE Initiative, Inc. has a business relationship, on the basis of a reasonable belief that the practice is in violation of a law, an ethical practice, or a clear mandate of public policy.
The LIFE Initiative, Inc. shall not retaliate against any director, officer, staff, or employee who discloses or threatens to disclose to a supervisor, officer, or public body, any activity, policy, or practice of The LIFE Initiative, Inc. that the individual reasonably believes is in violation of a law, ethical practice, rule, or regulation mandated pursuant to law or is in violation or is in violation of a clear mandate of public policy concerning the health, safety, welfare, or protection of individuals or the environment.
Section 5. Confidentiality. Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant or may be submitted anonymously. Reports of violations or suspected violations shall be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate and appropriate investigation.
Section 6. Handling of Reported Violations. The board president or vice president shall notify the sender and acknowledge receipt of the reported violation or suspected violation within five business days. All reports shall be promptly investigated by the board and its appointed committee and appropriate corrective action shall be taken if warranted by the investigation.
This policy shall be made available to all directors, officers, staff, or employees and they shall have the opportunity to ask questions about the policy.
Section 1. Annual Meeting. One (1) annual meeting shall be held once per calendar year for the purpose of members electing directors and officers, convey reports on association activities occurring throughout the year, and prepare association direction for the next calendar year. The annual meeting shall be held immediately prior to the commencement of the December meeting of the Board of Directors.
Section 2. Special Meetings. Special meetings may be requested at any time and for any reason relevant to organizational business by the President or any member of the Board of Directors.
Section 3. Notice. Notices of all meetings, regular or special, shall be provided under this section and shall depict the date, time, location and purpose of the meeting. Such notice shall be sent through electronic correspondence to all directors of record at the electronic correspondence address at least one (1) week prior to the meeting.
Section 4. Place of Meeting. All meetings, regular or special shall be held at the date, time, and location specified in the meeting notice and may be required to be held virtually.
Section 5. Quorum. A quorum shall be defined as a majority of the directors. A quorum for a meeting of the Board of Directors shall consist of at least twenty percent (20)% of the active membership. A quorum must exist in order for organizational business transactions to be discussed or any voting to occur.
Section 1. Number of Directors. The LIFE Initiative, Inc. shall be managed by a Board of Directors consisting of not less than 10 directors but not more than 15.
Section 2. Election and Term. The directors shall be elected at each annual meeting. Each director shall serve staggered 2 year terms, or until a successor has been elected.
Section 3. Quorum. A majority (at least 20%) of active directors shall constitute a quorum.
Section 4. Conflict of Interest. Any conflicts regarding agenda items shall be declared at the initial commencement of a meeting. Should it be determined by vote by a majority of the directors, the disclosed conflict shall not necessarily invalidate the director’s vote.
Section 5. Regular Meeting. The Board of Directors shall meet monthly, unless otherwise specified, to discuss organizational business matters as well as updates from any special committees which have been formed to address and meet specific needs within the organization or the community. The Executive Committee Officers shall meet monthly prior to the regularly scheduled board meeting.
Section 6. Voting Procedures. The vote of a majority of the directors present at a properly called meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the Board of Directors. The Board Secretary shall keep written minutes of its proceedings in its permanent records.
Section 7. Removal / Vacancies. Any director shall be subject to removal, with cause and only after appropriate discussion and/or investigation, at a meeting called for that purpose. Any vacancy that occurs on the Board of Directors, whether by death, resignation, removal or any other cause, may be filled by the remaining directors. A director elected to fill a vacancy shall serve the remaining term of his or her predecessor.
Section 8. Committees. The Board of Directors may appoint board members to a committee or committees and designate the duties, powers and authorities of such committees to conduct business necessary to address needs within the organization or within the community.
Section 1. Officer Positions. The officers of the organization shall be President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
a. President. The President shall be the Chief Officer and shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee.
b. Vice President. The Vice President shall perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President and shall assist the President with any necessary duties.
c. Secretary. The Secretary shall give notice of all meetings of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The Secretary shall keep an accurate, confidential roster of board members, and shall have the authority to certify any records, or copies of records, as the official records of the organization. The Secretary shall maintain the minutes of the Board of Directors’ meetings and all comm.
d. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall conduct the financial affairs of the organization as directed and authorized by the Board of Directors and Executive Committee and shall make reports of the organization’s finances as requested and at each regular board meeting.
Section 2. Election and Term Length. The Officers shall be selected by the President/Founder initially and election or reelection will occur during every other annual meeting. Each officer shall serve a two year term or until a successor has been elected.
Section 3. Removal or Vacancy. Whenever any Officer vacancy occurs, it shall be filled without undue delay by a majority vote of the members of the Board of Directors at a regular or special meeting. Vacancies may be created and filled according to specific methods approved by the Board of Directors.
Section 1. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the Organization shall end on December 31st in each year.
Section 2. Execution of Contracts and Debts. Unless so authorized by these Bylaws or the Board of Directors, no officer, employee or agent shall have any power to bind the Organization by any contract or to pledge its credit to render it liable financially for any purposes or in any amount.
Section 3. Financial Examination. An annual review of the financial records of The LIFE Initiative, Inc. shall be made by the Treasurer/Grant & Funds Committee and will report its findings to the Board of Directors within 90 days following the end of the fiscal year.
Section 4. Parliamentary Authority. Any question concerning parliamentary procedure at meetings shall be determined by the President by reference to Robert’s Rules of Order.
Section 5. Confidentiality. Directors shall not discuss or disclose information about the Corporation or its activities to any person or entity unless such information is already a matter of public knowledge, such person or entity has a need to know, or the disclosure of such information is in furtherance of the Corporations’ purposes, or can reasonably be expected to benefit the Corporation. Directors shall use discretion and good business judgment in discussing the affairs of the Corporation with third parties. Without limiting the foregoing, Directors may discuss upcoming fundraisers and the purposes and functions of the Corporation, including but not limited to accounts on deposit in financial institutions. Each Director shall execute a confidentiality agreement consistent herewith upon being voted onto and accepting appointment to the Board of Directors.
Amendment to Bylaws
The bylaws may be amended, altered, or repealed by a majority vote of the Board of Directors at any meeting.
The LIFE Initiative, Inc. agrees to indemnify, defend and save harmless the board members, its officers, directors and employees, from and against all liability, loss, cost or expense (including attorney’s fees) by reason of liability imposed upon the individual, arising out of or related to the organization’s activities, whether caused by or contributed to by the members or any other party indemnified herein, unless caused by the sole negligence of the member or any other party indemnified herein.
We, the undersigned, are the initial Officers or incorporators of this organization, and we consent to, and hereby do, adopt the foregoing Bylaws, consisting of the five preceding pages, as the Bylaws of this organization.
ADOPTED AND APPROVED by the Board of Directors on this 15th day of October, 2020.
Kimberly Voss, President/Founder – The LIFE Initiative, Inc.
Jeff Wamboldt, Vice President – The LIFE Initiative, Inc.
Wendy Kumbier, Treasurer – The LIFE Initiative, Inc.
ATTEST: Emily Meissner, Secretary – The LIFE Initiative, Inc.