How We Work

The Illinois Organic Growers Association (IOGA) exists under the fiscal sponsorship of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. IOGA is governed by a Governing Board that is elected by IOGA members. The Governing Board appoints an Administrative Committee to manage ongoing operations and carry out IOGA activities as directed by the Governing Board.

The Illinois Organic Growers Association is ultimately governed by its members, who are producers, businesses, students, or other individuals who support organic agriculture and food production. Members delegate leadership to the Governing Board, which members elect at their annual meeting held each January in conjunction with the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference. Members also approve the by-laws that govern the association and the agreement that details IOGA’s relationship with its fiscal sponsor.

The Governing Board is composed of people who are either dues-paying individual members of the Illinois Organic Growers Association or a staff person of a dues-paying business or organization. The Governing Board meets 2 times a year and has the following responsibilities:

  • At its first meeting, held in January or February, after the annual member meeting, the board determines the activities for the coming year and appoints the coming year’s Administrative Committee.
  • At its second meeting, held in November, the board reviews the past year’s activities and prepares the annual member meeting, including preparing a slate of nominees for the next year’s Governing Board.
  • Throughout the rest of the year, the Governing Board receives regular reports from the Administrative Committee and can call special meetings if any issues need to be addressed urgently.
  • The board also approves membership categories, fees, and benefits, and approves the fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

The Administrative Committee is appointed by the Governing Board to plan and carry out the activities desired by the members, as directed by the Governing Board. Administrative Committee members may be producers or businesses, or represent institutions that support organic agriculture, such as universities, Extension, or nonprofit organizations. The Administrative Committee carries out the following responsibilities:

  • Implement IOGA activities based on the overall direction and annual priorities set by the Governing Board
  • Set the annual budget for IOGA
  • Lead grant research and writing activities
  • Recruit and manage other committees of grower representatives as needed for guidance on specific projects, such as conference program planning.
  • Recruit and direct employees or independent contractors to work on IOGA projects as funds are available

The fiscal sponsor, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, serves as the legal “host” for the Illinois Organic Growers Association. Rather than spend scarce resources on creating and maintaining an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and administrative staff, IOGA exists as a project under the sponsorship of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. As fiscal sponsor, ISA will

  • Maintain a database of IOGA members, including contact information and membership category
  • Process membership applications and fees
  • Send annual mailing for membership renewal
  • Manage tracking and payment of vendor invoices
  • Maintain the general ledger for IOGA finances
  • Manage personnel administration including payroll and benefits administration
  • Set up and maintain a restricted accounting fund to track IOGA revenues and expenses
  • Send a financial report to the Administrative Committee and Governing Board on a quarterly basis

In return for the above services, ISA will charge a fee of 10% of membership fees. When grant funding covers indirect/overhead costs, these will be allocated to ISA.