VJLS-JH Governance Overview    



Good Governance is the heart of a cohesive and effective organization. The Board of Directors has prioritized accountability and has built a strong foundation for effectiveness, access and fairness. By designing bylaws and policies that make a difference and focus on results, we have been creating the future rather than revisiting the past. We’re working toward a structure that offers consistency and clarification.

Together, we’re making the planning and execution of programs and projects much less complicated and more well-informed. We’re drawing on expertise in the areas of education, child-care, and community impact. By learning from our experience and the experiences of other similar organizations, we can address the underlying issues that may have slowed our progress until now. We have been guided by a desire for meaningful participation, transparent, accessible leadership, and sustainable action in fulfilling our mission. 

History of Governance and Our Latest Evolution:

Our history as an organization shows a movement towards a governance board model, and diverging from a” working board.”  In a working board, directors and committees act as managers for the organization and oversee all staff. The governance model, which is fundamentally different, is explained in the section below.

In recent years, the volume of work to advance the organization to adapt to a changing world has increased exponentially. Due to the complexity of our organization, the work done by directors has become too complex for a working board model. In other words, managing time and resources to perform both governance and operations responsibilities in a complex, multi-faceted organization is an impossible task for board members. 

Previous boards have tried to address this challenge by effecting gradual, evolving responses and providing opportunities for solutions from both outside and within our organization:

    • In 2014, particularly with the addition of Children’s World (beginning in 2012 with its requisite licensing requirements), a task force reviewed the board model. The task force found that the increase in the volume of work became too much for the directors to coordinate with volunteer hours. The decision was made to move toward a governance model with hired managers, including a general manager. This model was implemented, but did not bring the success that was expected.
    • In 2019, the current board decided to revisit the fundamental structures and understand how this model could work. We studied board fundamentals with the assistance of Vantage Point, an organization that transforms the non-profit sector through embracing best practices in governance. The board learned how to implement the necessary changes and hired a board advisor/consultant, Wayne Robert, and an Interim Executive Director, Catarina Moreno, to prepare the organization’s structures, systems and personnel for a successful transition.
    • The interim Executive Director position ended with the hiring of a permanent Executive Director, Darius Maze, in March 2020.

As the Executive Director (Senior Manager) is effectively leading the operations management of the overall organization, the board now has the opportunity to set broad strategies and future direction, as well as provide oversight of risk management, financial sustainability, and job performance of the Executive Director.

    • If you’re interested in the history of how the governance of VJLS-JH has evolved since our establishment in 1906, Laura Saimoto has researched the impact of good governance in our organization since it was founded, and its role in the sustainability of our organization.

      Click here to read the history


Explaining the Governance Model:

The board studied board fundamentals from Vantage Point. They state that:

Every organization has a set of functions required to keep it running smoothly.  They can be categorized into three separate but connected levels: governance, management and operations.

  • Governance is derived from the word kebernon (Greek), which means to steer. In current usage, to govern means to steer, to control, and to influence from a position of authority. Governance is concerned with setting a direction and maintaining guideposts (policies and targets) for management to carry out the direction of the board.
  • Management is responsible for ensuring the direction set by the board is carried out. Management enforces policies, creates activities to carry out the strategic goals and reports back to the board on progress towards those goals. 
  • Operations is the day-to-day implementation of the organizations program and services.

In addition, the board has the responsibility for:

Taking Care of the Organization (5 core responsibilities of oversight)

  1. Ensure mission impact
  2. Support the most senior staff person (CEO, ED, etc.)
  3. Protect and steward the organizations assets
  4. Ensure sustainable resources
  5. Be ambassadors of the organization

 Underlying each of these are two fundamental responsibilities:

  • Accountability to community
  • Everything in service of the mission

 *Source: Board Fundamentals: Governance, Participant Workbook; Vantage Point 2019 (PDF).


VJLS-JH Organization Chart

Click here for a downloadable version (PDF). 


When an organization commits to the governance model, the evolution process leads to changes and clarifications in the committee structure.  We have added information and guidelines under section 15 of the updated Bylaws (click here).  There is no Committee section in the current Bylaws. We have been working hard to make things clear, but as it is an ongoing process, we ask for your patience and understanding as we walk through it. 

For more information about changes to our committees, please see our Committees page


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