News From the Executive Committee (Aug 2011)

ReVisioning MALCS

Our Mission

MALCS is an organization that supports Chicanas, Latinas, Native American and Indigenous women in higher education and community leadership.

Our Vision

MALCS is an organization that initiates dialogue amongst our members and creates exchanges with other social activist organizations drawing on our histories as well as emerging cultural thought and practice in order to address new global challenges.

Getting to Our Mission and Vision: Confronting Challenges to Mujeres

To evaluate where MALCS is, as an organization, we reflected on its role in social action, the purpose of our work and how it is linked to the movement for the transformation of our society.

In past assessments, we have considered the effect of Chicana feminisms on the field of Chicano studies. MALCS has been a vehicle for bridging who we are and what we do—even in contentious times. Thus, MALCS has been raising new questions, challenging assumptions, and exploring knowledges, introducing new ways of thinking about issues that confront our communities.

In the 1980s Mujeres within NACCS addressed that it was not only an issue of inclusion. Questions of patriarchy, patterns, behaviors, and what was becoming custom and tradition had to be challenged and we needed to develop oppositional practices of Chicana and Chicano research. We needed a new language that spoke to the experiences of La Mujer.

MALCS played a unique role in the process of transforming the study of our communities by becoming a central place for mujeres to explore and work out ideas; this brought to the fore the relations of our work to social change; therefore, re-constituting the radical and transformative to explore “oppositional possibility.”

More recently, we developed a two-pronged response to the passage of SB 1070 in Arizona: we boycotted the state and found ways of supporting the mujeres that were hosting the institute there. The response involved our membership in the decision-making process in a way it had never been done before.

What was illustrated is that the membership has a commitment to the MALCS vision. Members were thoroughly involved in a series of tasks that included on-line discussions, surveys, individual e-mails forwarded to the board and other members, as well as discussion groups. Such modes of communication proved that the organization moved forward in the incorporation of various voices and we formed a virtual community. In addition this demonstrated a need for an evaluation and assessment of the organization.

Therefore, the executive board proceeded to compile and evaluate the information exchanged in order to “do work that matters.” There were passionate and powerful voices. We also recognized that there were some deafening silences. To be an organization that responds in social action we considered all perspectives coming from its members. However, a democratic process had to prevail in order to move through this challenging situation.

Some of the representative points of discussion were:

  • Fear of going to Arizona and being arrested due to racial profiling.
  • That our bodies needed to be on the line in Arizona.
  • Unconditional support to the mujeres hosting the institute.
  • Boycotting Arizona altogether.
  • Finding other sites for the Institute.

MALCS responded by implementing a survey in order to incorporate as many voices as possible. Once the results were considered, the decision was a two-pronged approach: to cancel our national summer institute (with a state conference held by the mujeres there) and to support the activism against SB1070 and other discriminatory legislation.

In the end, we were presented with the opportunity to assess our organization in order to expand our modes of communication through democratic participation. The last assessment of MALCS occurred two decades ago and therefore this vision statement is to create a culture of evaluation and participation to address how we work as a national organization in the 21st century.

Working Together: Community Past, Present and Future

As we consider our mission and vision, it must be in relationship to strategy—how we speak to, approach, and set up our actions. There are a number of things we can do to push our agenda forward.

Creating a Virtual Community
Currently, our two forms of community making are the journal and the Summer Institute. We must continue to expand our virtual community by utilizing the social networks: Facebook, the MALCS Blog, and our website. This is part and parcel of our voices entering the public sphere as we engage in public discourse.

We agreed that we must utilize the MALCS website more thoroughly and consistently so that:

  • members can post announcements,
  • the organization can post letters immediately,
  • everyone can respond on the website, and
  • we can continue communicating through the blog as well as create other related blogs.

Building Strategic Relationships
MALCS must consider the types of strategic relationships we need to set up with other women’s organizations so that we can appeal to them to join together in a press conference or other actions. Our collaboration in 2011 with the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa (SSGA) is an example of such action. As well, working with the Chicana/Latina Foundation has enabled us to establish ourselves financially. In addition, MALCS joined other professional associations to hold a national press conference regarding the Arizona boycott.

Continuing to Develop our Membership Base
We must think about the fact that we are a volunteer organization and all of us work for “la causa” – with love, through joy and through hardships. From the special gathering, it was agreed that MALCS needed more volunteers in order to address our infrastructure. Therefore, we created new committees such as:

  • the archive committee: to find documents on previous organization procedures and operation handbooks, and
  • the nominations committee: to develop a process, to contact and vet the nominees.

However, we must continue to examine our potential as an organization. This must be a dual partnership where our membership takes up tasks to support the effort of MALCS and the Executive Committee recognizes and accommodates the different skills and schedules of our membership. This creates then a culture and an organization of volunteers.

As a result of our experiences, conversations, collaborations and challenges, we rededicate ourselves to initiating productive dialogue amongst our members and creating relationships with other social activist organizations to address the new global challenges that Chicanas, Latinas, Native American and Indigenous women face.

Comments? Please discuss at the blog (click here)

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Proposed By-laws Revision

August 2011


Summary of Major Changes

In the spring of 2010, the Executive Committee undertook a major revision of the MALCS bylaws, the first revision since 1991. Since that time, the Executive Committee has visited and revisited drafts, taking care to deliberate thoughtfully on the document that sets out the organizational structures and practices of MALCS. It is important to note that during our deliberations, we made every effort to be mindful of our organizational history. At the same time, we worked hard to understand changes in the broader cultural environment that might impact how an organization like ours operates.

What follows is a summary of major changes that the MALCS Executive Committee is recommending for the organization’s bylaws. The section headings below correspond with the draft that is being circulated for consideration. Under each heading, we provide a description of changes that differ significantly from the previous version of the bylaws. A draft of the proposed bylaws follows this summary.


  • We are recommending that we provide an English translation of the preamble.

Article I: Name

  • We are proposing to add a section that lists the location of the national office.

Article II: Goals and Objectives

  • We are proposing to add a subsection and language that makes the bridging of academics and activism an explicit goal of the organization.

Article III: Membership

  • In the previous version of the bylaws, section III was about regions. We are proposing that we delete the section as regions have not been a functional part of the organization for some time. As a result of this deletion, subsequent article numbers will change.
  • We are proposing that we update the language we use to describe the population that MALCS serves.
    • from “Whereas Chicanas/Latinas have been historically discriminated against and underrepresented in institutions of higher education, membership shall target and be open to Chicanas/Latinas who support the goals and objectives of the organization as stated in Article I and who pay the appropriate membership dues. Institutions and other interested groups or parties may subscribe to the newletter and/or place ads only for academic or professional positions and fellowship opportunities in the newsletter for a fee determined by the editor.”
    • to “Whereas Chicanas, Latinas, Native American and Indigenous women have been historically discriminated against and underrepresented in institutions of higher education, membership shall target and be open to self-identified Chicanas, Latinas, Native American, and Indigenous women who support the goals and objectives of the organization as stated in article one and who pay the appropriate membership dues.”
  • We are proposing that the Executive Committee set membership dues. (Previous version of bylaws gave that power to the Coordinating Committee.
  • We are proposing that the Executive Committee be able to terminate a member’s affiliation with MALCS if that member “has, in a material and serious degree, obstructed the goals and purposes of this organization.” (Previous version of bylaws gave that power to the Coordinating Committee. See Article VII for additional explanation.)

Article IV. Meeting of Members and Voting

  • We are proposing, primarily for financial reasons, that the Summer Institute occur every other year. We would work to develop smaller, more intensive professional development opportunities (writing workshops and leadership training, for example) to be offered in the intervening years.

Note: A formal proposal will be presented during the business meeting at the Summer Institute.

  • We are proposing that we add a provision that allows for electronic voting on organizational matters. We may find this necessary should we move to a biennial Summer Institute.

Note: A formal proposal will be presented during the business meeting at the Summer Institute.

Article V. Chapters

  • We are proposing adding an article clarifying the relationship between MALCS chapters and the national office.

Article VI. MALCS Journal

  • We are proposing adding an article that names the journal and subscription eligibility.

Article VII. Executive Committee

  • In the 1991 bylaws, all officers were described under the heading “Coordinating Committee.” In the intervening years, two structures have more fully emerged: the Executive Committee, functioning as the direction-setting, decision-making body; and the Coordinating Committee, functioning as an advisory group. We are proposing that we describe these two structures in two different articles of the bylaws. Article VII will describe the executive officers—their titles, their roles, their responsibilities. Article VIII will describe the titles, roles, and responsibilities of the remaining officers on the coordinating committee.
  • We are proposing that the terms of office for the recording secretary, treasurer, and membership coordinator go from one year to two years.
  • We are proposing to move information about qualifications, nominations, and elections to Article IX.

Article VIII. Coordinating Committee

  • We are proposing that this article contain officer/election information for the caucus and at-large representatives.

Article IX. Qualifications, Nominations, Elections, and Appointments of Officers

  • We are proposing this as a new section—centralizing all information about qualifications, nominations, elections, and appointments.
  • We are also proposing that we implement a nominations process for the recruiting of candidates for officer positions.

Note: A formal proposal will be presented during the business meeting at the Summer Institute.

  • In Article IV, we recommended adding a provision that allows for electronic voting. This would allow us to move officer elections to an electronic ballot. This would keep officer elections on an annual cycle as well as allow more MALCS members to participate in the election process.

Article X. Termination of Elected and Appointed Positions

We are proposing this as a new section—centralizing all information about termination of elected and appointment positions.

Article XI. Ad Hoc Committees

We are proposing an article that authorizes ad hoc committees.

Article XII. Archives

We are proposing no major changes to this article.

XIII. Amendments to the By-Laws

We are proposing no major changes to the this article.

Click here to download a pdf copy of the Proposed Bylaws

Please discuss at the blog

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MALCS: A Brief History of the Organization’s Fiscal Status

August 2011

We know that many of you are interested in MALCS’s status as an organization. Of particular interest is this question: Are we a 501c3 organization? The short answer to that question is no. Currently, we are an organization registered in California operating under the fiscal agency of The Chicana/Latina Foundation (CLF), a 501c3 organization. If you’d like more information about this organization, you can meet Olga Talamante, the Executive Director, at the Summer Institute. She will be presenting a workshop on Friday, August 5, 9-10:15 a.m. If you aren’t going to the Institute this summer, please feel free to check out the CLF website. You can find it at

What I present here is an explanation of our organization’s fiscal status.

A Short History

At its inception, MALCS thought of becoming an independent organization but because it was housed at UC Davis, it was under the auspices of the Chicana/Latina Research Center for many years. This partnership with the Center and the University was financially advantageous. While there were some donations that supported the journal, the journal was largely funded by the university. In addition, all financial business was conducted via the university.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Ada Sosa Riddell, our founder, registered MALCS as a state organization in California. She also established a bank account for our membership funds. Although Dr. Sosa Riddell and others looked into getting federal status as a 501c3, they did not complete the process.

As MALCS separated itself from the Chicana/Latina Research Center and the University of California, Davis, we began to conduct all our MALCS business via the institutions with which we had working relationships: the universities that organized our summer institute and the universities that hosted the journal. We were able to process all necessary financial transactions through these institutions. In addition, we were generating less than $10,000 a year. At the time, there seemed to be no need to pursue 501c3 status.

501c3 or a Fiscal Agent?

As we have developed, grown and formalized MALCS as an organization, the financial circumstances have changed. We now make more than $25,000 annually, which is the threshold for filing taxes for an organization. When this happened, I brought up this question: should we once again look into becoming our own 501c3 organization? Or should we find a fiscal agent who would formally help us keep our organization in good fiscal standing?

At the time, I proposed to the Executive Committee that we pursue a fiscal relationship with an established organization. I argued that until MALCS has the capacity to pay formal staff, we shouldn’t and couldn’t move on the 501c3. As an all-volunteer organization, it is difficult to build the financial infrastructure necessary for 501c3 status. An established fiscal agent would provide the necessary administrative infrastructure for our fiscal matters. The Executive Committee agreed.

The relationship we have developed with the Chicana Latina Foundation, an organization whose mission is “to empower Chicanas/Latinas through personal, educational, and professional advancement,” is a good match for us and one which we need to take advantage of as part of our pipeline for Chicanas in higher education and community leadership. There are other advantages as well: 1) donors are still able to make tax-exempt donations, and 2) MALCS does not take on the fees that are often associated with becoming a 501c3 including paying staff salaries and benefits, worker’s compensation, board insurance, annual taxes, etc. In addition, our relationship with this organization offers some opportunities to partner on grants, something which funders look favorably on. We pay the Chicana/Latina Foundation $1500 a year to serve as our fiscal agent.

Making a Donation to MALCS

The issue of being our own 501c3 comes up regularly when members donate and need proof of their donation. There is no problem with individual donations. Any of our mujeres can make a donation and use the Chicana Latina Foundation tax identification number for the write-off. If interested, please contact me for that information.

When individual donors give funds to CLF for MALCS, they go into a sub account for us where this money is held until we need to use it. When we request those funds, we follow CLF administrative procedures. When we write/receive grants, we will use CLF procedures again to use and track the funds.

A Few Other Notes

I just have a few other things to say about this arrangement and the opportunities it offers. By way of self-disclosure, I sit on the board of the Chicana/Latina Foundation, currently as co-president. I am recommending that our administrative coordinator (currently, me) submit formal reports to both the MALCS Executive Committee/membership and to CLF so there is transparency on our proposed and actual use of MALCS funds. And finally, I look forward to sitting down and brainstorming with MALCS members about future fundraising plans to support the important work we do on campuses and in communities.

Lupe Gallegos Diaz
MALCS Administrative Coordinator

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