Partnership With Native Americans

Strong, self-sufficient Native American communities

Addison, TX   |  www.nativepartnership.org

Mission

Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit committed to championing hope for a brighter future for Native Americans living on remote, isolated and often impoverished reservations. A BBB-accredited charity and Combined Federal Campaign participant, PWNA collaborates with hundreds of reservation program partners to serve immediate needs and support long-term solutions for strong, self-sufficient Native American communities. PWNA provides consistent aid and services for Native Americans with the highest needs in the U.S., benefiting 250,000 Native Americans annually. We care about quality of life for Native Americans and support self-determined goals of the tribes, providing critical supplies and support for education, capacity building and community investment.

Notes from the nonprofit

In the United States, less than one percent of all charitable giving supports Native American causes. Yet, the hundreds of tribal communities that PWNA serves have the highest need in the U.S., including food insecurity, inadequate healthcare, and lack of access to college or timely disaster relief. We hope that individuals will take the time to learn more about realities on the reservations, read our annual reports, and consider supporting our programs that work in direct partnership with reservation programs to improve quality of life for Native people. Many solutions exist within the tribal communities we serve, but funding is needed to make them a reality.

Ruling year info

2015

President & CEO

Joshua Arce

Main address

16415 Addison Rd Ste 200

Addison, TX 75001 USA

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Formerly known as

National Relief Charities

EIN

47-3730147

NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

PWNA assists Native American reservations facing some of the toughest conditions in America – and shocking to many, including: 23% of Native families with food insecurity; communities without safe drinking water; 90,000 people homeless and 40% living in sub-standard, overcrowded housing; 61% of Native children living in poverty or low-income households; stray animals and overpopulation; limited disaster relief; only 13% of Native students completing college; and the highest teen suicide, diabetes and cancer rates in the U.S. PWNA partners with hundreds of programs in hundreds of tribal communities across 9 priority states. Working with our Native community partners, we improve quality of life for 250,000 Native Americans by: • Addressing day-to-day hardship due to lack of jobs or access to basic supplies most take for granted, such as healthy food, safe drinking water and school supplies • Funding higher education and Native-led community investment and capacity building projects

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

INTRO TO PWNA PROGRAMS

The World Health Organization identifies poverty as the greatest cause of suffering on earth. Poverty and multigenerational poverty is a complex issue that involves the inability to satisfy basic needs, a lack of control over resources and isolation from information and support. By virtue of life circumstances, people who live in poverty are exposed to more emotional stress and have fewer resources with which to manage it. The effects lead to family disruption, depression and suicide. Collaborating with hundreds of reservation program partners, Native American families living in poverty receive much needed support for the difficult situations in their lives.

PWNA programming takes the dual approach of serving immediate needs in remote reservation communities and supporting long-term projects for sustainable gains on the reservations. More than 70% of donations go toward PWNA programs impacting four areas of focus: Northern Plains reservation services, Southwest reservation services, education and animal welfare. These are further described in our major programs below.

Population(s) Served
Seniors
Children and youth

The communities PWNA serves cope with high rates of poverty and a lack of local access to healthy food choices. The majority of these reservations are classified as "food deserts” by the U.S.D.A. As a result, 23% of American Indian families experience food insecurity, which the USDA defines as "a lack of consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active life." Along with low food security come nutrition-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and childhood obesity at rates significantly higher for Native Americans than for other ethnic groups. PWNA has numerous services to help address food insecurity and boost local food resources. PWNA provides staple food products to tribal Elderly Nutrition Centers and local soup kitchens where hot meals are served, as well as breakfast food bags, emergency food boxes and fresh produce to Elders. PWNA also supports community gardens, nutrition education, and training on healthy cooking with traditional Indigenous foods. Our train-the-trainer (T3) program readies people to extend the training they receive to others in their communities.

Population(s) Served
Seniors
Families

The communities PWNA serves rely on Indian Health Services (I.H.S.) for medical care. The communities are remote – many of them "frontier counties” with fewer than seven people per square mile – and often far away from the nearest clinic. This lack of access combined with the necessity for I.H.S. to focus on medical crises contributes to high disease rates and generally poor preventative health care. These communities experience lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, epidemic levels of diabetes, and higher rates of cancer, TB and suicide than other groups in the U.S.

PWNA's health and wellness services support community-based initiatives to improve the prevention, detection and early treatment of health issues as well as initiatives that support healthy life choices. PWNA supports hundreds of health partners offering a range of preventative approaches such as health education/wellness classes, disease screenings, wellness and immunization clinics, residential care and home visits aimed at education and intervention for the homebound or others who lack access to services.

Population(s) Served
Seniors
Families

Each year, Partnership With Native Americans funds critical college scholarships for Native American students pursuing a higher education. We evaluate about 1,000 scholarship applications annually and focus on applicants who are middling academic achievers with serious drive and a strong sense of overcoming.. And each year, 90-95% of the students awarded our scholarships complete the college year. We credit our unique selection process, individualized mentor program and student motivation for this success. PWNA's scholarships are paid to the college where each undergrad or graduate student is accepted. Additionally, PWNA assists hundreds of Head Starts and K-12 schools with backpacks and school supplies, and conducts personal and professional development training through its Four Directions (4D) program for emerging leaders that want to make a greater difference in their tribal communities.

Population(s) Served
Non-adult children
Children and youth

To help our reservation partners spread community cheer during the holiday season and ensure families can participate at a time when they may be experiencing more stress and disenfranchisement, PWNA offers holiday support such as community meals, Elder gifts and children's stockings. PWNA also offers an Easter service.

Population(s) Served
Non-adult children
Seniors

The physical environments that PWNA supports can be harsh. Reservations in PWNA's service area experience a range of environmental disasters including floods, forest fires, extreme winter storms, tornados and hurricanes. Some of our communities also experience acute or chronic contaminated-water emergencies. In addition to seasonal services such as winter fuel assistance, winter/summer emergency boxes and disaster relief, PWNA also supports emergency preparedness planning and training in tribal communities to better enable a local response when disaster strikes.

Population(s) Served
Seniors
Families

PWNA helps animal care programs motivate involvement in community service and supports programs concerned with animal welfare on the reservations. Supporting self-determination and requiring people to take part actively in community projects and services in order to receive PWNA materials and services adds to the success of community-based projects. Animal welfare and the problems created from overpopulated and stray animals are immense for communities, including disease, animal bites, rabies and other human health and safety concerns. Because of PWNA’s support, reservation programs are more equipped to rescue, rehabilitate and spay/neuter and vaccinate animals of the reservation; educate communities on proper care of animals; and enable animal groups to care for more animals. And healthier animals means healthier communities.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2019

Awards

Top-Rated Nonprofit 2021

Great Nonprofits

Approved charity 2021

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

American Indians

Related Program

EDUCATION (Related programs of PWNA: AIEF)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes K-12 students receiving literacy and school supplies, incentive items for after-school activities, and college students aided by scholarships, emergency funds and supplies such as laptops.

Number of people receiving health care screening or health education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples

Related Program

HEALTH (Related programs of PWNA: NPRA, SWRA, NAA, NRF, SNRF and SWIRC)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes partner-led screening/education for diabetes, blood pressure, TB, cancer, suicide prevention, obesity, parenting, natal care, behavioral health, home visits and community investment projects.

Number of people within the organization's service area accessing food aid

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples

Related Program

FOOD & WATER (Related programs of PWNA: NPRA, SWRA, NAA, NRF, SNRF and SWIRC)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes staple foods used by senior centers, food boxes used by food pantries, emergency food boxes, breakfast foods, bulk distributions, holiday meals, produce and gardens.

Number of people accessing emergency relief

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples

Related Program

EMERGENCY SERVICES (Related programs of PWNA: NPRA, SWRA, NAA, SNRF, NRF and SWIRC)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes disaster relief for pandemic and environmental emergencies, winter fuel, home repairs and weatherization for Elders, seasonal emergency boxes, and supplies for foster care and shelters.

Number of animals rescued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples

Related Program

ANIMAL WELFARE (Related programs of PWNA: RAR)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes food and pet supplies to aid animal welfare groups and foster families, as well as support for spay/neuter clinics and vaccinations in overpopulated reservation communities.

Number of people assisted with holiday relief packages

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples

Related Program

HOLIDAY (Related programs of PWNA: NPRA, SWRA, NAA, SNRF, NRF and SWIRC)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes holiday gift stockings filled with practical items to meet immediate needs, and incentives for children and families participating at Easter, spring and other community gatherings.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

PWNA focuses on remote, geographically-isolated and often impoverished Native American communities with limited employment opportunities or access to basic necessities. Our partnerships with reservation programs in hundreds of tribal communities across the Southwest and Northern Plains regions of the U.S. support positive change, enhance tribal programs and develop local leaders who can drive social change. This is the primary goal behind our vision, whether a reservation partner is focusing on immediate needs (such as nutrition, education or healthcare) or championing long-term, grassroots solutions.

OUR APPROACH:
PWNA recognizes that poverty is a social problem with a social solution. We are also aware of the difficult history of oppressive federal policies that have shaped many of the current difficult living conditions in remote reservation communities. This knowledge informs our programmatic approach, which is building upon assets within the communities we serve, bringing together individuals, programs, training, outside resources and encouragement to address challenges and support positive change.

Our community-driven model leverages the social capital of a larger network mobilizing toward a common solution. Local participation and engagement are known to lead to sustainable gains and social change for the communities and people involved. Whether we approach this through our Material Services or Long-Term Solutions, the key is developing and supporting momentum with many future leaders across many reservations and maintaining it over the long run. Collaborating with reservation partners, PWNA believes this approach will lead us toward our vision of strong, self-sufficient Native American communities. We look forward to the time when the communities with whom we work no longer require PWNA's support because they are accessing other resources, most of which come from within their communities.

HOW CHANGE HAPPENS:
Examples of how change happens at a community level as a result of our work with partners include situations such as:

• A student who receives our scholarship earns a college degree and is better equipped to serve their community.
• A thriving food bank that was needed and planned, but not yet established, received a start-up grant.
*A tribal community works with PWNA on emergency preparedness planning and training to better respond when disaster strikes.
*Professional cooks in tribal communities train with PWNA on healthy cooking and ancestral foods, and pass on the knowledge to others.

Over the next three to five years, PWNA's work entails training and empowering more tribal employees that are change agents and leaders in their communities, continuing to support higher education for American Indian students who are motivated to make a difference for their tribes, and continuing to identify and support high-impact efforts that lead to long-term solutions for the people we serve.

Each reservation PWNA serves has different goals and needs. PWNA employs four service strategies to ensure relevant and meaningful support for each community:

• MATERIAL SERVICES: Our Material Services address immediate needs for Northern Plains reservations, Southwest reservations, education and animal welfare. PWNA provides essential supplies and seasonal services that our Native community partners need to enhance their service to the community, for example, food that enables soup kitchens to provide more or better meals or enables food pantries to serve more people. Some of our community partners also use our goods as incentives to motivate participation, volunteerism, and retention in their programs, such as diapers and baby wipes (needed items) that encourage women to participate in prenatal care.

• HIGHER EDUCATION SERVICES: The purpose of Higher Education Services is to increase college access and support retention of Native American students in school. These services are one of our Long-Term Solutions for strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.

• CAPACITY BUILDING: The purpose of our Capacity Building services is to better equip reservation partners that want to make a greater contribution to their communities. We do this through: Four Directions (4D) leadership training of emerging leaders, mentoring and organized networking; Train-the-Trainer (T3) nutrition education to ensure professional cooks prepare healthy meals and can teach otehrs to do the same; and Emergency Preparedness planning with tribal communities to ensure an effective localized response when disaster strikes. Capacity Building helps motivated professionals at our partner agencies be more effective at work and have more impact on the people they serve.

• COMMUNITY INVESTMENT PROJECTS: These projects aim to positively impact the lives of tribal members and to deliver a sustainable gain for Native communities — thus the name “Community Investment Projects" (CIPs). PWNA supports and convenes community networks to address long-term concerns such as food sovereignty, nutrition-related health issues or youth development. We help bring together reservation needs and community-identified solutions with off-reservation resources. We also support community members leading grassroots projects in catalyzing local residents around the issues they want to address. The end goal is identifying, resourcing and implementing long-term, sustainable solutions in reservation communities. One example is supporting a food sovereignty initiative that started with garden tilling to help a reservation partner motivate local gardening and ultimately generate in interest in fresh produce, canning, a greenhouse and a farmer's market.

All these approaches support community leaders and change makers, while meeting immediate needs or supporting long-term solutions. We also raise awareness about challenging disparities and solutions in need of funding.

• CULTURAL COMPETENCY: PWNA has been working on the reservations for nearly 30 years. This has equipped us with extensive knowledge of the history, cultures and concerns of the Native American tribes and communities we serve.
• A STRONG NETWORK ON THE RESERVATIONS: Hundreds of reservation agencies partner with PWNA and keep us informed about needs and changes in Indian country. These are the people we must influence for our work to be successful, as they are the catalysts for change in reservation communities.
• THE PWNA WAY: At the core of our work, what distinguishes PWNA from other Native-serving charities is supporting the self-determined goals of our reservation partners. These partners identify the needs and solutions in their communities, and we involve them and local volunteers in the delivery of the service. This is a respectful way of working with Native communities.
• PROGRAM LOGIC MODEL & FEEDBACK LOOP: Partnership With Native Americans has a program model based on sound logic, partner input and monitored results. Our services involve specific guidelines and indicators that help us know we are delivering the right type of service to the right communities at the right time.
• COMMUNICATION TOOLS: Communication is an important part of moving our vision forward. In isolated reservation communities, communication is often a challenge due to limited infrastructure or access to Internet, stable phone lines and sometimes post offices. PWNA has a variety of ways to stay in touch with our partner agencies, ranging from focus groups, talking circles, town hall meetings, and site visits to newsletters, a resource site, a networking site, phoning, faxing and email messaging.
• INDUSTRY & PROFESSIONAL NETWORK: PWNA collaborates with other organizations such as the American Red Cross, FEMA, VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster), and food banks. By working together, we can do more and have more impact.
• DIVERSE & CONCERNED DONORS: Material donors such as Mathew 25, International Aid, and Feeding America give quality products such as school supplies, hygiene items, and winter coats, hats, and gloves that are used in PWNA services. We also receive monetary donations from foundations and about half a million individual donors concerned about conditions on the reservations.
• DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS: Strategically located distribution centers in SD and AZ give us affordable reach to 60 reservations, which otherwise have limited access to the goods and services we provide. Each distribution facility stocks an inventory of more than 700 types of products.
• HUMAN CAPITAL: Our staff is passionate about our mission, and all of our program staff has direct experience working in Indian country. Being knowledgeable of the issues, lands, culture, history, and tribal programs and processes supports strong partnerships and maximum impact for the communities we serve.

PWNA has been serving Indian Country for 30 years and evolved to a level of cultural competency and programming that allows us to impact hundreds of tribal communities year-round. Together with our tribal partners, we are improving quality of life for a quarter of a million Native Americans a year.

OUR MOST CRITICAL ACCOMPLISHMENT:
PWNA is empowering and developing community leaders who are in the best position to create long-term change and advocate for policy change for Indian country. PWNA cannot bring about the legal, government, healthcare, and tribal policy change required for our long-term vision, so we focus on the people who can – our reservation partners. Our effectiveness depends on their effectiveness and, on average, 90% of them report being better able to serve due to working with PWNA. That's a lot more local leaders who are better at creating change. This moves us toward our vision of strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.

OTHER THINGS PWNA IS DOING RIGHT:
• Involving the people we serve in the delivery of the service
• Challenging dependency and poverty through involvement
• Treating our community partners as customers, and listening to our customers to strengthen service and outcomes
• Ensuring the right infrastructure and gift-in-kind network to support our work
• Looking to industry experts for input about moving toward our vision

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR NATIVE PEOPLES TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE:
PWNA effectively supports tribal communities by:
• Responding to the need for new services, such as launching a formal capacity building program for personal and professional development of Native partners and emerging leaders, launching a nutrition train-the-trainer service to support a return to healthy, Indigenous diets, and launching an emergency preparedness service to help tribes better prepare for disasters.
Providing a range of support for long-term solutions related to food sovereignty, nutrition-related health issues and youth development via community members and collaborators tackling pressing problems.
• Providing diverse education services to support learning, motivation and retention of K-12 students and postsecondary students, including scholarships, school supplies and literacy, and incentives for after-school and early childhood learning.
• Providing reservation partners with materials they can use to enhance their programs. PWNA transports about 5 million pounds of goods annually for nutrition, health, education, holiday, animal welfare and emergency relief. These supplies help our partners boost participation in diabetes screenings, nutrition education, parenting classes, community projects and other critical services.

OUR NEXT STEP: In moving toward our vision, PWNA is continuing to empower reservation change agents and leaders by strengthening existing services, efficiencies and public education. Learn more about Partnership With Native Americans at www.nativepartnership.org.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) partners with tribal programs located in remote reservation communities that are impoverished and geographically isolated. We provide year-round goods and services for immediate relief, and our tribal program partners distribute these resources to those most in need and, together, we impact quality of life for 250,000 Native Americans each year. PWNA also supports long-term solutions through these tribal partners, including leadership development, emergency preparedness planning and training, community gardens, healthy cooking training, food preservation training and more. More than 90% of our tribal program partners say they are more effective in meeting their goals due to working with PWNA.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Monthly reports, open houses,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    During the pandemic of 2020, our community partners wanted to keep going with healthy nutrition training, so we transitioned the training to an online platform. As a result of client feedback, PWNA launched the Four Directions Development (4D) program, providing leadership training to emerging leaders in Native communities. In turn, the 4D program model was a good model for our train-the-trainer (T3) nutrition program, which we have now 'indigenized' for cultural relevance. We also launched a new emergency preparedness program, a need we learned about as a result of providing emergency response during disasters that displaced tribal citizens. Our Reservation Animal Rescue (RAR) program was also borne out of insights provided by Native community partners.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Some feedback provided by PWNA's tribal program partners flag grant opportunities. This influx of resources helps them get community-led projects off the ground or take them to the next level. For instance, we have partners who started with community gardens and evolved to providing food preservation capability or started a food pantry. In other cases, we've coalesced partners within a community to let them know there are shared concerns across programs. For instance, with emergency preparedness planning, we've been able to facilitate networking, support training that gets youth involved and connect our tribal program partners with outside resources who can help in case of emergency. These tribal partners and communities become more self-sufficient and strengthen community assets.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We have ongoing systems and our tribal partners are responsive. ,

Financials

Partnership With Native Americans
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Partnership With Native Americans

Board of directors
as of 8/19/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Christina Kahze, Chairman

Kazhe Law Group


Board co-chair

Jackie Blackbird, Vice Chairman

Nike, Global Diversity & Inclusion Team

Anne Marie Woessner-Collins

Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc

Nikki Pitre

American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC)

Kevin Diepholz

Retired business development professional

Raymond King

Nakoda-Aaniiih Credit Agency

Corey Mzhickteno

Retired military professional

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/5/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Native American/American Indian/Indigenous
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/08/2021

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.