In 2012, the Open Enrollment Subcommittee was established by the BSNC Board to assess the feasibility of opening the rolls to descendants of original shareholders. The BSNC Board of Directors continues to evaluate open enrollment for descendants of BSNC shareholders born after Dec. 18, 1971.
BSNC currently issues two classes of shares: Class A shares are held by at-large shareholders and are not associated with a village corporation in the region. Class B shares are held by shareholders also enrolled with a village corporation in the region. Open enrollment would create another class of shares, which would be issued to BSNC descendants.
BSNC descendants receive many of the same benefits as BSNC shareholders. Descendants are eligible to receive scholarships from the Bering Straits Foundation and qualified job applicants are eligible for the same hiring preference offered to BSNC shareholders. Descendants who meet academic qualifications are eligible to participate in BSNC’s Summer Internship Program. Staff has grown the summer internship program into a competitive professional development program with training workshops on leadership skills, public speaking, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, cultural awareness, policy issues that impact Alaska Native people, speed mentoring, professional writing, resume/HR tips and business structure.
Descendant use of BSNC’s lands for recreational and subsistence endeavors is allowed and encouraged. For any commercial activity Land Use Permits should be submitted to the BSNC Land and Resource Department. Please visit www.beringstraits.com/lands to learn more. In addition to these benefits, BSNC issues bereavement benefits provided to families to assist after the death of an original BSNC shareholder, spouse of an original BSNC shareholder, or lineal descendant of an original BSNC shareholder.
Opening the rolls can be expected to significantly increase the BSNC shareholder base, given the number of descendants born since Dec. 18, 1971. Should open enrollment be implemented, there is no guarantee that BSNC could financially perform to meet the dividend expectations of BSNC’s current shareholder base. BSNC currently has approximately 7,300 Alaska Native shareholders. The Company does not have an estimate on how many descendants would be eligible to enroll.
The Open Enrollment Subcommittee has asked staff and management to reach out to 500 current shareholders at random, through a formal, unbiased survey, to determine their interest in opening enrollment. The survey will also help inform the Corporation of the possible number of new shareholders and the cost of open enrollment to the Corporation and its long-term effect on current shareholder equity.
Should you have any questions, comments, or feedback regarding the survey, please email Miriam.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (907) 334-8341.