For our volunteers and interns

1. Introduction

Thank you for your interest in helping!

Your involvement with Hearts  and Minds (“the Organization,” “we”) can provide you (“the Volunteer,” “you”) with a rewarding and fulfilling experience, enabling you to develop your skills and to enhance career options, while also helping others in need.

You will always have the option to discontinue volunteering, though we ask for reasonable notice. This full Agreement between you and us pertains to your volunteer activities with the Organization. For you, this Agreement includes family members, minors, heirs, successors and assigns. As it pertains to the Organization, this Agreement includes any affiliate, successor, chapter, officer, trustee, director, agent, contractor, employee and volunteer.

2. Volunteer qualifications and activities

We welcome people of all backgrounds. We hope that each volunteer has an experience that is valuable, fulfilling, and motivational. Volunteers under 18 need signed permission from a parent or guardian. We do not accept volunteers under 16.

You may work on projects in one area or several areas. This may include, but is not limited to participating in brainstorming sessions and strategic meetings, providing input on various documents and written strategic plans, and other working group activities.

When possible, please keep us informed of your regular schedule. Knowing when to expect volunteers helps us to manage, plan and prepare interesting and productive activities. Our office hours are listed in our volunteer intro.

In consideration for the services provided by you, the Organization may provide opportunities to gain and sharpen professional skills and other benefits to you.

The Organization reserves the right to decline an application to volunteer or to discontinue working with you at any time, for any reason, as long as it is not an unlawful reason. You may discontinue volunteering with us at any time.

You state that you have never been charged with any larcenies or any crimes of a sexual or violent nature, or you will speak directly to our President or Board Chairperson about any exceptions.

We reserve the right to conduct a background check at any time as a condition of your beginning or continuing to volunteer. We will notify you before performing any background check.

3. General policies and rules

The Organization has policies and rules of conduct to encourage efficient and effective operations, protect volunteers, the Organization and the public. We reserve the right to determine and change these policies at any time for any reason. If we change our policies, we will make reasonable efforts to notify you of the changes.

Substance Use: The Organization prohibits the use of illegal or mind-altering drugs and alcohol at the workplace and prohibits volunteers from conducting work under the influence of any such drugs or alcohol.

Smoking: The Organization prohibits smoking anywhere inside its building, in accordance with New York City law and its interest in providing a safe and healthy environment.

Political and Commercial Activity: Our nonprofit organization is legally required to be nonpartisan. While we encourage volunteers to promote their own viewpoints and be involved in off-duty political activity, volunteers are prohibited from using the Organization’s name in connection with any political or commercial activity, except as specifically authorized in writing by the President or Governing Board Chairperson.

The Organization also prohibits volunteers from using any of the Organization’s property, operations, supplies, stationery, equipment, or office space for the furtherance of any Political or Commercial Activity not specifically authorized.

Solicitation: Volunteers are prohibited from distributing literature or any other printed materials of any kind, selling merchandise, soliciting financial contributions, or soliciting for any other cause at the workplace, whether or not during scheduled hours, except in carrying out the official business of the Organization.

Discrimination and Harassment: The Organization prohibits any unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical, or visual, based upon an individual’s gender or gender expression, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital, veteran, or any other protected status. Harassment and bullying of any kind are strictly prohibited.

Sexual Harassment: The Organization prohibits any form of sexual harassment, regardless of the circumstances.

Reporting Violations: If you have experienced or witnessed any conduct that may be in violation of this policy, you are to immediately notify our president, Bill Blackman. You can also notify Governing Board members. Their contact info is in Section 11, below.

Retaliations: The Organization forbids retaliating against anyone for participating in a complaint to our President or Governing Board about any harassment, illegal, unethical or inefficient activities.

We encourage – and pledge to seriously consider – any reasonable suggestions on how the Organization can better serve its volunteers, employees and the public.

Additional policies: You understand and agree that your contact information, including, but not limited to, phone numbers and email addresses may be shared with other Staff.

4. Important restrictions: community service hours

We are committed to serving as much of the volunteer community as possible, but our involvement with youth-related projects and our location in a shared building require that we impose certain conditions to be accepted as volunteer in the Organization.

We do not accept volunteers who have been charged or convicted of any felonies or any form of theft within the past ten years, or who have ever been charged or convicted of any of the following types of offenses:

  1. fraud
  2. financial and/or economic crimes
  3. sexual harassment and/or any crime of a sexual nature
  4. any crime involving actual violence or the threat of violence

If this applies to you, you must inform the Organization’s President or legal manager in advance. We will try to help you find volunteering opportunities elsewhere. Such conversations are kept confidential.

By signing this Agreement, you are officially asserting that you have reported all charges and convictions listed as relevant by this Agreement, even if your current volunteering is not court-required. Failure to disclose the charges and convictions relevant to this Agreement may result in notification to the judge presiding over your case.

If you will be doing community service hours, please refer to the Court-Related Community Service Agreement for further information.

5. Use of computers and other equipment

You will only access or use systems, devices, and accounts of the Organization that you are officially authorized to access. You will not reveal or demonstrate the operation or function of these systems, devices, and accounts to unauthorized persons.

Volunteers are prohibited from sharing or disclosing computer IDs or passwords, breaking or otherwise exploiting the Organization’s security measures, connecting to unauthorized networks, or installing any unauthorized programs or software. No software, documents or computer files may be copied or printed without specific permission.

Personal use or downloading, uploading or posting of any content without authorization, or viewing/posting/sharing of pornography or any other problematic type of content is prohibited.

Any type of instant messaging or online chatting is prohibited. You will not transmit potentially critical or derogatory statements regarding individual employees, customers, vendors, or business partners. This prohibition includes statements in performance evaluations, human resource investigation materials, and complaints.

Constructive internal feedback on how we can improve is encouraged.

6. Confidential and proprietary information

Confidential or proprietary information means any information of a sensitive, personal, valuable, or secret nature that may be learned or developed by you during the course of your volunteer relationship, and which relates to the business of the Organization or has been created, discovered, or developed by, or has otherwise become known to, the Organization and is used by us in the conduct of our business.

Confidential Information includes private information that relates to those who are or were considered to be staff or potential staff of the Organization.

You acknowledge that volunteering with us creates a relationship of confidence and trust between you and us. Therefore, both during your work with the Organization and after termination of your services, you will not disclose to any third party and will not publish or submit for publication any confidential or proprietary information without the prior written consent of the Organization.

You agree that all Confidential or Proprietary Information that you create in connection with services rendered to the Organization will be the sole property of the Organization. You agree to permanently assign any and all rights in such information to the Organization.

In the event that a volunteering relationship with the Organization is terminated for any reason, you will promptly deliver to the Organization all copies of all confidential or proprietary information in your possession or control, in whatever physical forms maintained (e.g., handwritten, magnetic, audio, video, etc).

7. Use and ownership of intellectual property

Intellectual Property: Organization’s Rights
Unless otherwise stated in writing from the President or Board Chairman, all materials written, designed, or otherwise created by you for the Organization will be the intellectual property of the Organization. You can show your contribution in your portfolio. 

You retain your copyright for material you already created before volunteering with the Organization, but give us full rights of usage for any material you offer to the Organization for its use.

By posting user content on our website (i.e., content that is accessible to any person who visits the Organization’s website) or otherwise providing user content to the Organization, you automatically grant to the Organization an irrevocable, royalty-free, perpetual, fully-paid, exclusive, assignable copyright and license to: (i) use, copy, modify, publish, translate, communicate to the public, display, and distribute the user content provided by you in whole or in part as well as grant and authorize sublicenses thereof; and (ii) prepare derivative works of, and/or incorporate user content provided by you into other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed.

You permit any user to access, display, view, store, and reproduce for personal use any user content submitted by you. You warrant that none of the user content will be subject to any obligation of confidentiality by the Organization and we will not be liable for any use or disclosure of any user content.

Intellectual Property: Third-Party Rights
You are solely responsible for confirming the source of user content that you provide to the Organization. Therefore, you must confirm the source of the content, comments, suggestions, messages, audio, video, photos, text, images, compilations, or other information that you post on the website or transmit to other users. You represent and warrant that you have the right to use the content, or that the holder of any rights in the user content has completely and effectively waived all such rights, or has validly and irrevocably granted to you and us the right to use such content.

You agree to indemnify the Organization from any third-party claims that may arise as a result of your unauthorized use of protected intellectual property, including plagiarizing protected intellectual property. You will indemnify and reimburse the Organization for any losses suffered by us resulting from your unauthorized use of protected intellectual property and any costs, including attorneys’ fees, arising from your unauthorized use of protected intellectual property.

Intellectual Property: Volunteer’s Rights
With only the exceptions described above, you agree that all words and ideas shared at or for the Organization become the sole property of the Organization. The Organization automatically retains an irrevocable, exclusive, and worldwide copyright on all words and ideas shared by you at or for the Organization.

8. Non-compete

Except where specifically authorized by us, you agree not to use any information internal at the Organization to benefit any other organization, especially those who can reasonably be seen as a competitor with us. You will also continue to respect and protect the reputation of the Organization and its participants.

9. Indemnification

You agree to indemnify the Organization against any claims by third parties arising from your breach of this Agreement, including reimbursing the Organization for all reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs arising from the administration of this Agreement and/or enforcement by the Organization of its rights under this entire Agreement or any part thereof.

You acknowledge and agree that no actual or alleged breach of the Agreement by the Organization shall excuse your full compliance with the provisions of this Agreement.

10. Release

You release the Organization and its officers, employees, agents, and volunteers from any responsibility or liability for personal injury, including death, damage to or loss of personal property, that you may incur due to anything other than gross negligence by the Organization or its officers, employees, agents, volunteers, and others associated with the Organization while you are engaging in, or traveling to or from, activities pursuant to this Agreement.

For any difficulties you experience with the Organization, you agree to make every reasonable effort to resolve them within the Organization. If you are not satisfied with that, you agree to conflict resolution with an outside agent chosen by the Organization. You will only seek remedy in litigation if it can be reasonably considered that the above methods turned out grossly unfair to you.

11. Your feedback and concerns welcome

If there is any way we can improve the organization or if you are ever unhappy with anything or anyone in our work environment, our president Bill Blackman is always available to talk about anything and everything. You can email him, call or text him by cell anytime at either: 1-917-428-1061, or for quicker response: 1-212-280-0333.

If you are ever uncomfortable speaking with Bill about any issue, you are also welcome to contact members of our Governing Board:

  • Katie Lusk can be reached by phone: 646-596-1142 or by email.
  • Dave Peterson can be reached in his office: 202-378-9520 or at home: 301-685-3724 or by email.

All such issues will be treated as confidential by all of the individuals listed above. Back to Section 3 of this Agreement.

12. Applicable laws and jurisdiction

This Agreement will be construed in accordance with and governed by the laws of New York City, the State of New York, and the United States of America.

You submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of New York County of the State of New York and of the United States of America located in the Southern District of New York for any actions, suits, or proceedings involving the Organization and arising out of or relating to this Agreement and the enforcement hereof.

13. Provisions

If any one or more provisions in this Agreement may be prohibited by or invalid under applicable law, such prohibition or invalidity will not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this Agreement.

14. Remedies

The organization reserves the right to pursue available remedies at law for any breach of this Agreement, including damages.

15. Entire agreement

This Agreement sets forth the entire agreement and understanding between you and Organization in regard to the subject matter hereof, and it supersedes all prior oral and written agreements and understandings between the parties relating to this Agreement. It cannot be changed except in writing from the President or Board Chairman.

I hereby affirm that I have: (i) read carefully this entire Agreement and (ii) had all of my questions answered completely. I understand and fully agree to the contents herein. I sign of my own free will, and am not under the influence of any alcohol, medicine, drugs, or narcotics.

I am either (a) at least 18 years of age and have the legal right and authority to enter this Policy Agreement for myself, or (b) my parent or legal guardian has also signed below authorizing my execution of this Policy Agreement.

If you are in our office, you’ll be asked to please print and sign your full, legal name once on the same line below. If applicable, please have your parent or legal guardian print and sign their full, legal name below on your behalf on a second line below.

Date: ____/____/202__  __________________________________________
Date: ____/____/202__  __________________________________________
If you prefer, we will explain how you can confirm agreement by email instead.

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