Hearts & Minds - Information for ChangeSM

Volunteer and Intern Introduction and Agreement

Thank you for volunteering with us. Your involvement with Hearts & MindsSM can help us to provide useful, potentially life saving information to millions of people worldwide. In return, we will provide you with a rewarding and fulfilling experience for your future career development.

The purpose of this document is to explain our policies, which are designed to protect you, other volunteers and employees, the Organization and the public. It sets forth very important policies, responsibilities and commitments for you with Hearts & Minds. Please read it carefully.

Unless otherwise specified, all our policies described in this document and elsewhere apply to all our volunteers, outside contractors and employees (collectively referred to as "staff" below). These policies apply to anyone associated with us on a temporary, part time or full time basis.

Hearts & Minds refers to Hearts & Minds Network, Inc. (herein also referred to as the Organization). Your volunteering and/or paid employment here are also collectively referred to as "your work here".

The "workplace" referred to below is anywhere Hearts & Minds conducts its work, whether in our main office or elsewhere. This includes all work you do for us individually or with others, at home or any other location. Of course, you act under your own personal responsibilities and freedom when not in Hearts & Minds offices, if you are not involved in activities that can affect Hearts & Minds.

Please read this carefully, feel free to ask questions and share your comments.
If you're reading a printed copy, feel free to write in red pen any comments, suggestions or questions directly on this document. Hearts & Minds is not necessarily agreeing to your comments, though we'll be happy to consider your ideas. Place your first name, last initial and today's date next to any comments or questions you write below, so we can follow up with our further questions or suggestions.

The paper copies in our office with people's signatures or comments are Master Copies that stay in the office at all times. If you would like a copy to borrow or keep, please let us know and we will print one out for you. The latest version of this document is online at www.change.net/agree.htm

Hearts & Minds' Work Environment
Hearts & Minds welcomes and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to volunteer with us. We encourage an open working environment where our volunteers feel comfortable and secure.

We work to ensure that your experience here is valuable, fulfilling and motivational. Please tell us if you ever feel that this is not the case.

If anyone in the office, at any time, has acted in a way you consider inappropriate, do not hesitate to tell us so that we can correct the situation as quickly as possible. A private conversation will be readily available if you prefer that.

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 call or text his cell anytime: 1-917-428-1061.

If you are ever uncomfortable speaking with Bill about any issue, you are also welcome to contact Dave Peterson, Katie Lusk or Matthew Basirico, members of our Governing Board:

  • Katie can be reached by phone at 646-596-1142 or email: dms91345 at* yahoo.com
  • Dave can be reached in his office: 202-378-9520 or at home: 301-685-3724
  • Matt can can be reached by phone at 646-596-1142 or email: matthew.basirico at* gmail.com
    *Of course, replace "at" and its extra, blank spaces with the @ sign.

All such issues will be treated as confidential by all of the individuals listed above.

An Equal Opportunity Employer
Hearts & Minds is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, in accordance with Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964. We also do not discriminate in employment against any person on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, disability, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic predisposition or carrier status, on the basis of prior arrest or conviction record, or military status, in accordance with New York Human Rights Law Article 15, Executive Law 290, et al. Conviction of a crime will not necessarily disqualify you from the job for which you are applying. Each conviction or plea will be considered with respect to time, job-relatedness and other relevant factors.

Hearts & Minds does reserve the right not to work with some volunteers or employees who are currently on trial or who were convicted of violent crimes, grand larceny or other major legal charges. In such cases, we will make a reasonable effort to help you find opportunities elsewhere, if you request this help from us.

Volunteers' Trial Period
For our volunteers, Hearts & Minds has a three-month trial period. Please note that Hearts & Minds always reserves the right to not accept or to discontinue working with any volunteer. All volunteers, of course, also are free to discontinue at any time. Advance notice is appreciated.

Non-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy
Hearts & Minds is committed to providing its employees with a work environment that is free of unlawful discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of any legally protected status. Accordingly, Hearts & Minds prohibits sexual, racial and other harassment against any employee by anyone, including co-workers, supervisors, partners, officers, directors, agents, and even casual visitors or telephone callers to our office. This includes third parties who do business with Hearts & Minds, such as clients, vendors and service providers.

Everyone at Hearts & Minds is responsible for assuring that our workplace is free from prohibited harassment and is expected to avoid any behavior or conduct that could reasonably be interpreted as prohibited harassment.

Prohibited Conduct
The conduct prohibited by this policy includes unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical or visual, that is based upon the individual's protected status, such as gender, race, religion, national origin, sexual identity, age, disability, marital, veteran or other protected status. It also prohibits harassment on the basis of the protected status of an individual's relatives, friends or associates. Harassment is prohibited at our offices and while employees are conducting business offsite.

Any dishonest behavior can be grounds for dismissal. This includes stealing from the organization, inappropriate behavior towards others at Hearts & Minds or anyone who is in contact with us. This also includes acting in any way that harms the organization or its ability to serve the public.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a problem that deserves special mention. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or visual conduct based on sex constitutes sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct becomes an implicit or explicit term or condition of employment, (2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for any employment decision, or (3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Hearts & Minds also prohibits any form of sexual harassment of its volunteers.

Sexual harassment is not limited to explicit demands for sexual favors. It can include unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether directed toward a person of the opposite or same sex, and also may include pervasive or severe sexually oriented language or graphics or offensive physical contact. Where no tangible job action has occurred, this conduct can be unlawful only if it is both unwelcome and either severe or pervasive. Nonetheless, Hearts & Minds prohibits any such conduct in the workplace, regardless of the circumstances.

All staff at Hearts & Minds are responsible to help ensure that we avoid harassment.

If you feel you have experienced or witnessed any conduct that you feel may be inconsistent with this policy, you are to immediately notify our president, Bill Blackman. If he is not available, notify one of the others listed above. Each staff person also is expected to inform any person in the workplace whose conduct the employee finds unwelcome or offensive.

All reports describing conduct that is inconsistent with this policy will be promptly and thoroughly investigated, regardless of whether the complainant desires to refrain from taking any further action. Each staff member is expected to cooperate fully in any investigation.

If an investigation confirms that a violation of this policy has occurred, Hearts & Minds will take corrective action, including discipline, up to and including dismissal, as is appropriate under the circumstances. Hearts & Minds may discipline a staff person for any inappropriate conduct discovered in investigating reports made under this policy, regardless of whether the conduct amounts to a violation of law or even a violation of this policy.

In the event of harassment by an individual who is not employed by Hearts & Minds, Hearts & Minds will take whatever corrective action is reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances.

Hearts & Minds recognizes that the question of whether a particular action or incident is part of a purely personal, social relationship without a discriminatory employment effect requires a factual determination based on all facts and circumstances.

Hearts & Minds recognizes also that false accusations of harassment can have serious effects on innocent individuals. Therefore, all staff are expected to act truthfully and professionally. To that effect, staff members should not make false allegations or otherwise act in bad faith.

We trust that all staff at Hearts & Minds will continue to act responsibly to establish and maintain a pleasant working environment for all, free of harassment.

Hearts & Minds forbids retaliation against anyone for reporting harassment, registering a complaint pursuant to this policy, assisting in making a harassment complaint, or cooperating in a harassment investigation. Anyone experiencing or witnessing any conduct they believe to be retaliatory is to immediately follow the notification procedures outlined above.

Confidential, Proprietary and Private Information
You understand that you have a legal and ethical responsibility to safeguard the privacy and to protect the confidentiality of certain confidential and proprietary information of the Organization. To that end, Hearts & Minds requires that all volunteers and employees agree to the following:

You understand that as a staff person of the Organization, you will from time to time have access to "Confidential or Proprietary Information" (defined below). You also understand that during the course and scope of your employment/volunteering at the Organization, you may learn certain "Private Information" (as defined below) relating to Organization employees, volunteers, customers and matters.

You understand that your employment/volunteering with the Organization creates a relationship of confidence and trust between you and the Organization with respect to Confidential or Proprietary Information.

"Confidential or Proprietary Information" means any information of a confidential or secret nature that may be learned or developed by you during your employment/volunteering and which:

(a) relates to the business of the Organization or any affiliate of the Organization or to the business of any customer or client of the Organization, or any other party that has done business or intends to do business with the Organization or any affiliate, or

(b) has been created, discovered or developed by, or has otherwise become known to, the Organization or any affiliate and is used by the Organization or any affiliate in the conduct of its business.

By way of illustration, Confidential or Proprietary Information includes but is not limited to trade secrets, ideas, writings, due diligence information, cost and pricing information concerning materials, goods or services paid for or provided by the Organization, existing and prospective clients, customers or members. This can also include methods, processes, formulas, computer or other programs, graphic designs or videos, data, policies, procedures, manuals and the like, which may or may not rise to the level of a trade secret and/or may or may not be patented or copyrighted information, in each case involving the Organization or any affiliate.

You understand that such Confidential or Proprietary Information has been and will continue to be created or established as a result of substantial efforts and expenditures on the part of the Organization, and that it is not and will not be in the public domain.

All Confidential or Proprietary Information shall be the sole property of the Organization and its assigns. You hereby assign to the Organization any rights you may have or acquire in all Confidential or Proprietary Information.

At all times, both during your work here and after termination of your services, for any reason, you will keep in confidence and trust all Confidential or Proprietary Information or anything relating thereto. 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 further agree, in the event that your employment/volunteering at the Organization is terminated, for any reason, to turn over to the Organization all copies in your possession, custody, or control of all Confidential or Proprietary Information, in whatever physical form maintained (e.g. typewritten, handwritten, magnetic, audio, video, tape recorded, saved on diskette, CD, etc.) containing, reflecting or otherwise relating in any way to the Confidential or Proprietary Information. Your obligations under this Paragraph will continue beyond the termination of your employment/volunteering relationship with the Organization.

Private Information means information that relates to Organization employees/volunteers or any affiliate, and includes, but is not limited to, the following: medical records; benefit information; personnel files and their contents (including addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other contact information (except as needed within the Organization), social security and other ID numbers and anything else in applications, references, memoranda, personnel action forms, performance appraisals, etc.); salary and payroll records and reports; disciplinary reports; income, compensation and pension and welfare plan arrangements; business perquisites and expenditures; personal relationships; employment agreements; severance agreements; expense reports; position analyses; salary grade and ranges; offer letters; credit/criminal checks; employment requisitions and like information.

At all times, both during the period of time you are employed/volunteering with the Organization and after the termination of your employment/volunteering, for any reason you will keep in confidence and trust all Private Information or anything related thereto. You understand that your contact information, including but not limited to phone numbers and email addresses may be shared with other volunteers and employees of Hearts & Minds. You agree not to use this contact information with anyone not actively working at Hearts & Minds without the specific written permission of Hearts & Minds. You will fully erase any copies of this information as soon as you discontinue working with Hearts & Minds.

You will not disclose to any third party and will not publish or submit for publication any Private Information. In the event of the termination of your employment/volunteering, for any reason, you will promptly deliver to the Organization all materials, documents and data (including all copies thereof) of any nature containing Private Information and you will not take any such material, documents or data or any reproduction thereof. Your obligations in this agreement will continue beyond the termination of your employment/volunteering relationship with the Organization.

You agree only to access or use systems and devices that you are officially authorized to access and will not demonstrate the operation or function of systems or devices to unauthorized individuals. You agree only to transmit "Confidential", "Proprietary" and/or "Private" information to authorized entities in accordance with approved security standards. In addition, you agree to never: share or disclose IDs or passwords, use tools or techniques to break/exploit security measures, connect to unauthorized networks through the systems or devices of Hearts & Minds, or install any programs or unauthorized software.

Intellectual Property
You agree that all words and ideas you share at or for Hearts & Minds become the sole property of Hearts & Minds, This includes inventions, improvements, original works of authorship, formulas, processes, computer programs, techniques, know-how and data, whether or not it could be patented, copyrighted or protected as trade secrets, made or conceived or first reduced to practice, learned or created by you, either alone or in conjunction with others, during the period of time you are employed/volunteer with the Organization and which result from work performed by you for the Organization (hereinafter collectively called "Inventions"), will be the sole and exclusive property of the Organization and its assigns, and the Organization and its assigns will have the right to use and/or apply for patents, copyrights or other statutory or common law protections for such inventions in any and all countries. To that end, if it is part of your responsibilities at Hearts & Minds, you will execute all documents necessary to apply for and obtain such patents, copyrights and other statutory or common law protections and enforce the same, as the Organization may desire, together with any assignments thereof to the Organization or to persons designated by the Organization. Your obligations under this Paragraph will continue beyond the termination of your employment/volunteering relationship with the Organization. Once it has been published and is no longer confidential, you can show copies of what you worked on in your personal portfolio without specific permission from Hearts & Minds.

As an important specific example: Any strategic planning, ideas, writing or graphic design that you create at or for Hearts & Minds are the sole property of the Organization and its assigns in all media now or in the future. You do not retain any ownership or control of these works or ideas.

You agree that these intellectual property considerations will always apply unless another specific arrangement is made in writing by an authorized representative of Hearts & Minds.

You do not need specific, written authorization to retain the copyright on artworks you independently create outside of Hearts & Minds such as creative writing, paintings and photography. These may remain your intellectual property. If you allow Hearts & Minds to use these, you agree that Hearts & Minds can forever continue to use them in any media in any way that helps the organization or its public service mission. You remain the owner of the work and can continue to sell and publish your original works elsewhere.

Non-compete agreement
You agree that you will not for a period of twenty-four (24) months immediately following the termination of your volunteering or employment with the Organization for any reason, whether with or without cause, either directly or indirectly:

(a) induce or attempt to induce or hire or otherwise counsel, advise, encourage or solicit any person to leave the employment of the Organization (or any affiliate or successor thereof),

(b) hire or in any manner employ or retain the services of any individual employed by the Organization (or any affiliate or successor thereof) as of the date of such termination, or employed by the Organization, subsequent to such termination,

(c) solicit business from any client of the Organization (or any affiliate or successor thereof) as of the date of termination,

(d) induce or attempt to induce or otherwise counsel, advise, encourage or solicit, any client of the Organization (or any affiliate or successor thereof), as of the date of termination, to terminate or in any way diminish its relationship with the Organization (or any affiliate or successor thereof) or

(e) divert such relationship for your personal benefit or to such Organization or other person or entity with whom you may then be employed or otherwise associated.

Reasonable protection of the Organization's reputation
At all times, both during your employment and after termination, you will refrain from making any remarks disparaging the conduct or character of the Organization or any of its parents, subsidiaries, directors, managers, officers, executives, employees, members, stakeholders, affiliates, and their successors or assigns. This paragraph applies only to paid employees of the Organization.

Overall conduct under this Agreement
You understand that your breach of this Agreement will cause the Organization irreparable harm that will not adequately be compensated by money damages. Accordingly, in the event of a breach or threatened breach of this Agreement by you, you agree that the Organization will be entitled to immediately seek and obtain a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunction against such acts of breach (in each case without posting any bond) in addition to all other remedies available to the Organization. You also agree to:

(i) fully indemnify the Organization from any claims or damages resulting from your breach of this Agreement, and

(ii) reimburse 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 further that no actual or alleged breach by the Organization of any sort shall excuse compliance by you in full with the provisions of this Agreement.

Drug-Free Workplace
Hearts & Minds prohibits the illegal use of drugs and also the use of alcohol at the workplace and prohibits employees and volunteers from acting under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at the workplace or while conducting Hearts & Minds business. Employees and volunteers who violate this policy will be subject to appropriate corrective action, which may include counseling, demotion, suspension or dismissal. Illegal use of drugs refers both to the use of unlawful drugs and to the unlawful use of prescription drugs. Prohibited conduct includes the manufacture, distribution, selling, dispensation, possession and use of a controlled substance or alcohol at the workplace.

Employees and volunteers who use drugs illegally outside the workplace may also be subject to such corrective actions following a review of the relevant circumstances. (Individuals disabled by alcoholism, and who are not using alcohol at the workplace or working under the influence of alcohol, will be entitled to the protection generally afforded disabled individuals under the law.)

All Hearts & Minds employees and volunteers are expected to cooperate fully in any investigation by Hearts & Minds of substance or alcohol abuse, and failure to cooperate may itself be grounds for such corrective action.

No Smoking Policy
In the interest of providing a safe and healthy environment for its employees, clients, and visitors, and in compliance with the law governing its New York City offices, Hearts & Minds does not permit smoking in any of its offices at any time.

Complaints concerning violations of this policy should first be directed to the offending individual's manager. If the violation is repeated, it should be brought to the attention of the offending employee's or volunteer's department head for further action. It is the responsibility of the department head to enforce the smoking policy. Repeated violation of Hearts & Minds policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Political Activity
Hearts & Minds encourages all employees and volunteers to become involved in off-duty political activity.

However, employees and volunteers participating in political activity are prohibited from using Hearts & Minds' name or Hearts & Minds' position in connection with any political or commercial activity, except as specifically authorized by Hearts & Minds. Employees and volunteers are also prohibited from using Hearts & Minds' properties, operations, supplies, stationery, equipment, office space, or other services for the furtherance of any political or commercial activity not specifically authorized by Hearts & Minds.

Solicitation, Distribution of Literature
In the interest of maintaining an appropriate business environment and preventing interference with Hearts & Minds' operations, employees and volunteers may not distribute literature or printed materials of any kind, sell merchandise, solicit financial contributions, or solicit for any other cause during working time, except of course official products of Hearts & Minds itself.

Volunteers and employees who are not on working time (e.g., those on lunch hour or breaks) may not solicit volunteers who are on working time for any cause or distribute to them literature of any kind. Furthermore, volunteers may not at any time distribute literature or printed material of any kind in working areas.

Non-volunteers and non-employees are prohibited from distributing materials or soliciting employees or volunteers on Hearts & Minds' premises at any time.

Help for You
To show you that we appreciate what you do for us, we provide help with your resume, cover letter and more. You may be paid back for some expenses, if we OK this in advance and you have receipts.

If there are any forms you need our management to fill out for your volunteering or internship, please let him know.

We also try to have brainstorming sessions and meetings regularly on marketing, communications, non-profit, business, office management and other topics. If you miss a particular talk or would like to learn more about the topic, just ask.

What You Will Be Doing
At Hearts & Minds, you will be working on many exciting and innovative projects. Your participation in these projects will give you the opportunity to develop skills in your choice of marketing, communications, journalism, computers, the Internet, graphic design, the arts, writing, office management, law, accounting, nonprofit, business and other fields.

You may be asked to do some clerical work crucial to the day-to-day operations of Hearts & Minds. You are also encouraged to participate in a wide range of activities that are essential to the organization's success. For instance, you will get to participate in brainstorming sessions and meetings where your input on our strategic planning will be greatly appreciated. You also will have opportunities to comment on some of our most important documents and written strategic plans.

You will not only gain and sharpen vital professional skills, you also will be encouraged to think independently and to collaborate in building Hearts & Minds. Your suggestions are always welcome.

Your Activities Here
We have a wide range of activities to choose from: Working Groups.

Your Schedule
Once you've decided to volunteer with Hearts & Minds, it's helpful to have a regular schedule so we can even out the number of people in the office, know when to expect you, and plan interesting and productive activities for each visit. You can choose from a wide range of times, kept on-line at www.change.net/volunteer.htm.

Our president and managers are available to answer questions every hour on the hour (10:00, 11:00, etc.). In between these times, if you can proceed with other projects and activities, please do. If you need an answer before you can make effective use of your time, feel free to ask at other times.

Work with other volunteers to coordinate your activities, when practical, so you do not have to go directly through the president. This policy provides several advantages. It frees the president to do his additional tasks, too. It provides you additional experience in management and working with a team. The entire office can run more efficiently toward our goal of providing helpful information to millions of people.

If you know anyone who would be a good volunteer for Hearts & Minds, please let us know. The more the merrier.

Your help can enable Hearts & Minds to reach and help more and more people. Thank you.

NOTE: Volunteers and interns under 18 years of age must also provide a signed copy of this Agreement from their parent or legal guardian. Working papers are also legally required.

Applicable Laws and Jurisdiction
This Agreement will be construed in accordance with and governed by the laws of the New York City, the State of New York and the United States of America without reference to the conflicts of law principles thereof.

You hereby consent to 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 brought by the Organization and arising out of or relating to this Agreement and the enforcement hereof. You further agree that service of any process, summons, notice or document by U.S. registered mail to its last known address (or any mode of service recognized to be effective by applicable law) will be effective service of process for any action, suit or proceeding brought against it in any such court.

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. Any provision so prohibited or rendered invalid, in whole or in part, is deemed modified or severed, as the case may be, to the extent necessary to make the provision enforceable. Such provision will be ineffective and severed only to the extent of such prohibition or invalidity, without invalidating the remainder of such provision or the remaining provisions of this Agreement.

I HEREBY AFFIRM that I have read carefully this Agreement prior to its execution. I had an opportunity to have all of my questions answered completely and to fully consider this Agreement. I completely understand and fully agree to the contents thereof.

I am at least 18 years of age and have the legal right and authority to contract for this Agreement for myself and any minors named herein. I hereby release Hearts and Minds Network, Inc. from any claim or liability whatsoever in connection with our participation in any activities with Hearts & Minds, the use of artwork, film and other intellectual property created while working with Hearts & Minds.

Please print and sign your full name. Only one signature required per person, extra lines are for others who may also sign this form:

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This web page and entire website Copyright: 1997 - 2015 by Hearts and Minds Network, Inc. http://www.heartsandminds.org/agree.htm - online May 6, 2005, latest text changes September 5, 2014

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