Common Ground Board of Directors- Minutes Nov. 2017

Board of Directors Meeting November 20, 2017 

Present: Melissa Spear, Wendy Battles, Michael Doolittle, Bob Parker, Claudia Merson, Frank Mitchell, Beth Klingher

Staff: Elena Augusewicz, Joel Tolman, Kimball Cartwright, Liz Cox

Regrets: Babz Rawls Ivy, Betsy Sneath, Monique Frasier,

Guests: Cornell Wright

Public Participation: N/A

Wendy Called the Meeting to Order at 5:35

Business Requiring Approval:

Bob Parker moved to approve the Oct. 23, 2017 meeting notes. Beth Klingher seconds

City of New Haven (Site Lease- CGHS $12,000; NHEP $8,000)
Mike Doolittle moved to approve, Claudia Merson Seconds

Organizational Updates:

Kimball is planning to make a restructured plan for the Development Team. He will bring the proposal to next board meeting.

Strategic Issues:

Regarding the By-Laws Amendment Proposal about expenditures over $5000.00

  • Melissa has reviewed our bylaws, they already state that the Executive committee can take action between board meetings. The Board can also give the finance committee the authority to approve expenditures as long as it’s brought to the following board meeting

The Board agreed that the By-laws do not need an amendment at this time.

Giving Tuesday

Kimball explained that we do not have a guaranteed match. Instead, we are competing for prizes through the Newman’s Own Foundation. We want to concentrate on fundraising the most on the day-of Nov. 28. We start accepting donations tomorrow (Nov. 21). We are hoping to have a “You Warm our Hearts” event on Jan 20th as a thank you and to engage new donors.

Melissa would like to encourage every board member to sign up for our Giving Tuesday Team, most of the sign ups have been staff.

Board Development

Bob passed out the board term and cycling chart for review. The year is from September to June instead of a typical fiscal year. For those who have been on the board for multiples years, Bob is asking that board members reach out to him and Wendy to discuss their individual term/year preference.

New Members

Bob stated that there are a couple of people in mind and we are hoping to get two new parent representatives on the board as well. Rebecca and Claudia both have some nominees in mind that they will reach out to.

Wendy went to an event where she met the recent grads of a board training program, very interesting, a lot of 20-30 year olds. She gave her number to multiple people so is hoping to hear back from some.

Cornell mentioned that the Chamber of Commerce has a Leadership Program with a Board Training Module that could be a good resource for potential board members.

Joel also stated that we may want to reach out to staff/teachers at Southern.

Melissa will edit the “Job Summary” for Board Members to make it specific to the Parent and Teacher representatives


Bob wanted to discuss the critical friends/board advisory committee we discussed in the last meeting and how that can play into board membership. He also stated that we maybe should consider asking people who were previously with the organization to be on either the board or critical friends committee.  

Cornell feels we should start the process by having lunch interviews to build the committee.

Frank suggested that we do an open call on the website to draw people into the organization for the board and critical friends.

Joel also suggested that we have a member of the New Haven Board of Education involved with the board.

Old Business:

Joel did get feedback about the dashboard but some was in opposition. It seems as if an online version is the long term goal but this going to be a longer process and not just some minor tweaking. He passed out this month’s dashboard along with his proposed changes and the immediate steps he’s planning on taking.

Beth asked that we be provided with a google doc version of the dashboard in a “read only” format, it would be easier to read than a PDF.

Melissa suggested that the “Challenges” portion of the dashboard be the “Strategic Questions” that drive the conversations at board meetings. Bob agreed with this and will put those into the agenda for the next meeting.

New Business

Creepy Town was a success but raised questions about “branding” and how to combine community programs and high school activities. Cornell suggested that we have a staff debrief and a student debrief to discuss all the great things and what could be improved.

Our regularly scheduled meeting would fall on Christmas Day, the board agreed to postpone this meeting to Jan. 8 and have two board meetings in January.

Wendy closed the meeting at 7:04

The next board meeting will be Jan. 8, 2018 and Jan. 22, 2018 from 5:30-7:00


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