Common Ground Board of Directors Minutes- February 2019

Meeting of the New Haven Ecology Project Board of Directors
February 25, 2019

Present: Robert Parker, Beth Klingher, Michael Doolittle, Charles Negaro, Wendy Battles, Errol Saunders, Kyeen Andersson, Brian Springsteen, Ilene Crawford

Staff: Betsy Sneath, Elena Augusewicz, Liz Cox, Joel Tolman, Rebecca Holcomb, Deborah Greig, Kimball Cartwright

Regrets: Jane Lee, Terri Snell, Kerry Lord

Public Participation: N/A

Bob Called the Meeting to order at 5:35

Business Requiring Approval

January Minutes
Wendy moved to approve
Beth Seconds

Self-Administering Medications Policy
Ilene moved to approve
Errol Seconds

Finance Committee

Finance Dashboard
Betsy reviewed the financial dashboard and described some corrections that were made on it.
Bob would like to inform the board that there is potentially an $80,000 shortfall due to some decline of revenue and some issues with salary actuals. We will have more info during next month’s meeting. Michael said that the funding sources can complicate things, money comes in but must be held for specific things or times of the year.

Organizational Updates

Bob wanted to discuss board membership and succession planning. We have a group of people who will be leaving in June if we stick to our original transition plan. Please let us know if you have suggestions for additions. We will need 3 people but if we found more, that would be ok. We also need a succession plan for leadership such as chairs, secretary, and treasurer. Wendy, Errol, and Z have been working to find student representation for the board, there is one who is interested in coming in March. Next steps for board recruitment would be to identify more potential board members, have coffee with them, and learn more about their interest in us and us in them. We definitely need some young people and more people of color. Charles suggested asking our accounting firm or law firm for suggestions of members.

Executive Director Search

Wendy said that they’ve had 44 applications for the position. There have been several cycles of screening and a few half hour phone interviews. The initial phone screenings are not a deep dive, just to help get an idea of what the candidates are like. On Saturday we are starting 3 full interviews at mActivity in East Rock. It’s a diverse group made up of women and people of color. Extending the deadline was very helpful and added some people of interest. After the in-person interviews in March our goal is to narrow it down to a couple of candidates who can each come here in person sometime in April to meet all of our constituents. Errol said we have found people who are both local and from farther away, these people have different perspectives and show how widely this call was shared.

Kyeen said that at another organization she was on the board of, when they hired a new ED, they were counseled to only seek feedback from the staff on one candidate, then make an offer, if that offer doesn’t go through you can get feedback from all on the next person. If you present three finalists to the entire org it could get very complicated.

Liz is concerned that the process of only presenting one candidate to the community would limit feedback from stakeholders, Ilene agreed that everyone should have a chance to give their feedback and it would feel strange to limit that.

Strategic Plan & Mission Statement

Joel said that at last meeting two drafts were shared out and we got feedback from a couple board members. Since then we have workshopped it again and are happy to share this final draft and open it up to discussion or vote on it.

Common Ground is a center for learning and leadership, inviting people across ages and identities to connect to their urban environment, build community, grow into their full potential, and contribute to a just and sustainable world.

Optional sentence that gets at the “how,” accompanying our mission: We work toward this mission through active, authentic learning rooted in justice and our place: a farm, in a forest, in a city.

Brian moved to adopt this Mission Statement
Michael seconds

Management team is going to discuss what rolling out the new mission statement out will look like on top of updating the website.

Strategic Issues

Liz said that we just got our school report card, it has multiple accountability measures. It was the strongest we’ve had to date but we got dropped a school level because we have an achievement gap. This focuses us in term of the work we need to do.

New Business

Wendy said she wanted to put out a call to board members to ride with her in Rock to Rock on April 27, 2019. Errol said he would ride and Bob said he would be a cheerleader. Joel said there are lots of options for non-riders such as a walk in East Rock Park, a Bird Walk with Audubon, Volunteer opportunities, etc.

Kimball said he extended an offer to a new Development Associate today, they have not submitted an official acceptance yet. We are also beginning to think about Feast; Jason Sobocinski said Sept. 14th is a better day than later in the month and he has some suggestions for making this Event even bigger and better than it already is. Kimball will probably be scheduling a couple conversations with chefs and stakeholders to talk about potential changes. Also, All board members are invited to a panel discussion on March 14th with Liz and Students about student voice, curriculum change and more. Everyone should have gotten invitations.

Adjourn at 6:41

Next Meeting: March 25, 2019, 5:30 PM, Room 103 in the CGHS Hilltop Building


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