Big Thanks to Phil for letting us share his photography here. If you are a local artist get in touch – We’d love to feature your work here! Find more of Phil Wreden’s photography on his Flickr site or come by Halfway Whimsical Artists Co-op in downtown Halfway For copyright info contact Phil Wreden via his Flickr page.
Pine Valley Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 1:40-3:05pm
Present: Liz McLellan (President)*; Bill Schuhle (T-Bill) (Secretary/Treasurer)*; Rev. Bill Shields (R-Bill)*; Steve White*; Celinda Miller*; Larry Miller; Linda Collier (* indicates Board Member)
Minutes: There was no meeting held in December. T-Bill noted that the minutes from the November meeting had been distributed by email for changes or corrections. Liz asked if anyone had noted any needed corrections. There were none, so the minutes will stand as distributed.
Finance Report. T-Bill reported on the purchase of QuickBooks Accountant for use in keeping the UCP books (Accountant includes Non-Profit as one of its modules). At R-Bill’s suggestion, T-Bill agreed to provide monthly Profit & Loss printouts from QuickBooks as part of his finance reports. He also reported that he had contacted former treasurer Zella Sly regarding some questions he had and said that she had been helpful, but couldn’t answer QuickBooks-specific questions. He has an email inquiry in to CPA Kelly Higgins regarding possible consulting on these and including a question as to whether she might still be open to providing assistance to UCP pro bono as Zella indicated she had in years past.
T-Bill also indicated that as treasurer, also, for the Pine Valley Community Museum, he would very much like to use QuickBooks for the museum’s bookkeeping and asked if he might have permission to do so and whether UCP would like some kind of remuneration for that use. No one had any objection to him doing so at no charge to the museum, with Liz voicing a concern that the relevant files could be passed on to a new treasurer when T-Bill is no longer treasurer for one or the other organization. He said he thought that was no problem, but would make sure that was the case.
T-Bill reported that a $4,000 donation from the Janzck family of Beaverton to the Pine Valley Fair Association for the purchase and installation of shade structures for use at Pine Fest and other events at the fairgrounds had been deposited to our UCP account in order for the donation to be a tax-exempt one and that this would be an opportunity to utilize the new Grant Agreement form that we will soon be finalizing. R-Bill indicated that in the future this kind of transaction should be brought before the Board for approval to make official our participation as a partner in the project.
Library Garden Funds Request: Linda Collier was present, representing the Friends of the Library, and presented a request for funding in the amount of $500 from UCP toward the construction of a new more water-frugal and less labor-intensive garden in place of the current garden on the south side of the Halfway Baker County Library building. (The entire budget for the project is $5,200 including in-kind donations.) Liz told her of our policy of making grant decisions at the meeting following the one where the request is made and Linda was fine with that as the project won’t be happening until summer. In answer to a direct question from Celinda, she said if the money were in hand by June that should be fine. R-Bill put in a plug for supporting the garden, saying that not only a lot of locals, but also a lot of visitors – notably cyclists – use the garden for its available internet access. The proposal was tabled for a decision to be made at our February meeting.
Grant Agreement & Grant Reporting Forms Discussion: A draft version of these two forms, put together by T-Bill, were distributed for perusal and discussion which began with the Grant Agreement Form. T-Bill pointed out that, being an agreement between two parties, it needed a place for the grantee to sign in addition to representative(s) of UCP. Liz pointed out the name of the Grant Reporting Form needed to be the same in both documents. Liz asked about a fax number for the forms. A discussion of fax necessity ensued and it was left to T-Bill to determine how to deal with faxes if they are needed.
On the Grant Reporting Form, Larry suggested more lines in the area for listing other community groups involved in the project. Liz pointed out the need for a grantee signature and date line. T-Bill described the need for space for stating requirements specific to a particular grant, e.g., receipts requested by the originating donor. These were all agreed to.
Bylaws & Voting Discussion. Celinda reported on the work that she and R-Bill had done in trying to come up with revised wording for the bylaws which would make the organizational decision-making process less cumbersome. They felt that, though anyone should be free to give their input on any given issue, the elected Board should be the actual decision-making entity. It would be incumbent upon Board members to do their homework and come prepared with arguments pro and con for presentation to the group. They felt that “unanimous minus one” was a good standard for passage of an issue, with an after-burner clause allowing any dissenting member to once again state their case, offering a possibility of some changed votes and therefore a different outcome. However, given that a majority minus one of a quorum of three could mean that two board members could make a decision affecting the whole group, it was suggested that a quorum of the board should be re-defined as four of the five members being present.
Liz asked that at the next meeting, R-Bill and Celinda bring specific proposed wording changes to be made to the bylaws for the group’s consideration.
Open Discussion. Celinda wondered about the possibility of our getting funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust. Liz pointed out that at the Ford Training, Maurizio (the lead trainer) had made it clear that there are numerous funding organizations with large endowments looking for good places to lend their support, so we shouldn’t be shy about pursuing those opportunities. Celinda mentioned that Maurizio suggested that it would behoove UCP to have a presence at more functions in town, letting people know who we are and what we have to offer and encouraging their participation. R-Bill said that a brochure describing what we’re about and offering donation and participation opportunities would be good. Steve suggested producing a banner stating UCP’s purpose for use at events. Liz suggested a newspaper article outlining our accomplishments and goals and offering participation as well. R-Bill felt that dreams of expanding our membership would probably lead to disappointment and that we should instead embrace the size that we are and do good things with the folks we have on board right now.
The subject of local investing and buying local came up and the recent NEOEDD presentation in Baker was discussed. Consensus of those who went seemed to be that it was good stuff, but a serious overload of information and nothing that made one want to jump up and get involved. Steve expressed concern over how hard it was for local merchants to make it in Halfway when people perceive Baker to be so much cheaper. He thinks this is a misperception, at least in some cases, and offered to do an item-by-item comparison and publish it.
Celinda raised the idea of not only shopping locally, but also donating locally rather than sending money off to larger, distant organizations. Liz suggested creating a list of all the 501(c)(3) organizations in the valley to which donations could be made. Celinda agreed to take ownership of creating such a list. Steve agreed to work with her on it as well.
T-Bill passed to Steve (our investment guru) bound reports he had received regarding our money market investment vehicle and suggested the possibility of UCP moving some of those investment funds to a local investment group when such becomes available.
Larry indicated he’d like to get a copy of the library garden budget that Linda Collier presented earlier in the meeting, but did not have copies of for the group. Liz said she’d get a copy and post it to the UCP email list.
Meeting adjourned at 3:05pm.
Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer
Pine Valley Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 1:35-3:10pm
Present: Liz McLellan (President)*; Bill Schuhle (T-Bill) (Secretary/Treasurer)*; Rev. Bill Shields (R-Bill)*; Steve White*; Celinda Miller*; Larry Miller, Ruai Gregory (* indicates Board Member)
Minutes: Liz asked if there were any objections to the minutes as sent out via email. Celinda indicated she had offered a correction to Bill via email which he said he had fixed. As there were no objections, the minutes were adopted.
Finance Report. T-Bill passed out copies of both the main finance report and an updated accounting of how the Ford Family Foundation grant for the MainStreet Stage had been spent. He indicated that next month’s report should show approximately $1,086.00 more in the checking account when funds spent for Stage equipment would be reimbursed to us by the Hells Canyon Chamber.
The bottom line on the Ford accounting sheet indicated about $156 as yet unspent. Bill asked for suggested items/materials for the stage that could be purchased with this money so that he could contact Ford for appropriate permissions and an extension of the purchasing deadline which had already passed. Liz asked that R-Bill and others interested draw up a list of needed items to give to T-Bill and that he present those to Ford for approval. Ruai stressed that Ford appreciates photographs in a final grant report, especially where a building is involved.
T-Bill indicated he’d like to follow up on Liz’s suggestion of purchasing some accounting training time from local CPA Kelly Higgins. R-Bill indicated this might be an expensive proposition. Alternatives were discussed with the bottom line being that T-Bill was voted permission to spend up to $200 (a price he said he had found online) for a copy of QuickBooks Nonprofit which is accounting software designed both structurally and terminology-wise to fit the needs of non-profit organizations. Ruai also suggested former UCP treasurer Zella Sly as someone who would likely be willing to help out with accounting questions. T-Bill said he would contact her. R-Bill pointed out that Veryl Waldron uses QuickBooks and could be a source of advice as well.
Record-keeping Discussion: Liz reiterated her position that all money going out of UCP needs to have records that account for it. R-Bill felt that we have not made it clear to grant recipients exactly what the expectations are and that therefore after-the-fact requests for detailed receipts have met with some resistance. A clear, up-front policy and signed agreement could prevent these problems. T-Bill and Liz agreed to put together draft agreement, simple and to the point, to present to the group.
T-Bill talked about the year 2000-era computer he had received from Sue Forrester which contained many files related to the early days of UCP and the forestry project plus the Granite Peaks assisted living facility project. Bill said he could provide a more complete inventory next month of what was there and a determination could be made about what to print and file. Liz suggested that anything having to do with finances should probably be saved.
Ruai said it would be really nice to have brief summaries of the results of all the various projects that UCP has supported/been involved in over the years and indicated that this has not been something that has been done nearly enough. She agreed to see about getting something written up on the Pine Eagle Education Foundation and the Pre-School in particular.
Liz will request a paragraph about the recycling project from Linda Collier if we no not have one. She will also update the web site with these reports and add a means for online donations to the pre-school project.
The existing timeline chart of UCP accomplishments up through 2008 needs to be brought current.
Bylaws and Voting Discussion. It was clarified that, per the bylaws, a quorum for making decisions consists of three board members present (60% of the five-member board). R-Bill contended that the consensus/voting section of the bylaws is cumbersome and is influenced by the definition of “member” which is strange. He said that at the recent training in Baker, it was suggested that non-profits not even have members, but simply a board that is responsible for decision-making within the organization. He suggested that consensus be defined as “unanimous minus one”. Steve pointed out that with only board members voting, and a quorum requirement of three, two members could make decisions. Other options, such as re-defining “membership”, were discussed and this included the possibility of a signed membership agreement, a set membership term, loss of membership for non-attendance, and charging an annual membership fee. Celinda recommended that a quorum of the board consist of all five members. R-Bill pointed out that this could preclude needed action in a deadline-driven situation. T-Bill suggested a necessary minimum of three affirmative votes of the five board members to make a decision which was re-stated by R-Bill as “a majority of the board” as opposed to “a majority of a quorum”. Liz suggested that a committee of interested members address the issue and R-Bill and Celinda agreed to head up such an effort.
Ford Leadership Program Update. R-Bill suggested that UCP keep the list of community projects that has been compiled at the Ford training as possible projects for UCP to consider. So far, the training group has whittled an original field of 30 suggested projects down to four: 1) a timebank; 2) a re-building of Lions Park in Halfway and a similar venue in Richland with playground equipment, etc.; 3) a youth after-school activities program; and 4) an area history project involving the local museum.
Liz indicated that, either via the local investing program underway at NEOEDD, or independently of that program, a timebank may be in the works even if it is not chosen as the Ford group project.
Open Discussion. Ruai said we still haven’t heard back from Sally Andrews about what’s happening with the oral history project that UCP contributed to and that was to be carried out by Sally and her daughter Vicki Johnson.
Ruai also reported that Cindy Delcurto, new parent representative member of the pre-school board, is out actively soliciting funds for the pre-school. The issue was raised of the use by the pre-school (and other organizations) of UCP’s 501(c)(3) status for fund-raising without adequate accountability for the funds so raised. R-Bill made the point that funds given to a 501(c)(3) are in the public domain and if passed to a non-501(c)(3) which subsequently fails, the funds must be returned to the donating 501(c)(3) or passed on to another 501(c)(3) so as to remain in the public domain. He also made it clear that any donations made to take advantage of our 501(c)(3) status need to be made to us directly and there needs to be a signed contract with the receiving organization (pre-school, etc.) as to how the funds are to be spent and what kind of reporting is required. Ruai said she will let Cindy know how she needs to proceed in her fund-raising efforts based on these considerations. Ruai will also give us a report at our next meeting of what’s happening at the pre-school and how funds raised through UCP have been spent.
Meeting adjourned at 3:10pm.
Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer
First Monday of the Month – Presbyterian Fellowship Hall 1:30pm
From Hells Canyon Journal Article by Linda Collier
The Pine Valley Cross Country Ski Club is getting ready for the skiing season. At the club’s November meeting, members discussed various aspects of the season relating to the primary goal of the club, which is to bring cross-country skiing to the students of the school, and then to community members.
Members of the community are invited to become members of the club. For $10 per household, family members can use sets of skis and ski on groomed trails on weekends when the ski room is open. Of that $10, $6 goes to the Oregon Nordic Club, a statewide cross-country skiing organization. Pine Valley Cross Country Ski Club is a chapter of the statewide club, which provides liability insurance and nonprofit status, plus professional support and advice. Liability insurance means that more groomed skiing will be available on land owned locally, and nonprofit status means that all donations are tax deductible.
The remaining $4 of the $10 membership goes to the local club, to pay for skis, grooming equipment, and snowmobile gas.
In order to better meet the needs of younger skiers, additional sets of skis, boots and bindings are being purchased. These are being purchased because of cash donations throughout the past year by the Tyler Foundation, Snake River PCS, Pine Telephone,
Jacob’s Dream, NW Ski Foundation, and Brook and Lois Moore. Members, with help from Marvin Brisk, are manufacturing more grooming equipment, which will be pulled by a snowmobile donated by Idaho Power. Members are also building more storage facilities at the ski room at the grade school. Skis and boots are being cleaned and readied for skiing.
Officers will be meeting with school representatives to discuss arrangements for physical education classes. At this time, it is expected that students from fourth through twelfth grades will be given a chance to learn to ski through their physical education classes.
Those classes will start sometime in January and continue as long as there is snow.
New officers were elected at the November meeting. Officers are Linda Collier, Galen West, Mary Jo St. Clair, and Tom Collier. Retiring officers are Tom Nash and Ivy Wreden.
“The club would like to thank Tom and Ivy for their services during the first year. The club would also like to thank all of our generous donors, without whom this endeavor would not be possible,” said Tom Collier on behalf of the Pine Valley Ski Club.
The community is invited to become members of the Pine Valley Cross Country Ski club.
Send $10 per household to:
36410 Valley View Lane,
Halfway, OR 97834
For that membership, family members can use sets of skis and ski on groomed trails on weekends when the ski room is open.
If you have any questions, please call any of the club officers.
For more information see the Ski Club Project Page
Please note: This list is primarily the criteria the group uses for funding decisions. Those funding decisions are made by the group in meetings. If you would like to participate in these funding discussions please become a member by attending three meetings. We meet on the first Monday of the month at Presbyterian Fellowship Hall at 1:30 P.M.
Members often choose to volunteer to support projects in the area on their own. Individual members have their own criteria for choosing which projects they volunteer their own time.
- The project meets UCP goals and objectives
- There is a desire in the community for the project
- The project has short and long-term benefits to the community; benefits are viewed as economic or quality of life.
- The project is viable and doable.
- UCP has the means in both dollars and labor to pursue the request.
- The level of participation of UCP is acceptable.
- The request must fit our non-profit status
- The applicant must have the ability to pay for services , including legal counsel if UCP determines this is necessary.
In review process
Please write a page or two about your project and how it fits into our priorities. Our members all anxious to help projects which improve our economy and quality of life.
If you would like United Community Partners to consider the project you have in mind please feel free to call Liz McLellan and discuss your plans and how best to present your project to the larger group. She can also get your project on the agenda for the group if it already meets the above criteria.
Please attend two consecutive meetings before proposing your project.
We meet the first Monday of the month at Presbyterian Fellowship Annex at 1:30 PM. Everyone is welcome.
If you are unable to attend or if the project is an “emergency”…please feel free to call Liz (5490) and discuss getting your concern on the agenda for our next meeting.
Pine Valley Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 1:35-2:35pm
Present: Liz McLellan, Bill Schuhle, Steve White, Celinda Miller, Mark Christianson
Absent: Bill Shields, Ruai Gregory, Larry Miller, Denise Christianson
Preliminary Question: Liz asked what constituted a quorum for decision-making purposes. Bill Schuhle said he thought 2/3 for board decisions, but wasn’t sure about general meetings.
Minutes: Liz asked for any objections to the minutes as sent out via email. She indicated that objections should be stated by email so corrections could be made, asking that Celinda pass that info along to Larry. There were no objections, so the minutes were considered adopted.
Finance Report. The finance report, which included information on both UCP’s grant to the MainStreet Stage and the grant from the Ford Family Foundation to UCP for the stage, was approved and is available separately. Bill stated that he would very soon be requesting a report from the Cornucopia Arts Council on how UCP’s $2,000 grant for Pine Fest was spent. He also reported on the destruction of UCP’s debit card based on the strong recommendation in the financial stewardship sessions recently in Baker that these NOT be a part of non-profit organizations’ financial tools as they are too open to abuse. USBank is offering a new credit card designed specifically for organizations like UCP with several advantages over a debit card and Bill said he would apply for one if that was agreeable to the group, which it was.
After Bill explained the current status of the Ford grant as being approximately $150 still available, but with the official deadline for disbursement past, it was agreed that he would contact Ford about an extension and inquire about the use of the funds for stage wall finishing (which is a different use than stated in the grant application).
Bill also explained an anti-embezzlement practice suggested in Baker of not having the person who writes the checks be the same person who signs them. It was agreed that, as a practice, henceforth Bill, as Treasurer, will write our checks and Liz, as President, will sign them.
Liz’s Letter to the Editor: Liz asked if there were comments or feedback on her letter to the Hells Canyon Journal attempting to clarify her role and UCP’s role in online fund-raising for Eagle Valley Orchards. People seemed to like the letter. Liz said she would think about re-structuring the way she handles fund-raising, particularly when the recipient is a business vs. a non-profit. Liz commented on the “bang-up” summer we’ve had with fund-raising, events at the MainStreet Stage, Pine Fest, etc. Steve suggested some kind of newspaper write-up about it all.
Ford Leadership Training. Liz, Larry, Celinda, and Bill Shields are participating in the Ford training being held in Halfway over several months. Liz and Celinda both reported being very enthusiastic about their experience so far and what they are getting from the training. Liz asked that folks consider ideas – and put the word out that the group is seeking ideas – for what they might adopt as their project to accomplish for the local community. Steve suggested augmenting the cross-country ski program.
Center for Non-Profit Stewardship Training. Liz, Celinda, Bill Schuhle, and Bill Shields, as UCP board members, attended this one-day training in Baker City. It was primarily about the legalities and responsibilities of serving on a non-profit board. There were several sessions related to finance as well as sessions on board and membership recruitment and succession planning. Bill and Liz commented on their pleasure at meeting and talking with Kirk Harvey, Chief Investigator for the Oregon Department of Justice, how helpful he was, and how very much “on our side” he is.
Bylaws Proposal. Liz, after looking through the bylaws, has concluded that re-working them will not be the huge task we have been envisioning since they mostly consist of boilerplate legal wording which we will not be changing. She asked that we specifically look over the section on voting, quorum, and membership, and see if there are things there that we would like to change. This discussion will be on the agenda for our November meeting. She feels that the Vision & Strategy Statement is ripe for updating and offered to form an ad hoc committee of herself, Bill Shields, and maybe one other person, to compact the vision statement and bring it back to the group for discussion in December or January. Liz will send out emails regarding these two separate discussions and how to prepare for them. She also suggested placing a discussion of our goals for the coming year on the December/January agenda.
Open Discussion: Steve offered the idea of an ice skating rink in Lions Park as a possible Ford community project. Liz recommended creating a skills matrix as part of any board recruitment effort to see where gaps might be that could specifically be filled by a new board member. She also proposed the possibility of hiring an accountant (local CPA Kelly Higgins?) for a couple of hours of coaching for treasurer Bill Schuhle if he thought that would be helpful, which he did.
Meeting adjourned at 2:35pm.
Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer
Pine Valley Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 1:35-1:50pm
Present: Liz McLellan, Bill Schuhle, Bill Shields, Mark Christianson
Absent: Ruai Gregory, Denise Christianson, Steve White, Larry & Celinda Miller
Finance Report. The financial report, which is available separately, was read to the group along with an accounting, received from Lauri Bryan (Hells Canyon Chamber Treasurer) of how our UCP grant of $5,000 for construction of the MainStreet Stage was disbursed. Liz requested that a brief descriptive word or two be added to the Eagle Valley Feed & Seed entries which lacked same. Bill agreed to do this. Constructions costs came to right at $5,500 with the Chamber covering the additional $500. A copy of that report is available separately as well. No further additions or corrections to the finance report were suggested.
Bandstand Update. Bill Shields indicated that Deanne Johnson was doing some test colorings for possible use on the stage’s back wall. Lauri Bryan and Denise Christianson have discussed an overlaying latticework of some kind. Bill Shields indicated it would be the Chamber’s decision as to how to proceed. The stage is now in their hands and no longer a necessary agenda item for UCP.
Pine Fest Update. Liz said fundraising was coming along well. Mark said that during his recent time on the East Coast, he met folks who knew about Pine Fest. Amazement all around.
Upcoming Board Training. Liz asked for suggestions for her to pass on to Mauricio for an upcoming training. Bill Shields suggested our need for a unified view of what we mean by “consensus”. Liz wants to know the process for changing bylaws.
Meeting adjourned at 1:50pm.
Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer
So I thought I would give some more general information on crowdfunding and the new economic models emerging in the wake of the banking collapse in 2008 which constricted the ability to get anything done if it required a bank’s approval.
More information at National Crowdfunding Association which covers the new equity or investment crowdfunding rules coming up to protect consumers.
We are much larger than the 1200 or so people in the Pine Valley area. Our personal and professional networks combined together are very large. Here’s a great article on understanding just how big the extended network of 1000 people might be:
There are thousands of platforms popping up which are specific to different types of crowdfunding from the very personal (weddings, medical emergencies), to creative (writers, film, musicians) community(solar projects, school gardens, art or hack spaces) and scientific research projects. Here is a very short list of what is out there.
Here is a list focused on business and start ups – lots of equity/investment platforms here.
Briefly from Lisa Dawson at NEOEDD:
By working together as organizations and individuals in three northeast Oregon counties, and taking advantage of external expertise, we will:
- Provide support for local businesses that need investment capital and are profitable or have profit potential, but are not likely to be attractive to angel investors, venture capital investors or commercial lenders
- Create options for individuals to invest a portion of their capital within the region
- Work together on an economic development project that will increase the vitality of the region and our ability to work together
Their project ChangeXChangeNW is “a resource for communities in the Northwest. Our goal is to bolster local economies by connecting the dots between socially-minded investors and locally-owned businesses.”
Go to their site for details on all of these exciting changes happening. Springboard Innovation is working with NEOEDD to bring the same model eastward. Contact Lisa Dawson at NEOEDD for details.
Startsomegood focuses on projects with clear benefits and have strict criteria for using the platform.
“StartSomeGood is a peerfunding platform for broadly-progressive social impact projects and organizations. While our focus is on social entrepreneurship as a vehicle for creating change we support all forms of changemaking: entrepreneurial, advocacy and activism, community organizing, research and information provision and inspiration.
“Our vision is a world where everyone can be a changemaker, where communities can create the future they want and governance is citizen-focused and responsive.”
“Our goal is to build the world’s best mobilizing platform for changemakers, allowing them to raise the funds, grow the community and gain the skills and contacts they need to make a difference.”
Crowdfunding is a huge topic which we can’t cover in one post. This is just the beginning. I encourage everyone to explore what’s out there and what has already been made real via crowdfunding, microlending, crowdsourcing, and equity crowdfunding. And get to work on imagining what is possible!
If you have any questions or would like us to focus on a particular crowdfunding topic in the future, let us know in the comments.
Here’s something inspiring to leave you with…