P.O. BOX 545 Halfway, Oregon 97834 [email protected] 541-742-2784

Minutes – March 3, 2014

Pine Valley Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 1:40-3:35pm

Present: Liz McLellan (President)*; Bill Schuhle (T-Bill) (Secretary/Treasurer)*; Rev. Bill Shields (R-Bill)*; Celinda Miller*; Larry Miller; Ruai Gregory; Denise Cairns   (* Board Member) Absent: Steve White*

Minutes: There was no meeting held in February. T-Bill noted that the minutes from the January meeting had been distributed by email for changes or corrections. He asked if anyone had noted any needed corrections. There were none, so the minutes will stand as distributed.

Finance Report. T-Bill distributed copies of the finance report and read through it with the group. Liz took a minute to explain the two deposits from her that were entered in February. She made those so that she could make good on her promise to carpenter Kert Lorence to raise funds online to compensate him for his work on the Jacob’s Dream Seed Sharing Station. She had failed to raise the money online, so covered that promise with personal donations.

Halfway Community Gym Funds Request: Denise Cairns was present representing the gym. She indicated that the gym was going through growing pains and that she and Karen Andruss were involved in working through those. She asked that UCP join them as a partner for fund-raising purposes and to take advantage of online funding options that had been proposed to them by Liz. She was not asking for any direct donations from UCP, but rather for financial help with grant-writing to raise the funds needed for equipment replacement, currently a new treadmill at a cost of $5-6,000 of which they already have about $2,000 saved from dues collected.

She explained the awkward position they’re in, being housed in the Elementary School and using equipment donated by John and Mary Jo Binford to the school, but not actually being a part of the school system. Their funds are currently being held in a special account by the school, but she wishes to change that so as to remove any appearance of their being a school function as the Ford Family Foundation in particular does not make grants for school-related projects and they hope to apply to Ford. They are in negotiations with school superintendent Mike Corley about the school possibly gifting the equipment to them. She asked about a special account being set up where donations would go. T-Bill said we would do that and could then pay vendor(s) of new equipment directly from that account. Celinda mentioned our 1% administrative handling fee that would be charged. T-Bill said that his current research indicated that 7%-15% was the normal range elsewhere. The general consensus was that a smaller amount, no more than 5% and likely the current 1%, would be appropriate for our local situation. A vote was taken on whether we wished to partner with the gym and the result was a unanimous “yes”. Liz offered to add a page on the gym to the UCP web site, including a PayPal donation option. She also suggested that T-Bill’s design skills might be put to use making membership cards. Lisa O’Kelley at the elementary school is our contact with the school district.

Fiscal Partnership Discussion. T-Bill, expressing confusion from his research on the subject, read from Oregon and Minnesota non-profit web sites some information about “fiscal sponsorship”, the official term for what we do when we partner with another project or organization to facilitate fundraising in particular. He indicated that something listed on Wikipedia as a “Pre-Approved Grant Relationship” seemed to best describe what we’ve done, e.g., with the grandstands project. He also said he’d be much more comfortable having a lawyer’s help in sorting out all the sometimes-conflicting information he’s finding and distilling it down to a couple of simple forms. R-Bill suggested contacting the Ford Family Foundation because of their offered capacity-building services since we now have some specific questions to ask. He also suggested narrowing our outreach to other nonprofit-oriented organizations for help to two: the Ford Family Foundation and the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD). It seems that these partnership-related questions could be addressed during the board training that we were planning to have with Ford following the conclusion of the current Leadership training program. T-Bill will get together a list of specific questions and, along with Liz, confer with Maurizio of Rural Development Initiatives (presenters of the Ford training) to work out the next step(s).

Discussion on Voting & Consensus: T-Bill and Liz had a long visit with UCP founding member Tony Sowers several weeks ago and Bill recalled that Tony was pretty adamant that the consensus process adopted at the inception of UCP to give voice and influence to all perspectives in the community should not be jettisoned. R-Bill, who was present during the early days of UCP, spoke to the genesis of the use of consensus for decision-making and concluded that it was: a) never followed and b) never worked. Therefore he sees no sense in pursuing it as our guiding principal in the present. He agrees with working within the spirit of consensus, but not a model of strict consensus. Liz asked for a re-statement of R-Bill and Celinda’s recommendations for modifying the by-laws. Bill said they were pretty long, so he will send to Liz who will mail them to the UCP list. Celinda emphasized that, even though under the proposed new procedures, the Board would be the sole voting body, a decision would be taken only after doing our best to read the pulse of the community and after considered discussion. Liz asked if it made sense to include wording to the effect that those casting dissenting votes should have an opportunity to propose changes that would enable them to vote positively. R-Bill seemed to think that that could get us once again mired down in process rather than accomplishment.

Ruai returned to the voting issue with questions about our definition of “members” and how problematic the current definition has been in the past. R-Bill suggested eliminating membership altogether as not necessary for a 501(c)(3). It also becomes much less important if the board becomes the sole decision-making body. He suggested that if membership were to be continued, it could be predicated on payment of, say, dues of $50/yr. (similarly to the Lions or Grange). Liz expressed a desire to “hammer out” both the voting and membership issues in our next meeting and R-Bill and Celinda will work up a membership proposal to be distributed in the interim along with their voting proposal.

Discussion & Vote on Friends of the Library $500 Grant Request: Celinda voiced discomfort with our giving direct grants as she hasn’t been able to locate that provision in her reading of UCP’s founding documents and wondered if UCP founder Tony Sowers might clarify that for us. Liz emphasized that we need to table the discussion of whether or not we give out money and vote yea or nay on the Library proposal which is already on the table under our prior understanding. Larry asked how we keep the flow of funds going if those to whom we give money do not return something to us down the road. Denise commented that, “That’s what a grant is: you don’t pay it back”. R-Bill suggested reconsidering our income stream from administrative fees – that maybe that could be raised by upping our 1% fee. He also pointed out that we decided some time ago to ask of grantees that if at some point in the future they become flush, to remember us by giving something back. Liz emphasized her desire that UCP be “the wind beneath the winds” of other worthy organizations in the community and in no way perceived as stingy, it being our role to obtain funds to provide support to others. R-Bill suggested bringing this issue up in our board training with Ford. He also suggested we come up with a maximum dollar amount that we are comfortable with giving out for any particular grant as well as a lower limit of our reserves beyond which we would not want to go and at which point replenishing would be in order. Liz asked that any other items that folks come up with that they would like to be included in the Ford board training, to please email them to her.

Celinda expressed concern regarding the difference between giving a “hand up” and a “handout” and the need to avoid engendering dependence rather than growth and independence. Denise pointed out that major foundations have huge “principal funds” and they make grants from the income on those funds. We do not have such a fund, so would need to engage in fund-raising in order to have grant funds. Liz expressed her strong position of looking at people who come to us for money as real “doers” in the community who we can support based on their record of accomplishments.

Preschool Report: Ruai informed us that there is a lot of money available right now for early childhood education and the preschool is working on a major grant application – due March 28th – in collaboration with the school district which, under the circumstances, worked better strategically than going through UCP as they have done numerous times in the past. She said that, should this somehow not work out, she might need/want to come to UCP to act as fiscal sponsor. A vote was taken and it was unanimous that we would enter into that partnership should the need arise.

Open Discussion: Celinda asked for T-Bill’s and Liz’s perceptions of UCP and the things we’ve been discussing. Bill asked for specifics. Celinda expressed concern about board member succession – how to keep the organization going – and about her aversion to fund-raising. Liz went first and reiterated her “wind beneath the wings” comment, seeing UCP as a supporting infrastructure for energies that already exist and helping them to flourish. Anything beyond that would involve more professional board members versed in the legal and fundraising areas. T-Bill thought Liz has expressed all this very well and basically said, “Ditto”.

Return to Library Grant Vote. R-Bill pointed out that we currently stand at a “no” vote under our existing bylaws given Celinda’s abstention and Larry’s “no” vote. Liz asked what might change either or both of those votes. Celinda: making sure this is the end of our grant-giving until we determine that this is a proper activity under our bylaws. Larry: if we can get a plan (drawing) as promised from the library group showing what they are to do so that we can exercise some oversight of how our funding is spent. With these agreements in place, the vote was now unanimous in favor of funding the library project in the amount of $500. T-Bill will contact Linda Collier re: copying their plans and budget for our records.

Closing comments: Liz asked that over the next few weeks, all of us email to her any issues that we wish to have covered in the board training to be set up with Ford/RDI. Liz invited Denise to consider joining UCP. Larry and Celinda invited anyone who was interested to join them at a small business training in Ontario in mid-April being put on by RDI.

Action Items Summary:

  1. With regard to fiscal sponsorship, T-Bill will get together a list of specific questions and, along with Liz, confer with Maurizio of Rural Development Initiatives to work out the next step(s).
  2. R-Bill and Celinda to write up recommendations for modifying the by-laws and email them to Liz for distribution to the mail list.
  3. R-Bill and Celinda to work up a membership proposal to be distributed in the interim along with their voting proposal.
  4. All members to email Liz with any other items they would like to have included in the forthcoming Ford board training.
  5. T-Bill to contact Linda Collier re: copying the library garden project plans and budget for our records.

Meeting adjourned at 3:35pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer

Minutes – January 6, 2014

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.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer

Sheeps towering over Cornucopia Mountain

Everyone is welcome at our monthy meeting

First Monday of the Month – Presbyterian Fellowship Hall 1:30pm

Snowy Path

Snow READY – Pine Valley X-Country Ski Club Can’t Wait!

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:

Tom Collier
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

Foggy Road Halfway Oregon

Updated: Project Selection Criteria – How to Bring Your Project to UCP

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 attend our regular meetings.  We meet on the first Monday of the month at Presbyterian Fellowship Hall at 1:30 P.M.

 

Updated criteria and application process (Changed July 2015)

 

 

Pinefest 2013 – Galleries

Here’s some wonderful photos from Pine Fest this past summer.  We can’t wait for Pinefest 2014 – September 6th – Mark your Calendar!

For more about Pinefest go to pinefest.org

Or to book a place to stay take a look at their photo gallery of fabulous lodging!

Minutes – November 4, 2013

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.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer

Minutes – October 7, 2013

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.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer

Pumpkins and Mammoth Sunflowers

A short list of crowdfunding links for Eastern Oregon

As most know our community has recently successfully crowdfunded two projects, the Eagle Creek Orchard frost equipment campaign and the PineFest Music Festival campaign.  Pinefest is still going strong – Come through this Fall for a great day!

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.

 

Crowdfunding Platforms

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 infrastructure and local projects (solar projects, school gardens, art or hack spaces) and scientific research projects. Here is a very short list of what is out there.

Some of us are familiar with the big name sites in crowdfunding, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Here’s a comparison of these two sites.

How to Raise Funds with Crowdfunding

A successful crowdfunding campaign relies primarily on our social media connections online. While traditional funding is face to face or on the phone – crowdfunding relies on our networks online – and how active we are in those networks supporting other people and projects. The people, businesses and organizations we connect to, share and support online are the same folks who will share our story and celebrate our successes. We are much larger than the 1200 or so people here in the Pine Valley area in Baker County, Oregon. Our personal and professional networks online combined together are very large and our reach is very far when we use the internet to let people know about what matters to us.

Here’s a great article on understanding just how big the extended network of 1000 people might be:

How large is your network: the power of second and third degree connections.

What is Equity Crowdfunding?

Equity crowdfunding is a method to fund traditional businesses and innovative start-ups. Equity crowdfunding is regulated by the SEC and requires that funders be “accredited.” This simply means that to invest via an equity campaign you must be a sophisticated investor who does not require as much protection. You or you and your partner combined must have a high income and high net worth. More info on accredited investors.

July 25, 2016 – UPDATE – SEC rules have been updated and expanded to open up equity crowdfunding to a wider community of investors. Here’s a good write up by Christopher Mirabel at Inc. Magazine – 2016 Crowdfunding Rules, More Complicated Than You Think.

More information at National Crowdfunding Association which covers the new equity or investment crowdfunding rules in place to protect consumers.

Equity Crowdfunding for bringing wealth back to Oregon

Eastern Oregon has North East Oregon Economic Development District working with Springboard Innovation to build a regional plan for localizing the economy. More details on that 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 NEODD to bring the same model eastward. Contact Lisa Dawson at NEOEDD for details.

Crowdfunding for Projects

Startsomegood focuses on projects with clear benefits and have strict criteria for using the platform.

“StartSomeGood is a peer funding 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.”

Local Projects

Crowdfunding for Rural Organizations
Crowdfunding for Civil Projects
Crowdfunding Renewable Energy Projects

 

Crowdfunding is a huge topic which we can’t cover in one post so please come back!   I encourage everyone to explore what’s out there and what has already been made real via crowdfunding, microlending, crowdsourcing, and equity crowdfunding. Let’s 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 me know in the comments.

 

Sept 20 – Letter to the Editor – Hells Canyon Journal

Letter to the Editor,

On Crowdfunding and United Community Partners,

Hey folks, Liz McLellan here. It has come to my attention that there is some confusion and perhaps bad feelings around the crowdfunding projects I and UCP have supported over the last few months. I would like to clear these misunderstandings up, in so far as that is possible. I should say, this letter is from myself and not from the UCP Board.

A little background first. I moved to the Valley in 2008 from NYC. My background is in non-profits, technology and fundraising. It took me awhile to find a place where my skills could be of use to the community. In 2012, I saw a need and had volunteered to build a website for United Community Partners. Around June that year, I started to attend regular meetings. In June 2013, I was elected President when Ruai Gregory left the post after years of service to the community. I am less comfortable being an officer on the board than I was just doing tech work to be honest.

I had been enthusiastically helping with the website – with the intention of raising awareness of the potential of online fundraising and crowdfunding for projects, businesses and organizations in the Pine Valley community. I had been through a few successful kickstarter campaigns myself and understood this was a real boon for anyone or any group which could harness the strength of our extended networks online.

At the same time I was elected to the board of UCP, I became aware of two projects which looked like they would be perfect candidates to demonstrate the power of crowdfunding to the community. Not every idea or project is a fit for this model of fundraising. I agreed to volunteer for both the Eagle Creek Orchard Indiegogo campaign and for the Pinefest Indiegogo campaign because these projects, in my estimation, had the hallmarks of potential for success from the get go:

1. A passionate champion. Someone who was willing to do anything it took to get it done, who was not me.

2. An existing network extending far beyond Pine Valley – online and off. Both the sustainable agriculture community and the music community have deep and extensive online networks of passionately dedicated people.

3. A group independent of me (or UCP) which was ready and raring to go – to help us in any way to get the word spread far and wide.

I have personally talked to other people in the Valley with various groups and projects who had good ideas but, lacked these three things. These are prerequisites to any success in crowdfunding campaigns. If you have an idea or a project – start thinking about these three things. It can take years to build up the groundwork for success.

These were not projects I sought the permission of UCP to work on. Nor, was I required to do so. Though I did let the UCP folks know it was fine with me if UCP was listed as a supporter of these campaigns because of these efforts. Members also did volunteer on their own for both in other capacities.

So what are the misunderstandings? Some people are very confused and seem to be under the impression that UCP decided as a group to allocate my time as technical assistant to these projects. They did not. The issue for others seems to be that they believe that UCP as a group CHOOSE these projects over others – and ignored other needs. That is also not the case.

Some folks are not happy that “UCP helped a private business over in Richland,” meaning the orchard. I need to make this clear, I chose to help Eagle Creek Orchard out as an individual. I did so because I care deeply about local organic sustainable agriculture and localizing our economy and food systems. No UCP funds were used for the Indiegogo campaign. I also care a great deal about music and so was happy to help the Pinefest folks crowdfund when they asked. For each of these projects I donated about 30-40 hours of my time – building websites, social media campaigns and coaching both groups on how to run a successful crowdfunding effort – I did this with bells on and joy in my heart.

When the UCP members consider a project to allocate money to another process is required. Members all have a say and weigh in on the viability of projects which come to us. We have a process outlined in the bylaws for these group considerations. You too can have a say – simply attend three meetings and you can be a part of that decision making process as a UCP member. We each have our own personal criteria but, we also have criteria mandated by our bylaws which you can read on our site. We have given money as a group to projects which fit that criteria – as a group. Everyone in the community should be clear UCP as a group is open to considering projects from all groups and individuals in the Pine Eagle area. If the project is in line with UCP’s mission, we would be thrilled to help out in any way we can. In December, we will have a year end summary of how we voted to spend funds in 2013.

The UCP Board is a mix of older and newer residents but, we are very small. We seek and welcome participation from everyone in the community and hope you will consider attending meetings in the future to help us decide our priorities.

I, personally, have a limited amount of volunteer hours I can give for these tech projects. Like everyone else in the valley, I have to make a living. Finding time for everything we want to do is a struggle we all face. I am very happy to help when I can do so. As for the technical assistance I give,  I need to evaluate for myself which projects are the most likely to succeed with some technical assistance – and which projects are beyond my ability to contribute time, programming, or coaching. UCP is not in charge of allocating my time in any way and I am happy to talk to anyone who has a project in mind.

The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)  is working on rules to allow equity crowdfunding for small business. The NEOEDD (North East Oregon Economic Development District) is working on gathering financial institutions, individual investors, credit unions and community banks in the area to build up local investing strategies and vehicles to explicitly support the localization of our economy, to bring our money home. We all see the need to pull away from the large impersonal banking system. NEOEDD is also looking at crowdfunding and equity crowdfunding (where you get a return on an investment.) for small businesses and cottage industry. Much more than this is on the way but, it is beyond the scope of this letter to explain much further. I would like to leave you with the idea that lots of good things are coming and it is a great time to get involved in what you are passionate about.

I hope this note clarifies some of the backstory which seems to have created some confusion in the Valley. We all wear many hats here and sometimes it’s unclear which hat I’ve got on.  I hope everyone knows that ALL of us at UCP are working with the best of intentions and simply trying to contribute to the place we call home. I also encourage UCP members to clarify anything I got wrong here.

I would like to personally thank everyone who participated in these campaigns online and off because you helped make the power of crowdfunding and interdependence visible. We saved an orchard and put on a music festival! Thank you to Rob and Linda Cordtz and Mimi and Eric Kauffman for trusting the potential of exploring this 21st century style barn-raising! It was, for all of you, a massive leap of faith which I know was very scary. Thank you for being brave. It’s incredibly inspiring to me and many others.

We are as strong as our networks.
If you are interested I’ve posted some links about crowdfunding and the NEOEDD efforts on our site at: http://ow.ly/p5vP8
If ever something seems unclear, you’d like to get involved or you’d just like to know more feel free to email me at lizmstrateg[email protected].

Thank you for reading this far!

Liz McLellan, President of the UCP Board
Halfway, Oregon

callous