CoNPS Board Meeting
January 18, 2022
5 – 8 pm
October’s minutes can be found here:
Present: Amy, Ann, Anna, Carol, Chrissy, Curt, Denise, Deryn, Haley, Kathy, Maggie, Mo, Pat, Rahman, Tom
Guests: Erin Tessens
Maggie called the meeting to order at 5:12 pm.
1. Approval of October minutes (Amy, 5 min)
Anna motioned to approve the minutes from the October 2021 CoNPS board meeting, and Chrissy seconded. Motion passed to approve minutes from the October meeting.
2. Board of Directors’ tenure (Anna, 10 min)
Question: Anna realized she had served on the board for 3 years and wanted to know next steps.
According to CoNPS bylaws, we must advertise for new positions and vote at annual meetings. Many board members have stayed on the board for longer than 3 years, which adds valuable experience.
Amy suggested we should have a way for people to transition off without disrupting the organization. It’s also important that we are open to new voices and that we don’t look like we’re too tight knit. We also should plan on holding elections whether members stand for re-election or we have new directors. A director in charge of governance should track terms and solicit possible candidates. The board contact list includes term start and end dates, but needs to be updated.
• Start thinking about potential board members!
• Publicize board openings and board meetings in e-news, and volunteer section of website
• Plan for elections during fall annual meeting
Comment from Pat Butler (Boulder Chapter): As a new state board member by virtue of my chairing the boulder chapter steering committee this year, I’m just becoming familiar with the CONPS board procedures. After Anna raised the issue of board member terms at yesterday’s meeting, I read the bylaws and wanted to pass along a few points. First, the board is supposed to comprise 6-8 ‘at large’ board members, in addition to representatives of each chapter and up to 4 officers. (The bylaws allow, as I believe is the current case, an operating committee rather than all 4 officers, and there is not currently a president or vice president). This group constitutes the voting members of the board and as far as I can see, does not include committee chairs (though of course they can attend meetings). A quorum of the board (needed to take action) is a majority of these board members. Board members’ terms are 3 years and there are no term limits. A quorum (necessary to transact board business) is a simple majority of the total board members (at large members + chapter representatives + officers, if any). Currently, with 7 at large board members and 7 chapters, a quorum would be 8 members present
As Denise pointed out, board nominations are supposed to be solicited by the vice president in the spring Aquilegia, ballots distributed in the summer issue of Aquilegia, and ballots returned at least one week before the board’s last yearly meeting. Balloting can be done by mail or electronically. While an annual membership meeting is required, as apparently has been the annual conference, the bylaws don’t require that board member elections be part of the annual meeting.
I’ve been a CONPS member since around 1979 but don’t recall board elections, though obviously they’ve been held over the years.
I think there’s been some chat about reinstating the offices of President and Vice President now that Maggie’s position relieves some of the responsibilities of those offices. It has occurred to me that it might be worth reviewing the bylaws overall to see if they reflect current policy and practice. Having worked on bylaws for other nonprofit organizations and as a retired lawyer, I am familiar with the Colorado Nonprofit Corporation law and would be happy to help in this regard – but I cannot commit much time to that effort over the next few months as the Boulder chapter works on the conference.
3. 2022 Financial presentation (Mo, 20 min)
Please see 2021 Financial Results – Revised and 2022 Finance Proposal – M.Gaddis final
• Operating budget showed actual revenues stronger than projections even while paying the Executive Director salary
◦ Profit centers
▪ Annual meeting – $4K surplus
▪ Garden tours – $10K surplus
▪ Aquilegia – $3K loss
▪ Book Sales – $6K surplus
▪ Plant sales – $7K surplus
▪ Carter Book Sales – $2K surplus (goes to Mission Grant)
▪ Workshops – $17K surplus
◦ Membership dues up almost 23% from 2020
◦ Chapter growth especially strong in Denver and Southeast – leaders who promote organizational membership
◦ Donations to operating funds increased from last year, while endowment funds remained steady
• Maggie will present the 2022 budget for a vote next meeting.
• Kudos to Mo and the Finance Committee on such successful financial management of CoNPS!
• Goals for 2022
◦ Start a major donor program, with donations goal of $45,000
◦ Reach 1500 members
▪ Outreach to southern and western parts of the state
◦ Set up a monthly donation campaign to receive more $$ per member
◦ Board retreat in 2022
◦ Hire staff/intern with $5K/ year stipend to manage Media Committee
▪ Denise and Chrissy both agreed that a stipend makes sense for the role of managing the Media Committee/ Aquilegia
◦ Partnership with Warner College of Natural Resources – talk at the HAR-SER conference this spring, abstract deadline January 31 (Maggie will send abstract)
◦ Technology stipend for staff
◦ Horticulture and education committees work together on Sustainable high Altitude Gardening Education (SAGE), youth education, recruit Americorps VISTA volunteer to support adult and youth programs
▪ 40 hr a week to build capacity for organization for 3 years
◦ Increase corporate sponsorship of fundraising events (annual meeting, plant sales, garden tours)- total fundraising goal of $20K
◦ Begin conversation about promoting positions that bring in revenue, Development Director and Program Director [i.e., increasing salary and/or hours for these positions]
4. Compensation increases – Denise and Kathy (Maggie, 20 min)
Please see 2022 Finance Proposal – M.Gaddis final
Maggie proposes an increase in Denise and Kathy’s salaries of almost 50%, with them both on a consistent contract. Equity is important. Another proposal would increase their annual wages moderately for 2022, with the total increase of 22% by 2023.
Chrissy suggested that it’s time to formalize HR procedures and job descriptions to maintain smooth operations.
Kathy and Denise will write their updated job descriptions for Maggie’s review. Ann will also be happy to review.
The board will discuss the salaries in a separate meeting. Amy will send a Doodle poll to schedule a meeting before the next board meeting.
Linda will be retiring on March 31st. Joanie is interested in some admin tasks, but we won’t have an admin coordinator when we meet again. Mo recalled that Linda would be willing to train her replacement.
5. Aquilegia discussion (Maggie, 20 min)
Maggie shared proposal to hire staff/intern with $5K/ year stipend to manage Media Committee
▪ Denise and Chrissy both agreed that a stipend makes sense for the role of managing the Media Committee/ Aquilegia
6. Marshall Fire assistance to CoNPS members (Denise, 20 min)
Please see Marshall Fire GoFundMe to CoNPS Board
There are 2 members and 1 past member who have lost homes. Denise and Deryn will work on cross-referencing addresses.
Denise would like guidance about how funds will be distributed. Denise has learned that they are getting ample financial help now, but there is a concern about the tail end of the rebuilding process, once the insurance time frame has ended.
The GoFundMe has reached $5445. We should let our members know what we plan to do with the donations. Maggie will decide the closing date for the GoFundMe page and report in Feb 16 E-news. We will limit staff hours on this campaign to 10 more hours in total.
Proposed options – the board agreed with the first
• Split the funds among those three referenced above
◦ Let the recipients decide best way to use the funds, no strings attached
• Wait until we have more information and develop algorithm to help also those with less damage
• Use funds to mobilize landscaping crews to put in native landscapes for those affected
◦ We will need a liaison for each of these people to learn when they want to begin, this could take years
◦ Perhaps a plant/seed donation event in the future to help with landscaping fire-affected areas
7. Colorado Gives recap (Denise, 10 min)
Please see Colorado Gives Campaign
CoNPS has made progress during this giving event since Jen Bousselot set it up in 2016. In 2021, the total was $15068. Maggie had the idea to set up a matching grant, generously contributed by several supporters, which served as an incentive for our members.
Maggie asked if we could set up recurring donors through the CO Gives Day page – Denise said we already have 4 donors who give this way. The webpage is open all year and fees are reasonable.
Maggie sees an opportunity to promote this fundraising vehicle at every other outreach/fundraising event.
8. Webinar report – 2021 & 2022 (Kathy, 15 min)
Please see 2021 CoNPS Year-End Report-Final and CoNPS Webinars to Date 1-18-22
Final numbers for 2021: 16 webinars, including 2 special speakers; 19 states participating; 737 total participants (271% increase from 2018); net workshop program income increased by 240.2%
• Program evaluations were excellent; we appreciate our presenters!
• We can have broader participation across the state with online programs
• Our CAEE award can be mentioned in grant proposals
Future for 2022: Categories include Marshall Fire Restoration Programs/ Projects, School Programs and Service-Learning Gardening Projects, Reviving CoNPS Education Committee, Webinars/ Special Speakers Series, Maggie’s Native Plant Gardening Class, Landscape Design Consulting Group, Nursery Partnership Project
• Set up separate funds with agencies and community partners for special restoration programs in the future; provide funds for plants, tools and landscaping services; recruit volunteers
• School programs could be another revenue source
• We’d like to get back to in-person workshops when it’s safe
• Upcoming webinars – Mo on CO wildflowers, Irene Shonle on habitat gardening and native plants for year-round interest;
Pat asked how much beyond our membership can we promote these programs. Both Denise and Maggie have promoted webinars via our e-news, Aquilegia, website and social media. Denver Post calendar, CitySpark and NextDoor also offer free advertising, however, the free advertising offered by these three mentioned is nested so far away from search options, as to be of no value, per Denise
9. Colorado Science and Engineering Fair (Ann, 10 min)
Please see Colorado Science and Engineering Fair
The CSEF has been run at CSU for 67 years – to encourage middle and high school students to enter STEM fields. In the past, the Northern Chapter has supplied judges for student projects. They also give a special award in Plant Science, up to $100. Ann and Jim Gano have been judges; Jim will coordinate.
They are asking to increase the award to $200 for 2 student prizes and to 2 award winning students with CoNPS membership. This is a statewide fair; Ann advertised for volunteers in the statewide e-news. Funds for this used to come out of the E&O committee line item.
This is also a great opportunity to connect students with CoNPS’ scholarship program.
Ann will connect with Maggie about deciding on award amount and benefits
10. Conference update (Pat, 1 min)
The Boulder Chapter steering committee has lined up almost all of their speakers for the annual meeting at the Longmont Museum and will make its decision about theme in next week or so. The title is “From Peaks to Plains”, focusing on biodiversity. The steering committee will start meeting with CoNPS staff and volunteers in February to work on conference planning. A poster session of graduate student research reports might work well in the venue.
11. Minutes approval. Amy set a hard stop date on comments on board minute drafts of 1 week after the meeting. After that, she will share the minutes for approval, so that they can be posted on the CoNPS website.
Maggie closed the meeting at 7:41 pm.
Next meeting is March 8, 2022 from 5 – 8 pm via Zoom