WAEF directors met earlier today for their regular quarterly meeting held at Central Washington University. Chairman Kailan Dunn called the meeting to order with 16 of the 19 directors present for this meeting.
A presentation from WAEF student Ivan Morales was at the top of the agenda.
Ivan graduated from Tonasket High School last spring and soon after completed his AA degree at Wenatchee Valley College through running start. This is his first year as a college student though he is enrolled in junior level classes and has declared Criminal Justice as his major. He intends to enroll in law school after his college graduation.
Ivan shared this his parents were thrilled when he accepted at CWU but that they did not know what to expect. He added that the new student orientation presentation at the WAEF luncheon was very helpful to them, in addition to the luncheon presentation. Many times in his presentation Ivan expressed what a different his Foreman Fruit scholarship has made to his ability to attend college.
Frequently throughout the meeting references were made to the meaningful thoughts he shared about his transition to college as a first generation student raised in Tonasket.
At each board meeting members review a dashboard report with quick reference to relevant metrics. Reported at this meeting:
- 100% of current board members have given a personal financial gift to the foundation in the last 12-months.
- As we are nearing year-end, just over $100,000 is left to raise in unrestricted funds. Opportunities to achieve that include the Donate A Bin campaign, annual giving, Rears raffle ticket sales and the auction held during the annual meeting banquet in December.
- WAEF is up to date with government and general compliance reporting.
The 2017 WAEF budget was approved as presented by treasurer Dwaine Brown. It is anticipated $1.7 million will be raised next year with over 70% coming through scholarship and other restricted fund donations. This aligns very closely with the current year. Expenses are also expected to be on par with the current year with modest increases planned for in operations (6%), fundraising (7%), unrestricted programs (5%) and scholarships (5%).
The bulk of the three-hour meeting was spent in preparation for the next strategic planning committee meeting. Members worked in groups to answer important questions about the foundation:
- What does it mean to be the charity of the tree fruit industry?
- How do we impact lives through access to education now? Are there other ways that might be done?
- Who are our stakeholders? What are our responsibilities to them?
- What do we need to do to successfully meet our responsibilities to stakeholders?
Much more time will be spent by the strategic planning committee to analyze responses and pull key themes through to measurable actions. In a quick summary, it was noted that we have responsibilities to the industry as a whole, our donors - both internal & external to the industry, our students and their parents, our grant recipients, members of the board of directors and staff.
The next topic discussed was endowments. WAEF currently has an endowment for our Farmworker Education Program ($20,000), a general endowment for long term sustainability ($13,000) and an endowment for Beyond the Scholarship student stewardship activities ($62,000). In addition to several permanent funds established for specific scholarships.
Directors discussed if a need existed to pursue greater endowment funding. On the pro side were the reduction of risk during turbulent years in the industry and the ability to ensure sustainability long term. On the con side was the potential impact if resources were diverted from current priorities. This has been a discussion that has returned time and time again for board discussion for over 20 years.
Resolution was not found for the long term but for the short term, focus will remain on making the greatest impact on students and our communities.
Scholarships Outreach Efforts
A review of efforts underway to award $1 million in scholarship in 2017 were discussed. The board is committed to making sure students in 2017 receive the same level of support or greater.
Scholarship outreach has already started. Packets were sent to schools in early September with posters, scholarship training prompts and counselor information.
- Scholarship training at 41 high schools & colleges and three warehouses are currently on the WAEF calendar.
- To increase vocational applicants, posters and information are delivered to vocational advisors when visiting high schools for scholarship training. Scholarship training is scheduled currently with YV Tech and Columbia Basin Tech in Tri-Cities. We are still working on scheduling with tech high schools in Wenatchee and Moses Lake.
- Employer outreach has started. In June a session occurred with representatives from seven different employers with the purpose of understanding how we can best assist employers share about scholarships. Additional materials have been created for distribution to employers with WAEF scholarships.
Three new scholarship funds have been created since August.
The next board of directors meeting is scheduled for February 2nd.
For a list of the current members of the board of directors, click here.