WAEF Weekly: Board of Directors Meeting Recap

WAEF directors held their third quarter board of directors meeting at Central Washington University last week. 

Following member introductions and approval of the consent agenda, Chris Willett was nominated for election to the board of directors.  Chris is the Operations Manager for Enza Fruit based in the company’s Wenatchee office.  He has been with the company since 2009.  Chris shared that he’s been involved with WAEF for the last two years and was drawn to the organization because of the impact it is having on changing lives through education.  Chris’ involvement with WAEF has been with the student stewardship committee where he has helped plan the December career tours and the recently completed career-preparation job panel.  He was unanimously elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors.

A regular feature of WAEF board meetings is time reserved for board members to bring up “burning topics” not otherwise planned for discussion at the meeting.  During this quarter's meeting, members discussed how our messages about employment in agriculture may be coming across and steps to ensure we are communicating accurately, the appropriateness of the rigorous requirements of our scholarship application, the outcome of the student workshops held prior to the scholarship luncheons, current year contributions from the scholarship luncheons and long-term impact, the recent meeting of the counselors roundtable, timing of the golf tournaments and general discussion about the luncheons.  

Directors viewed the quarterly dashboard report.  The third quarter dashboard focuses primarily on summer event outcomes and general fundraising.  It was shown that attendance at the scholarship luncheons increased by seven percent and current year funds raised increased by 13%.  Donor retention continued to remain high.  Directors were pleased to see golf tournament revenue increased by nearly 10% this year.  This is a welcome surprise as for many years we’ve believed we are close to maxing out the tournaments fundraising potential.  Sponsor retention remains high, an important marker in WAEF tracking.

DonorPerfect is the data management software utilized by the foundation.  Directors each have access to its data for their use in thanking WAEF supporters.  A 20-minute training session on the phone app and desktop usage of the software allowed Andrew Sundquist, Ben Jensen, Dave Robison and Kailan Dunn to earn prizes (candy bars) for their efforts.

Vice-chairman James Foreman led a donor prospecting session identifying companies and individuals with the likely potential to have an interest in supporting WAEF that we believe have not been given the opportunity to get involved previously.

The board education segment focused on legal responsibilities of board members.  Care to test yourself with some sample questions? 

·         True or False.  WAEF is organized as a corporation and registered as such with the Washington Secretary of State.

·         Is it WAEF board members, officers and/or the executive director that has legal fiduciary responsibility for the foundation?

·         True or False.  Because WAEF generally has a an individual with credentials and an academic background indicating their knowledge of financial matters serving as treasurer, board members may transfer their fiduciary responsibilities to him/her.

The annual review of the executive director occurs at the August meeting.  This was the fifteenth anniversary for Jennifer Witherbee in this role.  In addition to an assessment of the prior year’s performance, directors reviewed and discussed her proposed goals and focus for the coming year.  Goals proposed aligned with the chairman’s priorities for the year and direction shared at the annual meeting in May.

Highlights of 2016/2017 goals:

·         Maintain $1 million scholarship benchmark

·         Increase funding for vocational scholarships to $20,000

·         Create a defined workplace promotion plan for employer sponsored scholarships

·         Increase alumni involvement in WAEF by 20%

·         100% of current scholarship recipients participating in one or more student stewardship activities

·         Secure grant funding for 50% of the combination of direct and indirect student stewardship costs

·         ≥ 80% board member attendance at all board meetings

·         Greater use of talent and expertise of members on the Counselors Roundtable

·         Creation of a “tool kit” for employers with an interest in recruiting young people for internships

The board of directors meets again on Thursday, November 3rd.