Quarterly Board of Directors Meeting Report

 Quarterly Board of Directors Meeting Report

The WAEF board of directors held its quarterly meeting last week on the CWU campus. The meeting was led by chairman James Foreman (Foreman Fruit) and attended by 12 members of the board of directors: Bob Mast (CMI Orchards), Dwaine Brown (Tree Top), Chris Willett (Enza Fruit), Kailan Dunn (HR Spinner), Bart Gebers (Key Bank), Cory Groves (Spinner Wood Products), Dan Plath (Washington Fruit & Produce), Darrin Belton (Wilbur Ellis Company), Dave Robison (Robison Orchards), Jeff Fagg (Northwest Farm Credit Services) and La Verne Bergstrom.

 Guests were Rolando Martin and Nick Plath, both of Washington Fruit & Produce.

 Also introduced was new WAEF student outreach coordinator Kelsey Martinson. This is a new position at WAEF beginning last month.


Laurie Knebusch, general manager of Cowiche Growers, was elected at the meeting to serve a three-year term on the WAEF board of directors. There are currently 19 elected members on the WAEF board of directors.

 The board voted to invite former board member and past chairman of the WAEF board of directors Hans van Someren Grève to the Counselors Roundtable. Hans was a member of the WAEF board of directors from 1997 to 2017. He served as chairman in 2004.

 Scholarship Luncheons

Directors spent some time discussing the recent scholarship luncheons held last month in Wenatchee and Yakima. Overall comments about the event were positive with mentions of the keynote and student speakers, introductory videos, theme for the event and punctual ending. Ideas were shared on direction for next year and a challenge to increase attendance as it is an uplifting event and a great way to showcase WAEF.

 Scholarship Application Process

Scholarship committee chairman Cory Groves presented a plan to streamline the application process. Current WAEF students will all be invited to complete a renewal application with an earlier deadline. Students new to WAEF will continue with the current process. Robust discussion of pros and cons of the proposal occurred with directors electing to implement the process for the 2018 application year.

 Strategic Plan

At the May board of directors meeting, strategic planning committee chairman Jeff Fagg introduced the new plan drafted by the committee over the past few months. The document is a departure from those utilized in the past by WAEF condensing the current 20-page document down to two focused pages. With some thoughtful changes shared by members of the board, the document was approved. Further work on strategies will occur at the November board of directors meeting.

Strategic Planning Document

 NCW Spelling Bee

WAEF assistant director Jillian Rice requested approval to enter into a contract with Scripps for the 2018 NCW regional spelling bee. Directors approved the request.

November Board of Directors meeting

The November board of directors meeting will be a full day meeting facilitated by Northwest Farm Credit Service's Carl Sohn to tackle some important issues in the governance structure of WAEF, planning for the future and achieving the goals of the foundation. Chairman James Foreman spent a short period of time introducing some of the meeting objectives and encouraging members to prepare to get the most from the dedicated time.

 Board Member Recognition

This spring a system of recognizing board members for the impacts they made individually through their board service was introduced. Members earn "points" for activities that contribute to the growth of WAEF and its sustainability, providing good governance and serving as foundation ambassadors. Chris Willett, Dan Plath and Ruth Pringle were recognized for their efforts and earning the highest points in the second quarter of this year.

 Dashboard Report

The second quarter dashboard report provided insights on the luncheons and golf tournaments held since the last board meeting.

            Luncheons - Attendance increased 15% over the prior year with sponsorship income also increasing by 17%.

            Golf tournaments - Both tournaments were at capacity. A changing in the pricing structure and uptick in sponsorships resulted in an increase in revenue of 12% over the prior year.

 A tracking of unrestricted income showed that 2017 was trending slightly higher than the year prior with work yet to be done this year to achieve the unrestricted income goal. Unrestricted income is necessary to ensure the foundation can operate, provide the scholarship program and ensure effective management of donor contributions.

 The board has established a goal of increasing scholarships to a sustainable $1 million benchmark. To do this in 2018, an additional $100,000 in scholarships must be raised. The dashboard report noted that slight progress had been made with a significant portion of scholarship funding yet to be secured.

 Annual Executive Director Review

WAEF executive director Jennifer Witherbee has served in this role for the past 16 years. Annually at the August board of directors meeting, she provides a review of the prior year's goals and presentation of goals for the coming year. Following the presentation, directors assess her performance of the prior year and provide input to help the foundation grow.

Primary goals for the coming year include:

·         $100,000 in new scholarships by May 2018

·         75% of first year students qualify for second year funding

·         75% of students with interests in tree fruit industry careers participate in career building activities, mentorships, job shadows, etc.

·         90% of donors giving $1000+ in the prior year renew their support

·         Overall growth of WAEF by 5%

These goals were broken into activities and interim measures.

 After the meeting adjourned, directors stayed for lunch and to brainstorm next steps to sustainably achieve the $1 million scholarship benchmark in 2018.

 The next meeting is scheduled for November 2, 2017.