WAEF directors met yesterday at Central Washington University for their regular quarterly meeting. Chairman Bob Mast led the meeting. He was joined by directors Bart Gebers, Chris Willett, Cory Goves, Dwaine Brown, Darrin Belton, Dennis Bigness, Frank Davis, Jeff Fagg, Kailan Dunn, Larry Martin, Laurie Knebusch, LaVerne Bergstrom and Rolando Martin. Also attending were Keith Veselka of Occidental Orchards and WAEF staff members Jennifer Witherbee and Valerie Bromfield
Jennifer Magana, CWU Senior
The meeting began with a presentation from current WAEF scholarship recipient Jennifer Magana. Jennifer is a senior at CWU graduating at the end of the current term when she'll receive a bachelor's degree in bio-medicine. She will continue on to grad school after a short hiatus with the intent of building a career in animal research.
Jennifer became a WAEF student through her mom's employment at Allan Brothers. Jennifer, too, has worked at Allan Brothers in quality control and human resources. She hopes to return to the company during her break prior to grad school and explore opportunities in tree fruit research.
She shared the support of WAEF donors enabled her to attend school and begin research on campus. She would not have been able to begin her research work had she needed to work during the school year.
Board Roundtable Comments
During the board roundtable section of the meeting, a time for directors to share about recent WAEF interactions, industry news, and other relevant topics, members discussed current industry economics and how WAEF may need to approach fundraising from varied angles to continue assisting students at the same or increased levels. Thoughts about the successful career tours at Tree Top, Zirkle/Rainier and Stemilt and the annual student holiday dinners were also shared.
Board Member Recognition
WAEF board members earn "points" for the valuable efforts they make on behalf of WAEF outside of the board meetings. Thank you to Laurie Knebusch, Bob Mast, Ruth Pringle and Dwaine Brown for their efforts in 2018! The four were our top point earners for the year. In recognition of their efforts, each will receive a scholarship in their name awarded to a student this spring.
For the current quarter, Bob Mast, Ben Jensen, Rolando Martin and Chris Willett were recognized for the work they accomplished on behalf of the WAEF in November, December and January.
Larry Martin, chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee presented the committee's proposed Strategic Priorities. This work is updated every two years. The proposal from the committee was adopted with minor changes.
Four stakeholder groups are identified in the priorities with objectives, principles and desired outcomes for each.
Objective = WAEF is the charity of choice for industry's educational giving
Be transparent in endeavors and utilize funding for maximum impact
Communicate giving techniques for current & legacy giving beneficial to donors
Accurately & appropriately recognize donors for their giving
Engage donors in volunteer roles and WAEF outreach where appropriate
All donors are highly valued, and it is a top priority to retain existing donors
Seek 5% annual growth in donations
Engage 35 new donors annually (about 5% growth)
Increase alumni giving by 20% annually
Maintain volunteer force of 150+
Retain 90% of industry donors giving in excess of $1000
Objective = WAEF reflects Washington's world-class tree fruit industry in governance, work ethic, efficiency, and innovation
Be the charity of the tree fruit industry aligned with the core values of the industry
Appropriately promote and communicate the meaningful impact of WAEF's work amongst the greater community and state
WAEF students and graduates gain an appreciation of the size and scope of the industry and careers within the industry
WAEF board members are engaged and passionate in their governance of the industry's charity
WAEF board of directors consists of core industry representation on the board of directors and in leadership roles
80%+ of expenditures are utilized annually for direct student scholarships and program benefits
Students, Parents, Families
Objective = WAEF students graduate from college within the desired time frame with a career job
Students are knowledgeable of career opportunities in their home communities that match that interests
Opportunities are provided students to be graduate prepared to enter their chosen field
Outreach to parents employed in the industry occurs to help them gain familiarity with paying for college
WAEF students complete the post-secondary education/training right for them
WAEF students graduate college with meaningful jobs
75% of first-year students are retained
90% of students receiving WAEF scholarships graduate from their chosen institution
12+ students annually receive scholarships from WAEF for vocational/technical pursuits aligned with industry employment
Industry Workforce & Community
Objective = WAEF activities reinforce an appropriately educated industry workforce with loyal employees
WAEF students are aware of the employment opportunities in their local communities
Support for programs offering ESL and Citizenship preparation is provided
WAEF alumni employed in the tree fruit industry engage with WAEF
50% of current year graduates receive employment offers at least one month prior to college graduation
100% of "tree fruit" students receive employment offers at least one month prior to college graduation
Revised Staffing Model
A difficultly for WAEF in recent past has been retention of scholarship coordinators. This is an important position for the foundation and turnover has been disruptive in our small office. Past individuals serving in this role have made meaningful contributions to the organization and have grown quickly in their responsibilities with WAEF.
The board agreed to a new employment approach for the position. Responsibilities will be divided between two individuals hired at staggered intervals to each work for 18 months. Employees sought would understand the needs of our current student population and possess the ability to promote scholarships in both English and Spanish. They would work with current WAEF students, assist with the scholarship selection organization, provide scholarship training in 45+ locations and provide outreach to parents working for industry employers.
With the pre-planned 18-month work schedule, employees would be learning about employment opportunities inside the industry for themselves and others and be training for the next career move while working for the foundation. While not an internship, we would consider this a training job for college graduates seeking to launch their careers.
The monthly giving program launched at the top of the year is getting some results! Board members will continue to share with individuals working for the industry and with the industry inviting their participation. Our goal is for 250 individuals to commit to a minimum monthly donation of $25. Reaching out to industry employees is a new approach for the foundation and an effort underway to help grow our donor base to provide support for students beyond the scholarship. The promotion coincides with the foundation's 25th anniversary.
At the close of the meeting, board members began work on their annual commitments to make a difference through WAEF. This is a thoughtful exercise that asks each board member to think about their work and family commitments for the year, their personal values and determine the level of impact they want to create at WAEF in 2019.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
The next board of directors meeting occurs on May 2nd.