Board Meeting Minutes - July 8, 2020

Vision: A better food community - local, sustainable, connected.

Location: Zoom call
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 886 8386 7999
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,88683867999# US (Chicago)
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Minutes: Lee Herman
Board: Anthony Todd, Bob Kunze, Dana McKinney, Grant Kessler, Lee Herman, Sofia Jouravel
Guests: Allie Koolbeck, Brian Rutzen, Helen Park, Kate Grimm, Matthew Ruffi


Required pre-reading (PDF downloads):
(As part of Board members' Duty of Care (PDF download), preparing for Board meetings means reading and understanding the pre-reading listed below in advance of each meeting.)

Team Reports 

- Capital Campaign Team

- Operational Feasibility Study Team Report

Treasurer's Report 

- Balance Sheet

- Profit and Loss Statement

- Statement of Cash Flows

- Transaction Report

Everyone Welcome?

Proposed Refund Policy

Zoom notes to Board Members
  • Please turn your video on so you are visible and representing to Owners
  • Please also click the button upper right in your video box to edit your name; edit it to read: Your Name - Board member + your pronouns, so people know who you are in the meeting

5 min
TOPIC(s): Housekeeping 
PRESENTER: President
OUTCOME: connected, inspired, ready for productive meeting
ACTION/INTENTION: clarify meeting protocols

Zoom mechanics briefing for Owners:
  • We've muted all participants upon entry to minimize background noises that will allow everyone to clearly hear the current speaker; We're asking that you please use the chat tool or raise your hand in order to ask a question.
  • We do have an Owners Forum section planned in the meeting, so post your questions along the way and if we don't get to them in real time, we'll be sure to cover them in that section of the Agenda.
  • Turning your video on is not required, but in this time of disconnection, we would love to see your faces and we encourage you to use the video tool if you are able.
  • If you have a comment or suggestion that doesn't need discussion but you want to pass something along to us, the chat tool is great for that as well. Or, you are welcome to email the board at [email protected] with any additional thoughts or questions after this meeting.

Owner Growth Check-in
  • Owner number: 1857

10 min
TOPIC: Team Meeting Reports/Notes
OUTCOME: clarity; Board is informed across teams
ACTION/INTENTION: confirm everyone has read them; questions? follow up?
Anthony - impressions on Operational Feasibility? Giving us the fresh look we wanted?
Bob - yes! very impressed.

10 min
TOPIC: Ownership Refund Policy
OUTCOME: policy approved; plan to post it publicly and note in Newsletter
ACTION/INTENTION: discuss and approve current policy re: refunds; agree to regular review schedule
Anthony - rather than a bylaw amendment, suggest a policy (see attached document in Pre-Reading) that reflects formally our ad hoc process, with a more specific and defined process. Board decides quarterly how much is available for refunds and published.
Dana - should we check in with people with a deferred request before refunding (just to make sure they still want their refund)?
Anthony - more a procedural thing, Policy needs to say what we have to do.
Grant - we decided not to do this until open. Why do we need to do this quarterly?
Anthony - at a minimum, we need to do it annually per the bylaws. Doing it quarterly signals that we are paying attention to it. Could do it per policy and say with each one that we are not refunding until opening.
Bob - Is this first come, first served?
Anthony - may need a change to make it work that way. (action item to change)
Dana - procedural question, does responsibility for this transfer to the GM once we're open since they will oversee the annual budget for the co-op rather than the Board or is it a decision in partnership? And I think this needs to align with our fiscal year, not the calendar year, to be clear.
Anthony - fiscal year is in the bylaws. Make policy Board and GM instead.   (action item to change)
Vote to follow on Basecamp (Anthony)

10 min
TOPIC: Asking for volunteers
Kate reviewed process in attached PowerPoint (download)
Dana - I love having a process! Awesome! Sounds like these are longer duration opportunities, being on a team, having a "role"... what about event volunteers (single event assistance)?
Kate - Use the Google Sheet for those sign-ups, this process is for ongoing activities
Grant thanks for teams

10 min
TOPIC:  Treasurer's Report
OUTCOME: awareness of financial status
ACTION/INTENTION: description of financial status
Lee - reviewed financial statements
Dana - when going through books, please break out vendors so we can see where money goes

10-15 min
TOPIC:  Firebrand team report/questions
OUTCOME: shared understanding
ACTION/INTENTION: description of site visit; need for quick responses from Board; questions

Lee reported - Grant and Lee started the team, then Grant got sick, and Bob wasn’t writing a grant proposal and jumped in on the team.  He’s been immensely helpful since he’s been in the pro forma most.  Now that Grant is back, Grant is going to step back in and Grant and Bob are going to manage.  
They had their initial meeting with the Firebrand team - particularly excited about J Hannah.  They toured the outside (don’t use the corner doors at night) and had immediate ideas about rearranging the space, different services, etc.  J. Hannah indicated that she thought we should have a more secondary shopping/destination store, rather than a primary grocery store role.  They already have thoughts on labor, loading, etc.  Primary product mix team is not involved yet, but will be.  
They looked at pro forma and there’s a lot of work to do, but not hopeless.  
Sofia asked what prompted the “secondary store” comment - Lee said it was still an offhand comment at that point. 
They love the parking lot. They chatted with Marsha from Dakota on the market study.  Marsha thought all numbers would hold up as long as we had the same square footage, which made team happy.  
Challenges - The biggest hurdle is that J. Hannah thinks we need 70-75% of financing as NON bank financing.  Anthony asked why - JH is seeing as industry standard from co-op lenders right now.  The non-secured loan no longer exists, the good news is that NCB (National Cooperative Bank, which loaned to Fredericksburg) got a guarantee from SBA and guaranteed a co-op project.  They will probably have figured out how to make that work going forward. 
Dana pointed out that Fredericksburg made their second capital campaign goal.
Bob pointed out that possibilities of Advantage Illinois.  
Dana noted a question in the report that led her to ask about questions that are going to go to CTA - Lee pointed out some possible questions, but we need Firebrand to make those questions concrete first.  
Lee also pointed out that they like the building, they think it’s quirky and potentially functional.  
Dana asked about future plans for additional meetings with the board to discuss broad thoughts.  Lee said we could likely make a whole board meeting happen.  

15 min
TOPIC:  Capital Campaign team - funding feasibility assessment
PRESENTER: Lauren/Allie
OUTCOME: awareness; general approval of direction
ACTION/INTENTION: plan for assessing funding feasibility
Allie - setting expectation, review of plan
Lauren - Goal for OLC was $1.8, $1.2 remaining 
Bob - timeline?
Allie - Campaign spring 2021 is aggressive timeline
Bob - TIF is longer timeframe
Anthony - if we get expected new lease, will have two years of time, aggressive timeline is great, but if it moves some, that's probably not a problem, feasibility assessment is the critical timing, September 1st is probably good but firm
Grant - I think so but need to check on some things and get back to the team
Dana - these need to be on the timeline
Bob - yes, timeline needs an update
Lauren - we can control when we have the campaign, but also have to look at cycles for organizations and government grants, not thinking all our money would be in place by March 2021
Anthony - potentially one or two high-value owner lenders who chose not to lend. think that the Firebrand study is going to address the concerns that led them not to.
Lauren - please let us know if there are specific individuals we should reach out to
Does Board need to approve questions and lists?
Anthony - suggest posting them for review
Grant - at least Sofia and I will be looking at it, so it will get Board review
Dana - think it should be reporting item, Board needs to keep eyes in but rely on experts, "nose in, hands out"
Lauren - need two more people to help with interviews over the next couple weeks, will train them
Lauren - can we test preferred shares?
Anthony - want to have a careful chat with team about it - it's a big decision and has legal implications
Grant - OK to inquire about it, but can't commit yet. 
Anthony - Owner Loans have to be Illinois residents, donations can be from anywhere. 
Grant - LEAF program can get US loans out of state, don't know about out of country
Allie - will ping Grant and Sofia with outreach lists
Grant - maybe some folks from the callers from OLC campaigns

15 min
TOPIC: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Everyone Welcome?
PRESENTER: Lee and Dana
OUTCOME: shared awareness/understanding
ACTION/INTENTION: discussion based on reading

Choose one of the interviews in the "Everyone Welcome?" PDF to read. What 2 or 3 takeaways can we learn and take action from?

Anthony - we spend a lot of time doing education about history of co-ops, typically about white co-ops. Jessica and Malik - connections to Black and African co-ops, we don't think about that enough - there are really important analogs in other communities, should say not just come to our community but we need to learn about other communities and African American co-ops.
Dana - got her book at Up and Coming, also saw Malik on a presentation, here in Chicago. We have our connection to the Austin Food Co-op, haven't reached out to them in a while, maybe try to partner with them to build bridges and build a wider community. There are a lot of housing co-ops in Chicago, a lot of them in diverse communities. I think they are mostly south and west, but some on the North side. 
Sofia - Kelly talked about communicating with refugee rights and activists for outreach
Dana - we have Refugee One in uptown
Sofia - women's sewing co-op just opened
Grant - we've tried to keep in touch but doesn't seem to go
I had the same takeaway as Anthony about not knowing about Black co-op history, we should learn it and then tell about it, blogs, guest speaker 
Anthony - inviting someone to share it might be a more authentic approach, reach out to James to do an event, could be really useful, think it would be interesting 
Grant - Dana, others, let's figure out who might be the right person to go after
Dana - talking about farming initiatives, urban growers group run by people of color we should connect with
Anthony - one of the things we haven't been as good at as an organization to listen, get other organizations to tell us about things they are doing, need to do more listening and facilitating, less presenting
Bob - We have a significant low income population in our service area, I think we need to figure out ways to get them shop, specialty shop may not be it, impressed with what Eastgate co-op has done, make fundraising easier, we have to get serious about how to get that population to come shop, Eastgate surveyed that population to find out what they wanted and needed.
Anthony - I think we have to get the low cost ownership structure done, just have to figure out the details and move forward, would potentially get us a connection
Dana - then we have owners with voices
Lee - Malik's version of community sounded much more cohesive than ours. And we are still very separate from part of our community.
Anthony - I think we need to spend more time facilitating connections that may not have immediate impact, long term important for connection, creating spaces and audience from them
Helen -  I’ve toured urban farms in Chicago just to learn about the programs they run (for example, one also runs education/job training along with healthy eating and farming.) A virtual tour could be an option. 
Lauren - Refugee One just moved to Edgewater, but I'm a volunteer with them and know a few people on staff!
Dana - what are we doing in marketing and how do we think about how we are presenting a lot of whiteness? Need to raise our awareness,
Grant - what do we do next to keep learning?
Sofia - outreach and inclusion team?
Grant - yes, but need a Board member to be liaison
Sofia - need to move from ideas to action
Lee - yes, but leverage to have a team to do things

TOPIC: Owner Forum
ACTION/INTENTION: Hear owner thoughts/concerns, answer questions.

Matthew - The Board said they'd post a response to Ben's Open Letter, but I haven't seen it in that thread yet... Is there timing for that response?
Lee - in my queue, probably next week
Matthew - seems like addressing this more quickly would have been appropriate.
Art work in the building is really cool, is there a plan to publicize this? Next newsletter? 
Dana - was excited to see what I could online, and got something up on Facebook there as soon as artist posted, but I think it's a great idea to do a feature if we can
Grant - love the idea, but don't have the bandwidth
Matthew - will reach out to the artist and interview - information 
Dana - she has a great Instagram feed
Matthew - Is there an update on how the survey is going?
Dana - just under 200 respondents so far, would love to have everyone that opened the email respond, 600 opened it, Becky monitoring information coming in, she will come to next Board meeting, will do some analytics. Lauren and Allie (Capital Campaign team) will be talking with Becky about survey responses as well to get more financial feasibility implications for what we see in responses. Have we gotten any emails from respondents of the survey reaching out (prompt at end of survey since it's anonymous)?
Kate - got one for volunteering.
Dana - reminder email going out Friday, trying to wrap by Wednesday or Thursday next week
Matthew - Lee for walkthrough of prior spend and remaining funds
Love what consultants said about specialty, Great marketing possibilities
Re low cost ownership, time may be now, but would argue that for people for whom every dollar matters it hard to say now is good
Anthony - it will take a whole lot of work and time, need to make a decision before the end of July
Dana - also, there's a difference between announcing it and marketing it
Matthew - talk about outside consultant for funding - any idea of cost
Grant - that research is down the the road
Matthew - thanks for Capital Campaign report - that was great.
Grant - Happy Birthday to Bob!
Dana - glad you're back, Grant!

Be the first to comment.

Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Connect with our team.

Created with NationBuilder