Really want to stay in the loop about Chicago Market's progress? You'll want to read these summaries of our monthly Board meetings. They'll be posted here by the end of each month. (Yes ... we know this one's a bit late ...)
Board President Grant Kessler kicked off the meeting by praising the Board for adding volunteers to their teams.
Anthony Todd of Marketing noted we've had trouble recruiting tablers. People are concerned that tabling prevents them from doing other volunteer work, which is not true. He suggested more-targeted efforts to recruit tablers.
Emily Crespo of Events said tablers need an experienced person with them, to set up the tent, run the credit card app, etc.
Treasurer Greg Berlowitz gave the finance report and explained a bit about co-op funding. Funding for cooperatives in Illinois is strictly limited by current state law. Unlike traditional for-profit corporations which can attract investors with profit potential, or not-for-profit corporations which can attract donors with tax deduction benefits, cooperatives are limited to funding through: Owner equity, Owner loans, Private and public grants not restricted to 501(c)(3) organizations, Community Development Financial Institution funding, Tax Incremental Financing, and Traditional Bank Loans. Chicago Market's current assets include the Owner equity we have raised through our 659 Owners. Right now, the Funding team is finalizing our business plan and preparing to meet with funders and move forward with a broad and ambitious financial plan this fall.
Malcolm Haar asked about creating an Audit Committee. Mike Sullivan noted that the draft bylaws contemplate one.
Our estimated expenses for 2016 are $122,000.
Dan Miller gave the site-selection report. He listed the benefits/drawbacks of leasing vs. buying. With buying, the upfront cash outlay is huge, but we get more control of the property and it lends us credibility. With leasing, the upfront costs are much less, we can deduct rent from our taxes, and it gives us more mobility.
Dan said we will start running site-specific numbers once more locations are considered.
Greg, Tony Neuhoff and Malcolm discussed the business plan.
All Board members should be reading and commenting on the plan.
It was created based on our old business plan, Sugar Beet's plan and a model food co-op business plan, along with suggestions from several finance-savvy volunteers.
Mike updated the Board on the bylaws. He added a section about hiring a general manager. The decision will require a majority vote of ALL Board members, not just those present. The bylaws also call for an annual meeting of both Owners, as well as an annual meeting of the Board (to elect officers).
If not enough Owners show up at the annual meeting to have a quorum to elect Board members, the Board would be able to appoint a Director to fill any vacant seats until another Owners meeting.
The Board remains committed to finding people of color to fill open positions in the future.
Anthony reported on the Marketing team. He noted that Chicago Market is now advertising in a variety of outlets. It is too early to track the success of that campaign.
Anthony and Kelly discussed Owner recruitment. Volunteer Jen Vest is crafting a campaign to build urgency in recruiting Owners. It will kick off at the upcoming annual Owner's meeting, and will include recruitment incentives.
Owner recruitment requested creating a new timeline reflecting very slow growth in Owners. Everyone agreed that would be helpful for future planning. Anthony noted that we are spending a tremendous amount of time and resources for each new Owner this summer.
Mark told the group he's going to be working at Sugar Beet co-op one or two days a week once it opens.