DCF Board Meeting November 25, 2004

Douglas-Coldwell Foundation Board Meeting
November 25, 2004 10:00 a.m.
NDP Federal Office Boardroom, Ottawa

Tessa Hebb, David Mackenzie, Kealey Cummings, Marion Dewar
By phone: Howard Pawley, Lynn Williams

Robert Needham, Anne Scotton, Ted Jackson, Fraser Green, Nanci Morrison, Joy Langan

Guests: Audrey Moey, Doug Massey

1. Approval of minutes from previous Board meeting, April 20, 2004.

Tessa Hebb explained that the minutes are in the public domain on our website in accordance with our policy of being open and transparent.

David Mackenzie asked if there was an update on Ted Jackson's work with Carl Nicholson from the last meeting. Marion Dewar offered to follow up on this issue.

Motion to adopt the minutes from the previous meeting
M/S/Carried DM/HP

There were no additions to the Agenda as tabled.

2. President's Report

Tessa Hebb reported that there have been two resignations since the last meeting, both due to a change in personal circumstances:

Nanci Morrison (Treasurer) and Audrey Moey (Administrator).

These resignations are accepted with regret.

The Treasurer's position is therefore open; however, the Treasurer does need to be someone in Ottawa, as there are checks to be signed, etc.

The Treasurer should also be someone with good contacts for fundraising.

Tessa Hebb will approach Pat Kerwin as Treasurer or to come on as a Board member.

There is another vacancy on the Board - Judy Wasylycia-Leis was approached, but has declined because of other commitments. As it is important that there be a sitting MP on our Board, TH will take as advisement from the sitting caucus to approach Alexa McDonough to join the Board.

Audrey Moey's resignation due to a hectic schedule around 3 young children, and considerable travel time to the office.

Doug Massey, who is highly recommended by Audrey and others at Federal Office, has agreed to take on the Administrator's responsibilities. Doug also has website skills, which will be an asset.

Our website IS our window on the world - TH reported that the public know more about us through our website than do members within the Party.

We do have to look at how to make us better known within the Party.

Motion of thanks to Audrey Moey

Howard Pawley asked if letters of thanks will go out to departing Board members. Tessa Hebb replied that they will receive a letter from herself, plus a resolution of thanks from the office.

Tessa Hebb suggested that the more inactive members of the Board be asked if they would like to continue. Joy Langan has been more active, through the use of email, even though she is on the West Coast. Rob Needham could not join us today, but has indicated that he wants to be involved.

Marion Dewar asked if Board members should/could bring projects of interest to the Board. She was concerned about potential conflict of interest issues when approached about supporting a project. TH replied that Board members are welcome to bring projects of interest to the Board's attention, as this provides a much-needed level of screening: as we do not have a large staff, it helps to know that projects fit our mandate before they come to the Board.

Marion Dewar will renew her contact with Carl Nicholson.

David Mackenzie commented that Board members can abstain from votes on projects they are associated with in order to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest.

TH reported that our membership is declining because, sadly, many members are passing on.

At the Officers' meeting yesterday, TH reported that the goal is to have a membership base to sustain operations to the tune of $10,000 per annum. We are therefore looking at a minimum of 100 members, at a membership and donation rate of $100 each.

AM reported that the few inquiries from potential new members have not been very successful, as our members currently do not receive any tangible benefits, e.g. a newsletter, a gift, etc.

Discussion about what premiums can be offered to members to join or renew - perhaps the Tommy Douglas Tribute CD. We can also build on interest in Tommy Douglas generated by The Greatest Canadian show on CBC.

FG will be asked to join the next Officers' meeting to explore these and other ideas.

If we can reach the $10,000 membership base, this will cover our annual costs, including administration, staff support, rent, and annual audit.

Tessa Hebb reported that our challenge in the near future is to drive our portfolio up to $1 million. It is currently at roughly $700,000. $1 million dollars will enable us to give out $50,000 a year.

Raising $300,000 should not be difficult, as we can legitimately use the Douglas and Coldwell names in seeking support; our slightly aging membership may also be thinking of leaving a meaningful legacy through the DCF's work.

Lynn Williams asked if we know who the significant givers are. TH responded that while we do not have a list, it is not difficult to find them, as the people around the table probably know them, or are part of that list. However, we should avail ourselves of such lists as part of our fundraising strategy.

Howard Pawley suggested that we ask for contributions aimed at specific projects - through party wings/newsletters.

TH agreed: we've moved from funding small book projects towards $7,500 - $10,000 projects - we now have a track record. We've been on autopilot for the last few years - it's time to get more activist again!

TH reported that the government is recommending that foundations distribute 4 - 5% of our investment returns per year, thus for the current fiscal year, she suggests that we distribute 5% (current portfolio returns are at 8%) in grants and hold back 3%. This 5% to be distributed translates to $32,000, compared to last year's $25,000.

Howard Pawley brought up the possibility of attracting contributions from trade unions, who may be looking for a place to redirect their donations due to changes to the Elections Financing Act.

All present agreed that this idea should be pursued.

Motion to approve President's Report

3. New Projects

Tessa Hebb presented this item, in Ted Jackson's absence.

Projects that received the Committee's recommendation to be brought to the Board:

1. “Community Ownership Solutions” - a community project based in Manitoba that promotes inner city revitalization - $7,500

2. Susan Scott, British Columbia-based author of a book on women and homelessness, has found a publisher since we received her request for support. She also has the support of Joy Langan. Committee suggests we provide a grant of $1,000 to her publisher, and suggest that she seek a matching grant from the BOAG Foundation.

Howard Pawley suggested that the DCF contribution NOT be contingent upon her obtaining a matching grant. Agreed by all present.

3. Birdsong - a production company based in Saskatchewan has approached us before for funding to do a documentary on Allan Blakeney. At the time, we declined and asked them to resubmit their request should they receive funding from SK. They have recently received $5,000 from the SKNDP.

Howard Pawley mentioned that the MB NDP is working on a project about the Pawley/Schreyer years - could the Birdsong project be in direct competition in the documentary arena?

Tessa Hebb explained that we've turned down all requests from SK that have not been supported by their own provincial organizations. Feels that we should support this one now that they've gotten support from Saskatchewan. - $5,000

4. Apathy Is Boring

AM gave a brief overview of the project, its creators, and history. While the purpose (to get more young people engaged in the political process) is laudable and the events planned creative, the scope of this project, and its budget, are so large that the members present felt that whatever contribution the DCF could make would not make a significant impact.

Tessa Hebb likes the project but felt that their ask is too large.

Marion Dewar suggested that they might be more successful if they submitted a more targeted request. Not recommended at this time.

5. CKUT Homelessness Marathon - campus radio station based in Montreal will broadcast from the streets of Montreal in Feb. 2005, reaching out to young listeners across the country. The program will be picked up by other campus stations. $2,000

Tessa Hebb suggested giving $2,000 (one fifth of their project cost).

Checks for the approved projects to be mailed in January.


4. Scholarship Update

Tessa Hebb reported that our scholarship commitments are as follows:

University of Regina - $3,000 (two theses)

Woodsworth College, University of Toronto - $1,800 for 3 scholarships

Carleton University - Kalmen Kaplanski & Beverlee Bell awards - unclaimed. We have to encourage applicants for these two awards.

CALM awards - we have not been approached to continue our support for these.

Our profile as funders at these institutions is a positive spin-off from our scholarship grants.

5. Membership Drive
Tessa Hebb outlined the format of the upcoming membership drive:

A letter signed by Tessa Hebb and a Board member will be mailed to the people on the Board member's list. This letter will be followed up with a phone call from the Board member in question.

A call centre is also possible, but is never as effective as a personal call. The letters will go out first. David Mackenzie would be willing to call his own list of people.

6. Nomination Committee report -
was covered under President's Report.

7. Other Business

David Mackenzie commented that although our profile has been heightened due to the prevalence of Google searches, there is also good “chatter” out there generated by networks like ETAG and Solidarity - two projects we've been supporting - thus the rebuilding of the DCF that Tessa Hebb has presided over has been done the right way. The challenge ahead is to ensure that our infrastructure can handle the new traffic and the new directions that we're heading in.

Lynn Williams asked if groups we have funded are kept on our mailing list. Tessa Hebb responded that we do keep them informed, but we need to be more aggressive in asking them to join. Also, typically, donors in the past have not been members. When we embark on the membership drive, we should remember that the direct ask from someone the donor knows cuts through the clutter of all the other asks out there.

We will also focus on the themes of leaving a legacy, time to give back, etc. With aging baby-boomers making up the majority of our target membership base, this is the best way to proceed.

Next meeting
Thursday, May 5, 2005
11:00 am - this so that Joy Langan and David Woodbury may be able to participate if the time were later.

This Board meeting will be combined with the Annual General Meeting.
There will be an informal lunch after the meeting.

Motion to Adjourn

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