This meeting was largely one of end-of-year business that prepares us for the coming year.
The meeting began with a request from our Youth Council for funds to support the new "Speakers of Color Series" the youth will be holding starting in March of 2017. This series will bring in inspiring adults from communities of color to speak about how they established themselves as leaders in our shared community. Look for more information about this series in the coming year. (Their request was approved.)
The 1st quarter financial reports were approved by the board after a discussion of the nature of our current deficit spending. This annual budget deficit was anticipated and approved in late 2015, as we use our reserves to build capacity and support community visions. Later in the meeting our 2017 budget was also approved, with recognition that we will likely continue to spend down reserves for another year. Our reserves are robust enough to sustain this deficit spending for a limited time, but we must be actively working toward long-term financial sustainability. Our 2017 workplan based on this budget was also formally approved.
The bulk of the meeting was spent discussing the work we have done this year with our strategic planning, as well as the work that remains. The remaining work will be done at the committee level over the course of the coming year. In the process of completing our impact mapping and revising our mission, vision and values, we realized that, individually, we do not know the full extent of the work being done by the council, and we have not set up adequate means for evaluating the impact of that work. We have begun to develop a series of logic models that look at the inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes (both short- and long-term) of each of the programs we operate. In order to develop these models we need to explicitly state our assumptions about these programs. This is work that will require all of us contributing our individual knowledge for the collective good. It should point out to us which work we continue to do, which we let go, and how we evaluate our impacts going forward.
We are grateful to the Saint Paul Foundation's Management Improvement Fund for allowing us to do this important assessment of our work. We are also grateful to our consultants - Carly Lykes Frostman (independent consultant), and Melissa Martinez-Sones (of Roger Meyer Consulting) for their help in this work. Finally, we are grateful to all the community members whose input has enriched our understanding of how our work is, and is not, meeting community expectations.