Board Papers, Meeting Materials and Minutes, Trustees

Board Meeting Minutes – September 2019

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding

Board of Trustees Meeting

September 25, 2019

Meeting Called to order at 5:01 PM.

Members Present:  J. Kangley, S. Douglas, J. Ridgway, D. Welles, M. Fader, S. Hill-Canning,

  1. Keenan, L. LaTerza, M. Mummert, V. Newton, P. Watt, B. Willkens

Absent Excused:  J. Bolles, J. Catlett, H. Childs, G. Rogers, R. Schonberger, G. Varga

Absent Unexcused:  T. Machnik

Staff:  K. Stalsburg, C. Bourn, S. Miller, L. Olsen, S. Qua, S. Sundmacker, D. Artiles, E. Belliveau,

  1. Burgess

Guests: K. Burdette and L. Ives

  1. Kangley opened the meeting with roll call and introduced the new Volunteer Manager, Emily Belliveau. S. Miller introduced two of the four current ITC’s, Kendall Burdett and Lana Ives.

Chair Update:

Motion:  To approve the consent agenda and committee minutes previously submitted.  Approved.

  1. Kangley discussed Board goals. One Board goal that has evolved is to have an active, engaged Board in which all members feel they are performing a worthwhile task and being used to the most of their ability. To that end, throughout the year board members will be contacted to ensure they are happy with the committees they are on, gather feedback, etc. Another Board goal is to ensure 100% Board participation in the endowment campaign and Annual Appeal.  Contact Jackie if you have any suggestions regarding potential goals.

Executive Director Report:  K. Stalsburg introduced our new Program Director, Chelsea Bourn, to the Board and commended all the new staff members for their hard work as the Academic Semester begins.

Building and Grounds:  H. Sundmacker reported on Building and Grounds.  The Building and Grounds Committee met in early September to review the 5-year, projected capital project list.  There were no big surprises and no items needed to be moved. The capital projects for 2019-20 are small in number but large in cost…a roofing project, HVAC upgrades, and a few smaller projects.  Some great facility volunteer groups have come through this year, and we expect 2-3 more groups before the end of October.  The primary focus will be to get fencing in good shape before the winter.

Equine:  We currently have a waiting list of trial horses which is typical for the fall.  Arthur, who came from the Glenholme School, has just finished his trial and has been accepted. This brings the herd to 25 working horses which is a comfortable number for the amount of riders currently served.  Axle will be retired from Program with the hopes he will return to High Hopes as a valued member of the herd once he has aged.

Program:  C. Bourn reported that the Academic program has begun. The first week consisted of a volunteer-only training to give volunteers a refresher as well as a chance to meet the new volunteer team, horses they’ll be working with, and participant updates.  Currently we are at three participants per class, but will be working on adding a fourth where feasible in terms of volunteer resources.  As this is the year of the volunteer, focus is on volunteer training and prioritizing horse handler training which is the largest area of need. The program goal is to increase to 4-5 participants per class before the winter.  In the interim, Program is looking at adding unmounted classes for individual and small groups which will use less resources but generate the same amount of income.  Chelsea has been working with Lyme/Old Lyme Middle School to add an unmounted program for identified youth in addition to getting the Veteran’s program up and running. K. Stalsburg added that it was a deliberate organizational decision to trim back on class sizes which will have an impact on revenue generation for the first quarter.  This was a quality assurance decision due to the change of three key staff positions as well as the shortage of volunteers.

Training and Education:  S. Miller reported that this summer was filled with many interns from many geographic areas, while the fall focuses on ITC’s and the educational piece.  October 1 should be the launch of PATH’s new credentialing on the Certified Therapeutic Riding Instruction (CTRI).  Due to some PATH Int’l. staff changes, the Equine Skills and Handling certificate program has been put on hold.  High Hopes was to be the pilot for this program.  The November ESMHL workshop is full, and a waitlist has been started.  There are still approximately 700 PATH individuals in process working through their educational and mentored teaching hours.  At some point they’ll need to become certified, so we are hoping to see a flurry of certifications. T&E will continue running status quo through December 2020 when it will make a full switch over.

Finance:  S. Douglas summarized that it is difficult to look at our financials through a critical eye. There has been very strong expense management as well as very strong, successful development management.  In addition, we’ve had very good experiences with the Endowment Campaign as well as grants.  We are in a very strong financial position which allows some flexibility with Program and staffing.  L. Olson reported that we are finishing up with the audit, and she and the auditors are in sync.  They are currently preparing the financial statement to be published and shared with the greater public.  Comparing year end numbers to budget, there are some areas that appear to exceed goals due to capturing in-kind goods and services (which show up as revenue.)  We have also switched from cash-basis accounting to the accrual form of accounting.  This means large, multi-year commitments are captured in the year in which the commitment was made.  Currently our portfolio stands at $4.5 million.  Due to the temporary decrease in Program, there will be a deficit from budget in earned income.  Cash on hand in local banks totals $175,178 and payables are at $8,468.  Bottom line summary:  Total Revenue:  $1,767,270 actual vs. $1,498,316 budgeted.  Total Program Expenses:  $901,035 actual vs. $868,001 budgeted.  Total G&A expenses:  $576,399 actual vs. $624,256 budgeted. Total Expenses:  $1,591,637 actual vs. $1,592,257 budgeted.  Revenue Over (Under) Budget:  $175,633 vs. -$93,941.

  1. Stalsburg shared that we are waiting to get the final adjustments from the auditors. Once the final audited financials are distributed, Trustees have the fiduciary responsibility to review them and respond.

Development:  T. Burgess handed out packets of raffle tickets to each Trustee.  S. Qua asked that each Trustee sell 5 tickets at $50 each.  Ticket sales are presently over $12,000, and with everyone’s participation the car will be paid off. ($20,000)  Trudy also asked Trustees to pick up and distribute flyers for the Holiday Market/Raffle.  S. Qua gave details of an additional Development event to be held on February 6, 2020 at the New York Yacht Club in New York City.  Rives Potts will be the speaker on the theme “Facing Courage.”  All Trustees will be invited. Please let Development know of any guests you feel should be included…the goal is 100 attendees.  In addition, Development is currently looking for a sponsor for this no-charge event.

Please let Sara know if you know of any business which may be interested.

  1. Qua gave a presentation on the 2019/2020 Fundraising Plan. See PowerPoint.
  2. Stalsburg discussed the annual Lytt Gould Leadership Award. This year the recommendation is to present the award to Lee and Bernadette Olivier. The award presentation will be at the October 6 annual award celebration.  Celebration! details:  Sunday, October 6, 1-3:00 PM.  Pizza, salad and dessert will be served.  BYOB and chair.  RSVP to Diana Artiles,

Governance:  S. Hill Canning reported the Governance Committee will be meeting on October 8.  A new member, Nancy Bulkeley, is coming on board.  Governance will be reviewing policies, procedures and bylaws this year.  In addition, they are looking for names for possible new trustees, although next year only one slot may be available.  The Committee will also be conducting interviews with those Trustees who have completed their first, second or third 3-year terms.

HRAC:  M. Mummert reported on HRAC.  The Human Resource Committee has not met this fall. Three new employees have been hired and are doing well.  One primary goal is to look at staff wages…there is a need to be fiscally responsible, but we also want to be competitive as well as retain staff.  In addition, HRAC will be providing input on succession planning and retention strategies, as well as how to withstand competition. The Committee will meet again this winter.

Other Business:  The next Board Meeting will be held January 22, 2020.  Please let Kitty know any thoughts or ideas on agenda items.

  1. Willkens asked if anyone would like to help with the Tasting Tent at the Holiday Market. The tent is open from 12-3:30 with two working shifts. Email Barbara if you are interested…it was a big hit last year!

Meeting adjourned at 6:19 PM.


Diana Artiles

Secretary pro tem













Sign up for our newsletter