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Board Meeting Minutes – June 2020

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding

Board of Trustees Meeting

June 24, 2020

ZOOM Meeting – Hosted by High Hopes

Meeting called to order at 5:00 PM.

Members Present:  J. Kangley, S. Douglas, J. Ridgway, D. Welles, J. Bolles, J. Catlett, S. Hill-Canning, H. Childs, M. Fader, S. Keenan,  T. Machnik, M. Mummert, V. Newton, G. Rogers, R. Schonberger, G. Varga, P. Watt, B. Willkens

Guest: N. Bulkely

Staff:  K. Stalsburg, L. Olsen, H. Sundmacker, C. Bourn

Chair Update:

J. Kangley welcomed incoming Trustee, Nancy Bulkely and thanking Laurie LaTerza for her service as a Trustee. Laurie resigned earlier in June indicating her continued commitment to High Hopes.

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

 J. Kangley indicated that this is the annual meeting of the Board which is traditionally an opportunity to celebrate the organizational successes over the past year. In particular, an opportunity to recognize individuals via an awards ceremony. Due to the inability to meet in person, we are looking for ideas on ways that High Hopes can celebrate the annual award recipients. Trustees are invited to discuss ways that this might occur. Anyone interested in helping to organize an award celebration is asked to contact Jackie directly.  J. Kangley provided a summary of the results of the Executive Director annual review and thanked everyone for participating in this process.   The DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) work is continuing with a request to expand the cohort.  All Trustees are welcome and encouraged to participate. Currently, the group is working on the development of an implementation plan.  All material will be presented to the full board for input and approval prior to acceptance.  The target is to have a presentation to the Board in October.

Governance Report:  S. Hill-Canning reported on Governance.  Sarah recognized the outgoing officers, Jeff Ridgway, Vice Chair of Development and Deb Welles, Secretary, thanking both of these long serving Trustees for their continued commitment to High Hopes.   The Slate for the Class of 2023 was presented and approved at the April Board Meeting.  Sarah welcomed new Trustee, N. Bulkely and Nancy shared a bit about herself.  The Officers for 20-21 were acknowledged.

Officer Slate 2020-2021

Chair – Jackie Kangley

Vice Chair of Development – Peter Watt; Co Chair – Jeff Ridgway

Secretary – Vickie Newton

Treasurer – Scott Douglas


Motion:  To approve the Standing Committee Chairs:  Peter Watt – Vice Chair of Development; Scott Douglas – Chair of Finance; Sarah Hill Canning – Chair of Governance and Mac Mummert- Chair of HRAC.  Approved.

Executive Director Report:  K. Stalsburg gave kudos to the staff for their continued management of the business changes in light of COVID.  Highlights of this past year included new staff members, C. Bourn and E. Belliveau.  They Year of the Volunteer has seen some changes in communication and overall volunteer management strategy.  With the current situation, this will continue to change. Program successes include the Reins of Empowerment pilot with LOL Middle School.  This is ready to expand with other school systems.  The current Strategic Plan has seen significant activity in both the Program and Volunteer initiatives.  The next focus will be on expanding collaborations and strategic partnerships. Previous session with FIO Partners initiated this endeavor.  K. Stalsburg reviewed the compiled collaboration document of existing partnerships.  This area will be a focus over the next few months and a work group will be formed to help with further identification and prioritization of these relationships. The completion of the Endowment Campaign is another highlight of this past year.  Many thanks to all who have both led this campaign and participated in it.

C. Bourn provided an overview of the re-opening plan and current situation. Phase 1 has seen the return of equine care volunteers and nearly 12 participants who require less hands on support. Beginning July 1st, this will be expanding to include up to 10 participants per day/50 per week.  Camps will begin on July 6th.  All activities will be diligently following safety protocols and guidelines.  Collaboration opportunity with VETS is underway as well as continued work with the Norwich Vet Center. Memory Care Program Curriculum has been developed and will be available when future activities can resume with this population. Given the nature of this pandemic and the need to reimagine services, there will be a meeting later in the summer to brainstorm ways in which High Hopes can respond.  The Program Task Force and interested Trustees are invited to participate. Preparation for the return of both volunteers and participants includes a survey, health screening and video demonstration of expectations.

Training and Education activities has evolved quickly in response to the inability to host in person events.  S. Miller and other staff are presenting 4 webinars on various topics.  Currently there are 32 people enrolled from all over the world including Bosnia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico.

H. Sundmacker provided an update on the herd. Helpful to have the volunteers back and staff returning for schooling. Horse usage is predictably low and had been on the decline prior to March.  This has precipitated the decision to suspend new horse acquisition at this time and ultimately, reduce the herd size through attrition to reach 20.  This change will require more creativity in scheduling.  Building and Grounds suspended all capital projects for 19-20 and 20-21.  The Committee will be looking at reprioritizing Capital improvements for the future.

Treasurer’s Report:  S. Douglas reported that the key focus moving forward will be flexibility and the necessity to be able respond quickly to changes in the business environment.  Staff has proposed a solid budget with conservative assumptions. This will need to be monitored frequently with the ability to make changes.  The Executive and Finance Committees have both recommended the proposed budget for approval.

L. Olsen presented the key assumptions (limited earned revenue, optimistic fundraising activities and expense cuts) and budget as summarized in the attached document.

Motion: To approve the proposed budget for the fiscal year, 2020-2021.  Approved.

Dashboard Results (as of 6/24/2020)

  • Cash in local banks $368,670 (Includes PPP loan of $152,000)
  • Accounts Payable $3,802
  • Accounts Receivable $7,157 in participant open balances. Of the potential liability of refunded participant tuition of $34,468, to date $4,510 has been refunded; $6,305 has been donated and remaining $23, 650 has not been determined.
  • Portfolio Balance $4,938,166

Development Report:  J. Ridgway provided an update on Development activities.  He expressed appreciation for the leadership of the Big Virtual Event.  The Auction Chairs, B. Willkens and R. Schonberger were instrumental in the pivot, making everything virtual.  This event raised over $140,000.  Many thanks to the entire Development Team and Event Manager, T. Burgess who worked diligently to run a success, new event.  The next activity is the Holiday Market which will likely be a virtual activity which we are exploring.  We will be launching the Raffle fundraiser shortly which will allow for either a car or money prize. June is Leave a Legacy month and Jeff invited all Trustees to consider joining the Legacy Society as a means of providing High Hopes with future sustainability.  Jeff welcomed P. Watt as the new Vice Chair of Development.   Fundraising in the next year is a vital part of the revenue in the budget and it will take a village. Thank you to all the Trustees for your assistance and help in so many ways.

Program Report:  J. Bolles reported that the Program Task Force has not met but she is looking forward to working with staff to put together meetings focusing on revision of services and collaborations.

HRAC:  M. Mummert reported on HRAC.  The completion of the ED Annual review was finalized.  There will be no salary increases in this upcoming fiscal year.  The position of Volunteer Coordinator will remain vacant.

Other Business:

K. Stalsburg advised the next Board Meeting is scheduled for September 30, 2020. The proposed meeting dates for 20-21 have been distributed. Please consider the meeting format and time.  Agenda ideas are welcome.  Suggestions included a zoom meeting with other programs internationally, discussion with other nonprofits who have had success with DEI implementation plans.

Meeting adjourned at 6:27 PM



Kitty Stalsburg

Secretary pro tem

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