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Fall 2015 Board Meeting Summary Letter

by Corinna Snyder, EEFC Board President

It was a productive and fun fall meeting that brought together three new board members, four continuing members, and one long-standing team member in a new role. Our new board members are: Noel Kropf, our new Secretary, and Ad Hoc Tech Task Force Chair; Helen Marx, our new Vice President; and Barbara Uhlemann, our new Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair. Our continuing members are Amy Mills, who will continue as Fundraising Committee Chair; Demetri Tashie, continuing as Program Committee Chair; Corinna Snyder, continuing as President; and Elena Erber, who will continue as Marketing Committee Chair. We welcomed General Manager Rachel MacFarlane as a full participant in our two-day meeting.

The board met in New York City, and thanks to the generosity of PwC’s (PricewaterhouseCoopers’) Corporate Responsibility program, we were able to use conference space in midtown Manhattan for the meeting, at no cost. We also had a team dinner on Friday night at the nearby Balkanika restaurant, with great food (and beer) from all across the Balkans.

Our agenda followed the cadence that we’ve established over the past few years. On day 1 the committee and task force chairs shared updates on their efforts over the 6 months, discussed their short- and long-term goals and needs, and the board collectively developed 6- and 12-month goals for each committee and task force. On day 2 we discussed the broader horizon for the organization. This time we brought in two outside consultants who work with organizations like ours on strategic planning efforts, to ask them: What do we need to be doing to prepare for our longer-term sustainability?

We all serve on the board because we are passionate about the EEFC. We want to bring the joy of Balkan music and dance to as many people as possible, and we want to make sure the EEFC has the resources and supports it needs to endure for years to come. As a board we always struggle with tension between our lofty and exciting goals, and the reality of our very limited resources. I am proud of the team for being able to commit to individual and committee goals for the next 6 to 12 months that were both meaningful and achievable, given the resources we have as an organization—both financially and in terms of time by staff, board members and other volunteers. This was a great accomplishment.

We have a beloved and important program (our two camps) and as a board and a community our core goal is to assure its sustainability. As a result of our conversations on Saturday, we agreed that we do not currently have the capacity (resources/staff/infrastructure) nor an immediate need to implement a significant strategic plan, and that what we need to do is develop a more immediate plan (18-36 months) to make the EEFC sustainable. We agreed on the need for three things:

  1. A fund development plan that delivers a secure income stream and a solid base of funds well invested to provide returns over the long term
  2. A clear understanding of who current members/camp participants are, and a clear understanding of who our future members/camp participants might be, and a plan for turning them into campers
  3. The right amount of staff, infrastructure and resources for us to be sustainable, with the goal of having the capacity to grow in the future in response to board and community goals.

We all left our meeting feeling energized by our shared clarity on what we are  going to be doing, collectively, and individually, for the next 6 to 12 months to strengthen the EEFC now and into the future.

Read the full Fall 2015 Board Meeting Report.