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Garden Club of Windham Policy Guidelines, 4/2/2024

Garden Club of Windham Policy Guidelines, 4/2/24

Mission:

The Garden Club of Windham brings together people who find meaning and joy in

gardening and enjoy sharing that bond with others. Through thoughtful,

environmentally aware gardening, the Garden Club aims to beautify the Town of

Windham, increase civic pride, and present a welcoming face to our community and

visitors alike.

Values:

The Garden Club of Windham

• supports environmentally sound, natural approaches to gardening that protect our

environment and the quality of our air, water, and land.

• promotes appreciation of our local ecosystem and its indigenous web of life.

• educates members and the regional community, including young people and the

underserved, so we all increase our knowledge of the natural world.

• maintains attractive, well-tended public gardens.

• partners with Town government as well as local and regional groups to create inviting

public spaces for an array of community activities — educational, cultural, and

recreational.

Garden Club-sponsored public gardens

• have a steward who monitors the garden and oversees maintenance.

• are maintained by Garden Club members and other volunteers.

• are manageable in terms of size, plantings, layout, location, availability of water, and

other requirements.

• enhance the Garden Club’s standing in the community.

• are approved by a vote of the Board before being added to the Garden Club’s portfolio.

• are distinguished from gardens where the Club may advise but does not assume

responsibility for long-term care.

In its gardening practices, the Garden Club

• favors native and pollinator-friendly plantings.

• uses natural fertilizers whenever possible, e.g., compost, manure, fish emulsion.

• prefers natural approaches to weed control, avoiding chemical herbicides.

• is mindful of the polluting effects of commercial fertilizers, especially on ponds and

waterways.

• requires that use of commercial and chemical substances be informed by research,

discussed by the Board, and approved by a majority vote of the Board before

application.

• prefers manual or electric-powered over gas-powered tools.

• decides contentious issues on a case-by-case basis.

• if chemicals are used, hires landscapers or gardeners licensed to do so.

• ensures that notices of chemical use are posted in compliance with Town and state

regulations.

Professional landscapers, garden tenders, and volunteers:

• The Garden Club relies primarily on volunteer labor to maintain its gardens.

• Anyone with an interest in gardening is welcome at any of our posted work sessions.

• Paid help is ordinarily financed by grants rather than the Club’s general funds.

• When hiring outside help, the Club files a W-9 form and IRS Form 1099 for each person

paid $600 or more over the course of a calendar year.

• Competitive bidding is not required for any contract under $5,000.

Responsibilities of Officers, Board Members, and Committee Chairs include

• making every effort to attend Board meetings, especially those at which a vote will be

taken.

• coming to meetings prepared.

• for meetings that require a Board vote, using a format that allows for discussion and an

in-person vote, either face to face, remotely (e.g., Zoom), in hybrid format, or via

conference call.

• Board members who are absent, unprepared, or otherwise derelict in their duties may

be voted off the Board by a 2/3 vote of the Board members present at a meeting called

for that purpose.

Members’ roles include

• supporting the mission, values, bylaws, and policies of the Garden Club.

• collaborating in a spirit of mutual support, trust, and transparency.

• following any guidelines agreed upon by the Town and the Club for communicating with

Town government and departments.

• presenting themselves, in public or private, as representatives of the Garden Club only

when they are tasked to do so.

• staying current on Club communications.

• welcoming the full range of diverse members’ contributions, from garden maintenance

to administration, public relations, fundraising, and simply being a voice in the

community.

Garden Club communications should

• aim for civility and tolerance of different perspectives.

• aim for accuracy, clarity and conciseness, and include all relevant information.

• use “Reply all” when needed for transparency, avoiding excessive use.

• share information appropriately: in the monthly newsletter, the mid-month update,

emails to the Board, emails to all members, or with narrower circulation, as judged by

Club officers.

• follow Town employees’ preferences and Town policies.

Regarding collaboration with other organizations, the

• Board discusses and votes on whether to collaborate with other organizations.

• Board votes annually on whether to pay dues to organizations that require dues.

• members or committees collaborating with groups such as local schools, universities,

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or church fellowships, report as needed on their work.

Grant writing process and responsibilities:

• Members who pursue grants are required to

1. Share the text and budget of the grant proposal with the Board and – as appropriate

– Garden Club committees.

2. Revise as needed after feedback from the Board and others.

3. Share the revision for a vote of approval by a majority of the Board; and

4. Only then submit the proposal to the grant funder.

• The grant must be submitted in the name of the Garden Club of Windham, with the

grant writer as contact person.

• The Club’s 501(c)3 status and EIN number may be used only with approval of the Board.

• The grant writer or an agreed-upon Club member assumes responsibility for

administering the grant, including any reports or other requirements of the funder.

• The administrator of a grant for a specific project may spend funds up to $500 without

Board approval but must inform officers and the bookkeeper of those transactions.

• An invoice for each expenditure must be submitted; once approved, payment will be

made by the GC treasurer.

• Grant funding must be administered according to generally accepted accounting

principles (GAAP).

• Town processes, e.g., for contracts, purchase orders and reimbursements, must be

followed if the Town of Windham is a party to the grant.

• A grant application for $500 or less does not need to go through the grant approved

process; however, Club officers must be informed of the application.

Financial transactions:

• An expenditure of $500 or less by a Club officer or Board member does not need Board

approval; however, an invoice should be submitted to the treasurer and the Board and

other officers should be informed.

• Expenditures over $500 must be approved by the Board.

• All financial transactions should be conducted according to generally accepted

accounting principles (GAAP).

• When dealing with the Town on a financial matter, Town accounting practices must be

followed.

• Officers, Board members, committee chairs, and Club members must deal in a timely

manner with all matters that affect the Club’s financial status and stability. This includes

such actions as retaining receipts, invoices, and other documentation; making on-time

payments to vendors; submitting annual reports to the State of Connecticut; and filing

IRS forms.

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