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Minutes of the Board Meeting of 6/26/24

The Garden Club of Windham

Minutes of Board Meeting 6/26/2024

Windham Senior Center or virtual

Call to order – 4:14 pm, Barbara Wright, co-chair, presiding

In Attendance – Faith Kenton, Jay Osborne, Ursula Roskoski, Carole Williamson, Barbara Wright,

Pam Wright.

Minutes of the Board meeting held on 5/30/2024 were unanimously approved as they had been

posted on-line previously for members to access and read.

Purpose of the Meeting

This meeting was called for the Board to discuss and vote on a fund-raising proposal for the High Street Hillside garden, submitted by Faith Kenton. This had previously been circulated by email and stated “I’m beginning a small fundraiser for the HST consisting of approaching businesses personally, touting all our gardens and esp the High Street area, and asking for donations. I’m putting together a handout flyer and note cards for responses and checks made out to the HSH Fund, suggest using the website PayPal, and will use the HighStreet sign as a logo.” There were concerns expressed about this method of fund-raising, also circulated by email, and a meeting was decided upon as an attempt to come to resolution on this issue, and to also discuss other HSH garden issues which had arisen.

Discussion on proposed fundraising campaign for the HSH garden –

Pam Wright expressed that she is uncomfortable with having fund-raising campaigns for specific gardens, except the GOB. She stated that there was discussion when the HSH garden was proposed about how much management would be required for that size of an herbaceous perennial garden.

Barbara Wright stated that she is also uncomfortable about it. All of the other gardens could use a financial boost and she described a theoretical snowball scenario where each of the garden stewards in turn announced campaigns for fund-raising for their gardens. This is not good management, it is not good fund-raising, it would make the club look impulsive and not well-organized, and it is not the most effective way to put the Garden Club forward or to raise money.

Jay Osborne stated that we as a group have an obligation to maintain the HSH garden because we voted as a group to sponsor that garden. So the question is how do we go forward in maintaining it, knowing that our volunteer power is not adequate. All of our garden stewards should be able to come forward with requests for funds to help in maintaining their particular garden. The question today should be, how do we get those funds. He stated that he believes that we should fund-raise as one organization and put the monies into one big kitty. That reduces any sense of competition for the limited resources of a small town.

Faith Kenton stated that in the past most of GC fund-raising has been through grants. She stated that she has been successful in both areas: grant writing and personal donations. She does not see anything wrong with using fund-raising for a specific purpose.

Jay stated that he sees that with individual solicitations there is only a limited amount of such funding available and Faith countered with “That is not true.” Barbara asked whether Faith would be willing to make the personal solicitations for a general GC kitty and Faith said “No. Not unless there is some very serious discussion about how to share that.” A lengthy discussion followed about how to determine “fair need.”

Barbara re-iterated that we need to consider how to fund-raise most effectively and that for any

serious organization the way to do it is with one major yearly campaign - an open event where

everyone who comes gets an appreciation and it is made clear that it is to support all of the GC

activities which beautify the town. Another lengthy discussion followed about different fund-raising strategies.

Barbara moved that we ask Faith to refrain from her fund-raising campaign for the HSH and we work to devise another, more widely-shared fund-raising campaign. Jay seconded the motion. Five voted to approve, one opposed.

Discussion about the two people who were working at the HSH garden

Barbara Wright mentioned that we may have a problem with this. The GC was told by Barbara McGrath, attorney, that we need to have paid workers under contract. Faith stated that we will not pay them under contract, we will just ask them to come and volunteer. She further stated that it is not anyone’s business if they are being paid or how, and Jay stated that, unfortunately, it is.

Barbara stated that it does affect us because the HSH is identified as a GC garden and that if anything happened to them as workers in one of our gardens, she has been told by our attorney and our insurance agent that we would be held responsible. Jay stated that he wanted to clarify about the two workers in the garden, “we’ve agreed that we won’t have them in the gardens anymore?” Faith replied, “I will have them.”

Jay asked, “Under what arrangement?” and Faith replied, “That is at my discretion.” Jay then stated that he wants the records to reflect that he is “uncomfortable with that because it is putting our tax-exempt status and our organizational status in jeopardy.” He stated additionally that he needs it to be in the minutes that Faith has repeatedly put the organization’s existence in jeopardy because of her unilateral decision-making.

Discussion of HSH summer supervision

When the question came up about hiring a summer worker for the HSH garden there arose the issue of who was going to supervise this person. The hired and contracted worker came to the GC with appropriate gardening qualifications but the issue more concerns the record-keeping issues of tracking hours worked, submission of invoices for pay, coordination of volunteers, and basically acting as liaison between the GC and the worker.

Barbara Wright stated that the person chosen by Faith to act as supervisor of the contracted worker in her absence is not appropriate because he has not shown previous willingness to be in communication with the GC.

Garden Signs

Jay Osborne showed the group his most recent draft for garden signage and took suggestions for improvement. Work in progress.

Next Meeting – TBD

Adjourned – 5:30 pm

Respectfully submitted by Ursula Roskoski

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