Celebrating our Board's 1 Year Anniversary!

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Creating the Future's BoardLast month, Creating the Future passed a huge milestone – the one year anniversary of our first board meeting. You can see the minutes of that first meeting here  (as well as all the minutes of all our meetings here)

Like most people, our board members tend to focus on the long list of what we have not yet accomplished rather than celebrate what we HAVE done. And so, herewith, a bit of a celebration of all our board has accomplished in this first year of meetings. Watching how engaged this amazing group of people has become, we cannot wait to see what Year 2 holds!!

Logistics and Practical Matters
• Worked through tech issues, so that the board now meets relatively seamlessly via video
• Created a web page for board bios, and a whole blog for posting minutes and most importantly, providing space for publicly discussing issues
• Board member Alexandra Peters worked with attorney Ellis Carter to complete and file the application for Creating the Future’s tax exempt 501(c)(3) status (application submitted in October 2011)
• Discussion at board table and at the blog re: having a board recording secretary / documentarian. Job description was drafted and approved by the board. (To be posted soon – which will facilitate more timely blog posts and follow-up on issues discussed by the board!)
• For assistance with resource development issues, the board formed a Resource Development team (which evolved into the Philanthropy R&D Lab, leading the way for Creating the Future’s resource development efforts to be a model for building resources for any social change effort, anywhere)
• Due to the start-up needs of this organization, all board members committed to provide monthly financial support, to the best of their ability, at a level that is personally meaningful (the board has not yet discussed this as a formal policy, but determined this is a way they, as current individual board members, wish to show their own support).

• Brought on 2 new members from our initial 4 – for a total of 6 now and growing.
• Developed a recruitment process, and listed criteria we are seeking in board members (using the our ever popular Board Recruitment & Orientation manual!)

Board Culture
• Established an opening ritual that allows board members to get to know each other as people, so we can best work together as a team.
• Incorporating reflection into the end of every meeting at minimum, and as a closing ritual in any meaty discussions
• Discussed how we want to discuss things! (See the October minutes for details!)
• Adopted a consent agenda meeting format for all our meetings
• Developed the protocol for having fully participating guests at each meeting (first guests attended the June 2012 meeting)
• Established the protocol of discussing every major policy issue publicly, via blogs and social media, to ensure our governance is as fully participatory as possible
• Had several lengthy discussions about the highest potential for this board – our role, what the board has the potential to make possible for the mission, how we will endeavor to always walk the talk of our values (eat our own dog food!)
• Looking at Creating the Future as a movement vs. an organization – what does that make possible? How does it mean we would govern? How would it be supported financially that is different from a “standard organization”?
• Discussed having our “mission” be a moon launch mission – in reference to Kennedy’s stated 10 year goal (the “impossible” mission he actually accomplished in only 8 years!). Once we have programs in place, we are giving ourselves 10 years to reach the tipping point, where all social change efforts will be using approaches that actually accomplish their missions.

Policy Discussions
• Developed criteria for demonstration projects, and shared those at the blog for comment / discussion
• Developed a draft policy on Executive Session, posted for comments at the blog (pending adoption)

• Began the Community Impact Planning process, addressing a portion of that process at each meeting (and while this only takes up one bullet point, it is TREMENDOUS)

What’s Next
In June of 2011, our four board members met for the first time. Fast forward to our June 2012 meeting, where our fully participating guests both mentioned how obvious it is that our six board members like each other, have fun, and are fully engaged / 100% present during our meetings. That alone is cause for huge celebration!

A year ago, we hadn’t even cracked the forms on our 501(c)(3) application. Two weeks ago, we spent a full week crafting long responses to the IRS’s follow-up questions, well on our way to finally having our status affirmed. And that, too, is cause for huge celebration, in and of itself.

In looking at this wonderful list of accomplishments (and I easily may have skipped something – let me know if you find anything missing!), the thing that jumps out at me is that unlike most boards, the most important issues tackled by Creating the Future’s young board are the issues that will define this organization into the future – issues of culture and vision and values, how we be with each other as people so we can govern together from a place of strength. We have not yet had a board meeting where at least one person hasn’t remarked, “I never get to talk about this stuff at other board meetings!”

So there you have it – the Year 1 Celebrate List for Creating the Future’s board. It is exciting to realize that next year at this time, we will not only have completed, but will be putting into action our community impact plan – a plan that will include scaling up this mom-and-pop operation to hire staff to develop programs that will accomplish our mission within the 10 year “moon launch” the board has discussed.

So stay tuned. The party is just getting started!!!

6 thoughts on “Celebrating our Board's 1 Year Anniversary!”

  1. Congratulations. I gotta say that the kind of momentum and progress inherent in the post is the kind of board meeting lots of other nonprofits should model. There’s definitely a different yet positive energy about it.

  2. Thanks for the congratulations, Elaine. And Bryann, we are definitely exploring what is possible, and a huge reason we are doing so openly is so that others can experiment with whatever pieces resonate. So thanks for the encouragement!


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