Friends Minutes ~ January 2014

Friends of Southwest Charter School

January 7th, 2014


In attendance: Ann, Liz, Nicki, Christina, Hanne, Juli, Melissa, and Sarah M.

Review minutes

No questions or comments regarding last month’s minutes.

Board Liaison Update – Stacey

Stacey could not attend tonight’s meeting.

Christina and Nicki attended the December Board meeting in which new officers were elected. Friends submitted our first real budget to the Board and it was approved. Except for auction proceeds, we now have control over the money we fundraise. We will be able to use our funds to help lower the overall cost to families of overnight education trips.

Based on last year’s fundraisers, we estimate our earnings for 2013-2014 will be about $3000. The Board expect us to spend about $1500 for community events and staff appreciation. Hanne mentioned that it would be nice to set aside $200-300 for Field Day expenses. Friends spending is approved by Christina and no longer by Anna or Anne. Friends has really come a long way with these fiscal changes!

Community Life Update – Aileah

Aileah could not attend tonight, but sent a report.

We have a restaurant night scheduled for Tuesday, January 21st at the Garnica family’s restaurant Verde Cocina located in Hillsdale at 6446 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97239

Aileah booked the Clinton Street Theater for a community movie day for Monday, March 31st. We can show anything except Disney films. Some movies suggested included:  E.T., Back to the Future, and Wreck it Ralph. Hanne suggested looking at Common Sense Media for other movie ideas. Bring any additional movie ideas to the February meeting. Keep in my mind movies that may have an interactive element or lend themselves to dressing up. We also plan to include a community service aspect to the movie day – either a food drive or book drive to benefit the Children’s Book Bank.

Auction Committee Update – Nicki and Juli

Sarah and Lorien have compiled the event sponsorship recognition and opportunities for this year’s auction. This year, sponsorship levels begin at $400 instead of $200.

In order to generate interest in sponsoring the auction, we discussed how to get this information out to the community. We agreed that Marlene should send a MailChimp newsletter because we know how many people read it. We will also post on the Friends blog and Facebook. Sarah has sent out some sponsorship information directly to SWCS family-owned businesses.

When Sarah approaches a business about a sponsorship and they don’t seem interested, she will then present the opportunity to have an advertisement in our auction catalog. Our catalog is really beautiful and having our event at the MAC gets people’s interest. When presenting to a potential sponsor, Sarah emphasizes the varied demography our school reaches.

We discussed how to get the middle school families more involved in the auction or to even just attend the event. We like the idea of asking outgoing parents and teachers to be “table captains”. They would talk to parents in the upper grades and encourage them to attend the auction by having the opportunity to sit at their captain’s table for dinner.  During online ticket purchasing, a drop-down menu would list the table captains and you would select which table captain you would like to sit with. This may help people commit to attending and perhaps sell more tickets early. Sarah will approach teachers Amanda and Paul. Nicki and Juli will talk to the other teachers and outgoing parents or go through our Board Liaison Stacey. If a teacher feels shy about filling a table themselves, they could pair up with another teacher.

We also discussed how to encourage our community to ask their friends, family, and neighbors to come to the auction. We liked the idea of having an email template invite for the auction that community members can forward to family and friends. The Tofino software might also have a way to send out emails. We also plan on having additional VIP tables this year.

As discussion about tables and seating continued, the auction chairs decided to discuss this further separate from the Friends meeting.

The Auction Chairs are still looking for volunteers for several committees:

  • Check In/Check Out Team — We need 12 people. Benefits of this job are that you receive full training, are only needed for a specific chunk of time and then you can enjoy yourself for the remainder of the evening.
  • Special Appeal (Paddle Raise) Coordinator – This person is responsible for crafting and communicating our appeal to the community.

In December, Anne surveyed the teachers and staff regarding where they would like to see auction monies spent. While only 10 people responded, the top ranked items were laptops for student use and hiring a part-time grant writer. Other things that received votes were iPads, additional teacher aides, facility improvements, and saving funds for a future building. Due to the low number of respondents and the confusing presentation of data in the report, Christina will talk with Anne to see make sure these results accurately represent the teachers and staff. The teachers and staff ideas will then get presented to the Board for a vote. We’re hoping this can be presented to the Board at their meeting next week, and then voted on in February. But this doesn’t seem likely.

We think we can market technology to the community, but there also needs to be a plan on how it will be used in the classroom, training for staff and maintenance of hardware and software. Say we raised $40,000 at the auction, what would we get that includes not only equipment, but also training and maintenance? Christina will communicate our concerns to the Board via Stacey.

We agreed that the community would support hiring a grant writer and additional teacher aides. Hanne suggests that we have a consultation with a grant writer. Since we don’t qualify as a low-income school, our opportunities may be limited. Hanne and Juli will research average grant writer rates and whether there are grants out there for a school with our demographics.

The Special Appeal (Paddle Raise) Coordinator will work with Slide Show Coordinator to help convey the message of the appeal during the auction. The Gardener family will probably be willing to compile the slide show again. Sarah is willing to interview teachers for video segments. Hanne suggested also having a compelling live speaker like teacher Lisa to appeal to community. We will consider both options.

  • Donated Item Pick Up Team — We need 2 people for this. Auction committee will ask Sarah Gilmore and Christine Egan.
  • Graphics Team – We need people to make flyers, signage, etc. It might be nice to have Chris Beckley make some templates that the Graphics Team could use so printed materials will have a uniform look.

Free SWCS Family Winter Event

Last year we had an afternoon crafting event. Turn out was low, but those who attended had a lot of fun. We didn’t buy anything except clay. All other materials were from the store room. Hanne and Christina will check to see if Sunday, February 9 will work. We may also add a craft sale to the event where community members who make handmade items could sell their wares and donate a portion of their sales to school. Hanne and Liz will coordinate.

5/6 Winter Food Drive

The food drive was a success. Most of the food was taken to the Oregon Food Bank and the remainder was taken to Neighborhood House.

Next Friends meeting: Tuesday, February 4th @ 7pm (6:30pm social time)

 A Google doc of these minutes can also be found here.

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