Board Meeting Minutes Coffee Party USA


Month: March, 2012

March 8, 2012 Meeting Minutes

by JKL

Call to Order and Note of Attendance

Our Maestro conference call meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler at 5:05 pm PST.  Other directors present included Vice President Kerry Helmer, Secretary Jeanene Louden, Treasurer Eric Whinery, Craig Dunigan, Christopher Ritter (who had to leave the call after about an hour), and Egberto Willies.  Jose Gutierrez and Frank Kirkwood missed the call.  Staff present included Executive Director Debilyn Molineaux and Membership Director Billy Sears.

Meeting Minutes

All meeting minutes to date are posted on the web and accessible to all viewers.

Financial Report


As of this morning we are 32% on the way to our membership goal for the month of March, appropriate for the 8th of the month, with 30% of those being new members, the rest being renewals. Members choosing to use the monthly (recurring) contribution option is still growing.


We discussed the details that make up the line, “debt service”, in the budget. Nailing this down is essential to our ability to execute the strategic plan designed at the Chicago meeting. We brainstormed any and all possible outstanding obligations in an effort to make the budget “tight”.

“Report” from Board Retreat

We discussed the best way to share the outcomes from the Chicago planning meeting as they become finalized. We wanted to find a way to share the spirit of our collaborative process and verbal/graphic expressions that were so helpful to us in freeing up our thinking and allowing the honing of our mission, vision, and strategic plan. We decided the best approach would have several elements.

  1. Each board member would tell our personal stories of our accomplishments using words or drawings
  2. Debilyn would work on weaving our stories together, and deliver her work to us for approval
  3. With 1 and 2 above we could prepare a presentation or “launch” of accomplishments to our many audiences
  4. We will discuss implementation of the  strategic plan with work groups and volunteers, as a key part of releasing our refined direction to the membership and followers.

Mission Statement approval

We attempted to finalized our mission statement. The final eight versions (all within one or two words of one another, based upon the 250 responses received from members) were considered. After deliberation, one surfaced to a vote and passed, but, because it received one no vote, we will return to the membership for input. [A no vote on matters of policy returns the issue to discussion.] Our working mission statement follows. (We all love it.)

  • Connecting communities to reclaim our government for the People.

Unfinished Work

We revisited (and reorganized, to some degree) the work we began in Chicago in order to clarify who had the lead on each piece of unfinished business. Debilyn has agreed  put reminders into our project management system.

  • Vision Statement – Eric B, Chris, Debilyn
    • Current draft: “Coffee Party envisions a nation of diverse communities sharing a culture of informed public engagement that sustains a tradition where our sacred duty to vote is the currency of our democracy.” (We all love this, too.)
  • Core Values-Jeanene, Craig, and Debilyn (in conjunction with the Strategic and Organizational Design Work Group)
  • Impact/Measurable Results Identification (PUT ON HOLD, except for membership/fundraising and volunteer goals)
  • Parameters of Board Members – Authenticity, “State of Grace”, etc (ADDED to the core values)
  • Review Organizational Design – PUT ON HOLD until after we complete review of current policies, structure and impact

We also reviewed the elements of the strategic plan in more detail. Every current Coffee Party USA initiative was addressed both in Chicago and in the meeting today: the current status, the board assignments to work groups, the skill set assignments (and other asset allocations), the relative priority, and time frame. We each agreed to provide detailed reports to one another next week so we can speed through the agenda and get a move on!

The component of the strategic plan to “do what we do best, and align ourselves with other organizations that share our goals and are engaged in activities that serve our mission”, is in full swing, as is clear from the resolutions that follow.


1. Resolution 019: Public Citizen – “Resolutions Week” Decree

WHEREAS Coffee Party USA believes in lending its assets to coalition efforts designed to connect all communities in order to fight money in politics and restore self-governance, and,
WHEREAS Public Citizen is leading a coalition-based drive to encourage and support local organizers to get resolutions introduced in local jurisdictions opposing the “Citizens United” decree, and,
WHEREAS Coffee Party USA is equipped to alert our member of the opportunity for direct action with minimal labor/resources, it is
RESOLVED that Coffee Party USA will inform Public Citizen that we are signatory to “Resolutions Week” and that we will further:

  1. use our social media tools to promote the initiative,
  2. embed links in our website that lead to “Resolutions Week” strategy map, and
  3. include an invitation to participate in this initiative in at least one email blast.

The motion was made by Eric B, seconded by Eric W, and passed: 6 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain, and 3 not present (Jose, Frank, and Chris).

2.  Resolution 020: United Republic Anti Corruption Pledge and Public Citizen DISCLOSE Act Letter to the House of Representatives

WHEREAS Coffee Party USA believes in lending its assets to coalition efforts designed to connect all communities in order to fight money in politics and restore self-governance, and,
WHEREAS the following initiatives by sister organizations are aligned with our interests:

  •  United Republic’s “Anti-Corruption Pledge
  • Public Citizens’s letter to the House of Representatives regarding the newly reintroduced DISCLOSE ACT, it is

RESOLVED that Coffee Party USA shall become a signatory to Public CItizens’ letter, and it is
RESOLVED that Coffee Party USA shall promote United Republic’s Anti-Corruption Pledge, and further
RESOLVED that Coffee Party USA shall devote social media resources and volunteer time to the above initiatives.

The motion was made by Eric B, seconded by Craig, and passed: 6 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain, 3 not present (Jose, Frank, and Chris)

3. Resolution 021: New Organizing Institute – 99% Spring

WHEREAS Coffee Party USA believes in lending its assets to coalition efforts designed to connect all communities in order to fight money in politics and restore self-governance, and,
WHEREAS the New Organizing Institute has invited us to participate in “The 99% Spring,” intended to “shape the 2012 electoral debate and begin making progress towards an economy that works for all of us”, and,
WHEREAS the New Organizing Institute is a sister organization to which we are grateful for guidance and inspiration, and,
WHEREAS outreach for “The 99% Spring” is beginning on March 10, and the Coffee Party in 2012 will position itself as a connective meeting place for our members and others in our community to engage in the democratic process, and, our members appreciate knowing about actions and events in which they can participate,
BE IT RESOLVED that Coffee Party USA become a national partner in “The 99% Spring,” and that we fill out this form for national partners, considering on a case-by-case basis ways in which we can contribute.

The motion was made by Eric B, seconded by Egberto, and passed: 6 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain, and 3 not present (Jose, Frank, and Chris).

Carried Forward to Next Week’s Meeting
Outbound Communication Schedule

Schedule Next Meeting and Adjourn
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, March 15, 2012, at 5 pm PDT / 8 pm EDT (remember to “spring ahead”). We closed the meeting with 30 second check-outs.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jeanene Louden


Heading Home

by JKL

Hello, Everyone!

The Board Planning Meeting is over, but our work is not! [Sigh] Everyone is gone except Eric Byler and me: we both head out in the morning. Here is the status report, as promised.

Our draft Mission Statement was sent out to current members Saturday morning. After a day of working on our Vision Statement and all the processing that goes with it, we were shocked and delighted to find we had over 200 responses to our request for input! Sunday was spent on our Strategic Plan.

With so many generous opinions to review, we did not feel right having asked for input and not giving it the consideration it deserved, so all three efforts were completed in draft and will be finalized during our conference call on Thursday. (Yes, about 96 hours from now.)

Core Values are still on the horizon, but everyone is feeling optimistic. In some ways this is a review/reconsider process. Still, it is important that we have a common understanding of our words, and that we be in complete agreement, if we are going to remain the team we have become when we are thousands of miles apart.

Thanks and Goodnight.






Midnight, Day Two, Chicago Board Planning Meeting

by JKL

This is the end of two very long, exhausting, and exciting days for me personally as a board member. We are meeting all the interpersonal goals we hoped for: we are working well as a team and are understanding and trusting the personal styles and skill sets of one another more and more as each hour goes by.

Our facilitator led both board members and staff through team and small group processes toward the revisiting and refinement of our mission and vision statements yesterday. We were all shocked and thrilled with the fresh cut we were able to take at our still strong notion of our place in the American Democracy Movement. We sent out an email blast to all our official membership this morning with our almost final draft of the mission statement for their review and comment. We were very pleased to get 180 responses by the time we had to close the submissions. They will all be read and considered as we deliberate the final draft. Our sincere thanks go out to everyone who took the time to let your thoughts be known.

In the spirit of cost savings, Debilyn stood up to facilitate today. Despite her migraine, we were able to have some tough questions about some lane changes we see ourselves needing to make as a board and as an organization.

This evening was a rough ride into strategic territory: given the new twist on our mission and vision, would the current structures in place need to be tweaked to support the efforts required to meet our goals. Will our goals remain the same? These questions will  not be finalized until first thing Sunday morning. If I don’t go to sleep now, I will be in no shape for the 8 am meeting.

I think about all of you everyday. But most of all, I think about the future America we can create together. I realize this is all general tonight. Tomorrow, I will be very specific as to what we have decided during our stay here.

Good night, all,