Heron Creek Community Foundation 
Board Meeting December 14, 2021

Present:  Holly Sardis-Loos, Jennifer Strieby, Mary Bowersock, Pete Cunningham, Joe O'Conner, Deanne Siddal, Bill Bach, Judy Broughton

The meeting was called to  order at 10:00 a,m, and a quorum was declared.

Secretary's Report:  The October 26, 2021 minutes were approved by a motion by Pete and second by Judy.   Holly indicated that she shared the e-mails concerning the grant for First Tee that were sent to the Foundation e-mail to the Board members.  However she did not share the ones sent to her personally as she is not comfortable forwarding personal e-mails.  She did capture the individuals concerns.

Treasurer's Report:  Pete Cunningham reported the following balances:    Administrative $57,436.70  and
Endowment Fund $519,885.80

Of note this year, the golf tournament held in October netted $43,556.57 and grants totaled $43,800.

Consideration should be given to who will chair next year's golf tournament.   Possible suggestions include Jack Steinkirchner, Hector Cruz and Frank Goldschmidt.

Membership:  Joe O'Connor reported.  Carol Kantor reported there have been 67 new residents and only 4 have signed up to join the Foundation.  He will take on the remainder through phone and e-mail contacts and possible home visits.  He will also review the inactive lists for possible individual contact.  He also suggested contacting other commnity foundations to inquire about their recruitment procedures.    A pool of potential members are the new members from Kingsway and Bobcat Country Clubs.  Mary offered to host a reception for these members.

Bill Bach noted the brochure information is in need of updating.

Publicity:  Holly reported that the updated web-site will be launched January 1.   Board members may now review it.  It was revised to appear cleaner and more user friendly.    There have been articles in the local newspapers about the golf tournament and the grants.  A communication about First Tee has been drafted and will be sent out in January.

Home Tour:  Deanne reported that it went beyond expectations.  Some counted over 180 people visited the homes.  There were great reviews and many commented that there should have been a charge to go on the tour.  A few homes set out baskets for collections for the "Giving Tree"  and collected about $180 which paid for the last few gifts needed.   Sue Berger did the pamphlet and all agreed it was great.   A meeting to review the to.  ur and decide if it should be done again will be held January 28 at the courtside cafe.

Golf Tournament for 2022:  Holly has secured Friday October 21, 2022 for next year's tournament.  She will also contact Jack Steinkirchner to see if he would cosider chairing the event.

Grants Committee:  Holly indicated there was an error during the grants meeting on October 5, 2021 where a vote was taken.  Two Board members voted via proxy.  By-laws state that proxies are only allowed at the Annual Meeting.   The two proxy votes cancelled each other out, so there would be no change in the outcome.

Jennifer provided a printed report which follows:

HCCF Grant Report and Recommendations


Last year (December 2020) two members of the Grant’s Committee, Judy Wing (past President of the HCCF) & Joe Strosnik, approached me about the 2020 Grant process. They were quite upset and indicated they were going to pull their support for the HCCF. Judy and Joe knew the amount of funds raised for grants and the names of organizations who were asked to submit grant applications. However, they were not included in any discussions to review of any of the applications and were shocked to learn after the fact the amount of funding that was approved by the Board.   I asked Joe and Judy to let me look into what happened before they pulled their support of the Foundation.

After reviewing the process used for grants over the last three years, my findings are as follows.

2019  Grants

        Grant applications were not altered

        Every application received on time, was given a grant ( 27 grants were awarded).

        Grant amounts were adjusted based upon funds available, and not prioritized due to need. For example, Meals on Wheels requested $4400 but only received $2500.

2020  Grants

        Grant recipients were invited to submit a grant in 2020.

        Grant applications received totaled $16,990, but $57,000 was awarded.

        The Grant Committee Chair contacted organizations who had submitted grants and ask them to submit a letter asking for added funding as the HCCF had more to give out than expected after receipt of the initial applications.

        The Grants Committee Chair submitted the Committee’s recommendation to the Board with increased funding above what was requested by the nonprofit in the grant application submission.

        The Board was told that the recommendation presented was from the Committee, when only the Chair was aware of the modified grant request increases which totaled $42,000, an increase of $25,010 above initial submissions. The Board approved an addition $15,000 to three non-profits who initially were not invited to submit grant applications.

        Meals on Wheels requested $6,240. However, Meals on Wheels was given a grant of $13,000.

        Salvation Army had requested $2,750 but were awarded $10,000. Salvation Army specifically stated on the grant application the money was to fill a freezer with food that another organization had donated. The Board was told the money was for a freezer and our website promoted this falsehood.

        Family Promise had requested $4,000 but was given $15,000. Family Promise stated the funds were for rent assistance - during a rent moratorium. Family Promise did use $11,000 of the funds for initial rent deposits for 5 families moving to North Port.

        Good Samaritan Pharmacy did not fill out an application but received $5,000.

        The Board was not aware that the applications had been altered to reflect our available funds.

The Board of Directors, myself included, approved this without doing our due diligence. As members of the HCCF Board we allowed this to happened. We should have done a better job validating what we were told.

Jennifer Johnston, who is responsible for Gulf Coast Community Foundation grants, and I discussed awarding more funds than an organization requested. She had never heard of any Foundation doing this. Prior to the application process, it is acceptable to state minimum and/or maximum grant amount to be awarded. It is not okay to award a grant for more than the request on the application.

2021  Grants

        With assistance from other Board members, we spoke with local schools, social workers, Police & first responders, churches, other foundations & nearly every organization HCCF had awarded a grant to in the past. We found mental health was the number one issue facing North Port. We also learned proactive programs geared towards children were also needed.

        Our research was exactly inline with Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s study, Regional SCAN 2021.

        We also learned the actual needs of North Port residents are not as dire as we had been led to believe. This is good but we still have people needing assistance and we must ensure the grants are actually having a positive impact.

        We are aware there were some HCCF members upset by the First Tee grant. Some felt other organizations were cut short due to the amount awarded to First Tee. Not one single grant request application, other than First Tee, was reduced. In other words, every applicant received exactly what they requested.

The 2021 Grant’s Committee followed the By-laws and we stand by the 2021 grant process.

2022  Grants and Beyond

        The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to the members of HCCF.

        The Board must identify needs and do our job to see how all grants will positively impact North Port.

        The grants should be awarded based on need or impact and not off of bank balances.

        Working with Ms. Jennifer Johnstone at Gulf Coast Community Foundation, revised procedures for future HCCF grant are being developed and will be presented to the Board for review and approval in early 2022.   The adoption of Gulf Coast’s grant application will be a shorter version than the current HCCF application form. This will put the responsibility on us, the committee and Board, to do our due diligence and verify the impact each grant would have on our community. The organizations will state their needs, but it is up to the HCCF Board to validate the impact of the request.

        Two agencies, The Giving Partner & Guidestar, will be able to assist the grants committee (and the Board) with our due diligence.

        The government required 990 forms will provide us a wealth of financial information about each applicant.

        The Foundation should consider shifting from a majority of reactive grants to more proactive grants.

        GCCF have noted that most “capital” grants - remodeling, software, site improvement - are not grants that have a big impact om the community.

        The HCCF Board must do much better with follow up after the grants have been awarded.

        The grant process will be open to all organizations wishing to apply.

I will work with the next year’s Grant Committee Chairman to present the revised grant process for review and approval at Board an early Board meeting in 2022.

We must learn from the past and vow never to allow what took place in 2020 or 2019 to happen again.

Submitted by: Jennifer Strieby 12/9/2021HCCF Grant Report and Recommendations

Additionally, Jennifer indicated that Gulf Coast advisors recommended looking at the impact the grants have on the community in the past and for the future.

Holly suggested Board members fo to the Gulf Coast web site and read the communty scan.  

Nominating Committee:  Mary nominated Holly to complete Bob Burkart's vacancy which ends 12/22.  Deanne seconded the motion and was passed unanimously.

Five nominees were presented for the four Board openings effective 1/23.   The nominees are:  Bill Bay, Hector Cruz, Frank Goldschmidt, Maria Rinaldo and Ona Lee Swain. The bios had been shared with the board members previously.  There was discussion on each and Pete suggested approving four and reserving Frank Goldschmidt in reserve for a potential future vacancy.  This passed unanimously.

New Business:  

Holly indicated there are two by-laws changes that will be proposed at the annual meeting:
1.  Membership can be by household or by individual.
2.  For grants consideration, add "proactive and reactive blends" of the charitable organizations.
Pete moved to approve putting these before the membership for a vote at the meeting.   Motion carried.

Christmas Dinner for North Port's first responders.  Jennifer received a donation of 21 pound of prime rib to share.  The North Port Fire Department was contacted and arrangements made to supply Christmas dinner to six fire stations and a total of 32 first responders scheduled to work.  Volunteers will fix and deliver the dinners.

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 21 at 10:00 a.m. in the main dining room.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 by motion by Deanne and second by Judy.