Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

December 3, 2020

Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: Colleen MacKinnon called the Zoom meeting to order at noon. On the Zoom connection were Colleen, Jerry Harmon, Fred Woods, Dick Althouse and Rick Mercurio. The November minutes had been previously approved via email. Denise Harter had earlier sent the October and November financial statements to the Board. Denise also filed the 2017 CA taxes, which had not previously been done.

San Diego Foundation Endowment: Colleen has learned of an opportunity offered by the SDF to establish and host a FODR endowment fund. This would require a $50,000 commitment as “seed money” held by the SDF in perpetuity. The fund would earn interest at conservative market rates similar to a 401k, and would also be subject to a small administrative fee. The fund is meant to generate money to be used for grants for both internal and external entities, with approval by the FODR Board, with a maximum withdrawal of 5% annually. The Board will consider this, and Colleen offered to help.

Resignations: Colleen announced that Denise had submitted her resignation as a Board member and FODR Treasurer as of November 13. She will remain as an FODR employee until January 3, 2021. Colleen also said that she herself will resign from the Board and as President on January 8, 2021. Colleen’s letter of resignation is attached to the end of these Minutes. She explained that she has embarked on a path toward the presidency of the Escondido Rotary Club, which will be extremely time consuming. The Board expressed its sincere thanks to both Denise and Colleen for their dedicated service and devotion to FODR and the community.

Transition: Colleen generously offered to help with a smooth transition. She has provided a list of current FODR tasks for future Board consideration. She also urged the Board to evaluate and approve a list of official policies for inclusion in a Board Manual, and she provided links to draft copies of these documents and policies. This step, she said, would be critical for potential large grantors to consider FODR as a viable entity. Colleen said that Denise will stay on to close the accounting books for 2020, and send out 1099s, etc.

Third Party Advocates: Rick explained that some FODR members have independently advocated for new policies related to Daley Ranch by contacting City officials and Rangers. Rick believes that such advocacy may actually be helpful to FODR’s cause, by demonstrating to agencies and staff how passionate the public is about issues such as proper biological monitoring and maintenance of the Conservation Bank. Rick and Colleen both cautioned, however, that we must make it very clear that such advocacy is not conducted in the name of FODR. We must be certain to delineate FODR’s official contacts and public stances from the actions of any individual. Colleen suggested that the FODR website could include a list of “useful information” such as websites and emails of agencies, as long as the contact information is general and otherwise available to the public.

Audubon: Colleen explained that the Audubon Society is hoping to create a native garden at Daley Ranch in order to promote wild birdlife. Audubon representatives worked with Colleen to determine a site for this garden in the area near the Ranch House, on a slope. The garden would be irrigated, may include a small pool at the bottom end, and would not be for walk through. Colleen will amend the KTUA plan, which proposes an interactive trail and various other recreational opportunities in the vicinity of the Ranch House, to include the proposed Audubon garden.

End of Year Letter: The Board discussed sending out an end-of-year letter to our membership as we did last year. That effort was successful in generating donations. Colleen had also designed an attractive holiday postcard with an image of the Ranch House and a warm message to our members. Rick volunteered to write a draft letter with hopes that Colleen might incorporate her image into that letter, along with a remit envelope. The Board agreed this would necessitate a speedy effort, considering the late date.

Virtual Field Trip: Fred described lots of progress, specifically the actual filming of video presentations during November. It went very well, and now the videographer is in the process of editing. Fred said that the finished video series will be hosted on the EUSD website, on the FODR website, and on You Tube, where other schools, including Charters, can access them. Krystle Miller of EUSD will work with us to create a Teacher’s Guide to supplement the videos. Colleen suggested that we use our existing gmail account for You Tube. We have already paid two of the presenters, and Fred inquired about the appropriateness of making donations to other non-profits on behalf of two other presenters, considering tax and grant parameters.

Restoration: Dick explained that he has moved the old wagon and the mower, and has fastened the tow bar (as if was ready for horses) up at the ranch. He is still working on details. Dick is also immersed in gaining official approval of his drawings for the restoration of the barn. The Planning Dept. likes his plans, but they need the blessing of either a structural engineer or an architect. Dick has a lead for an architect, and will pursue this.

Newsletter: Rick asked for ideas for the January newsletter. He will write a short update on the Virtual Field Trip program, and Fred will supply a photo or two of the filming. Colleen will draft an announcement of her and Denise’s resignations. Colleen will also work with Denise to submit the winning photos from the photo contest, along with names and categories.

New Business: Jerry and Rick had a Zoom meeting yesterday with a local CPA, Scott Peck. They are making preliminary inquiries about the possibility of hiring Peck’s company to take over bookkeeping duties. The Board also discussed the need for a CPA to audit the 2019 and 2020 books. Rick and Jerry will pursue this.

Next Meeting: It was agreed that the annual retreat meeting should be a Zoom format. It was set for Saturday, January 9, 2021, starting at 9 a.m., hosted by Jerry.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, Secretary

Colleen’s Resignation Letter

December 3, 2020

Colleen MacKinnon
921 Sol Vista Glen
Escondido, CA 92025

Richard Mercurio, Secretary 
Friends of Daley Ranch
PO Box  461173
Escondido, CA 92046-1173

Dear Members and Directors:

With bittersweetness, I tender my resignation from the Friends of Daley Ranch Board of Directors, effective January 8, 2021.  While the Board reevaluates resource deployment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a better-suited leader can nurture the Friends in this new direction.

I will continue serving at your convenience during this transition process.  I want to ensure that my successor is prepared to assume responsibility for daily operations and finalizing board policies.  

I am grateful for the many lessons learned while serving on this Board for the last six years. I look forward to seeing the organization's continuity and succession plans and wish the Friends of Daley Ranch good fortune.

Yours in Service,

Colleen MacKinnon