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Elections; Budgets; Committees; and More!

by Stephanie Ricketts, Board Member

Happy May, Willy Street Co-op community!

Board elections

First and foremost, I want to remind you all that Board elections are coming up. Candidate application materials are due by June 3, 2019. We are filling three seats this year, each for a three-year term of service. If you are an Owner in good standing, passionate about the Co-op, and have 10–15 hours per month to devote to the governance of this organization, consider running in the 2019 election! All of the information can be found online at: www.willystreet.coop/pages/run-for-the-willy-street-co-op-board

One more (important) thing! All candidates must attend a Board Candidate Information Session to be eligible to run. There are two more schedule, both this month:

Lakeview Library: May 4, 2019: 2:00pm–3:00pm

Willy West: May 9, 2019, 6:00pm–7:00pm

Want to run for the Board, but can’t attend either of these sessions? Email the Board Development Committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will figure out an alternative.

In addition to planning the 2019 elections, the Board has been up to a variety of activities.

Community Reinvestment Fund Determinations

The Co-op’s 2019 Community Reinvestment Fund cycle is drawing to a close. All grant applications are reviewed by the Community Reinvestment Fund committee, a group comprised of a mix of Co-op staff, two Board members and community members. This group is charged with making a recommendation to the Board on which applications should receive funding. This year I had the honor of serving on this committee, and reviewing the record number of proposals for funds. It was humbling and exciting to see the array of excellent projects taking place in our community and difficult to narrow it down to the final selection. The Committee passed its recommendations on for Board approval at the April meeting, and you can see which projects received grants on page 18.

Budgeting for FY20

Did you know the Co-op’s Fiscal Year runs from July–June, not accordingly to the calendar year? We are currently in the thick of budget-planning for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. From the Board’s perspective, this means setting the Governance Budget for 2020 (including items like Board Education Sessions, the annual Board elections, and the Annual Meeting & Party (AMP), and reviewing the complete budget for the organization. The final FY20 Co-op Budget will come before the Board for final approval in June after a thorough vetting by the Finance Committee.

What’s With All the Committees?

I’ve mentioned a couple of different committees in this report. Since the Co-op is a big organization with lots of different moving parts, the Board uses committees to help it do its work. Committees have specific purviews, and serve the Board by digging deeper into complicated topics. Some committees are Board-only, some have a mix of staff and Board members serving on them, and others have a mix of Board members, staff and Owners-at-large. The Board will recruit members with various skill sets to serve on these committees, like Owners with financial acumen to serve on the Finance Committee, or folks experienced with policy governance to serve on the Policy Committee. The Board currently has three active committees: Finance, Policy and  Board Development. Board members also serve on a few other Co-op committees, including the Community Reinvestment Fund and the Investment Committee.

Wil-Mar Capital Campaign Support

I am so pleased to share that the Board has approved a $50,000 donation to the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center’s capital campaign. These funds will be drawn from abandoned equity. Our partner in the Williamson Street neighborhood for over 40 years, the Wil-Mar neighborhood center just celebrated its 50-year anniversary with a big announcement… they are the recipients of the 2019 Design for a Difference! Design for a Difference is a national program that partners with local designers and organizations that donate their time, talents, and goods to transform local non-profits so the organization can better serve their communities. The Co-op’s donation will support the much-needed infrastructure improvements to the Center (think heating and cooling systems, plumbing, etc), while the Design for a Difference is focused on the more visible updates to the center. This is a big deal for the Willy Street community, and we hope will help Wil-Mar remain a force of good for (at least) 50 more years.

More Policies!

Of course, this policy governance-driven Board has also been reviewing some policies! In April we reviewed reports on:

Policy D1: Unity of Control 

This policy, at its essence, limits the power of individual Directors by stating that only officially passed motions of the Board are binding on the GM. 

Policy C10: Policy Development

Policy C10 ensures that the Board is diligent in its review of and updates to the Co-op’s policies, and that it follows proscribed channels for doing so.

Policy C3: Relationship to Owners

This policy states that the Board derives its authority from and represents the Owners of the Co-op, and includes some specific language about how the Board must communicate with Owners (including an Annual Report).

Policy B5: Treatment of
Customers

This policy requires the General Manager (GM) to be responsive to Owners’ needs, and sets forth some requirements including things like “Provide a safe, accessible shopping environment,” and “implement a system for soliciting and considering customer opinion,” among other items.

Policy B4: Ownership Rights Policy

Policy B4 details how the GM achieves the following: “The General Manager (GM) shall not fail to establish a process for becoming an Owner, maintaining Ownership, and for Owners to understand their rights and responsibilities.”

Come Say Hello!

The Board will be tabling with the General Manager at Willy East on May 19 from 12:00–2:00pm! Come swing by and try a tasty Co-op good, and ask any questions you have about the Board, Co-op policy, or store operations.

Other ways to learn more about the Board of Directors, our Co-op’s policies, or other governance topics: attend a Board meeting or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thanks for reading, and for being a part of the Willy Street Co-op!