Gray Family Foundation board, staff, and family council,
It’s been a while since I shared an update of our activities and in anticipation of our planning meeting in two weeks, I wanted to let you know what we’ve been up to.
1) We launched a new GFF website in December that I think elegantly describes the current programs and structure of the Gray Family Foundation. We also created a new board portal that has historical board minutes, bylaws, and updates for your perusal. We will be sharing your login information for this portal in the next couple weeks. www.grayff.org
2) Lara is back from her maternity leave and working her regular Monday through Thursday schedule. It’s been great to have her back.
3) We shuffled the team’s primary project responsibilities as shown on the attached chart. We often work together on all of these projects, but it’s helpful to have a lead person on each project when we are doing check-ins.
4) Planning for the Board, staff, family council retreat is well underway. We’ve contracted with the Metropolitan Group to facilitate the session this year on January 30 and to work with us to deliver a work plan as a result of this session. We also are excited to have the whole group together for dinner after the planning session. If you haven’t RVSP’d to our evite for the dinner, please do so today. We need to let the restaurant know how many to expect.
5) We’ve been evaluating the need to establish a conservation education coalition dedicated to pulling together the various environmental education and conservation education groups under a single banner for purposes of educating state legislators about the benefits of integrating conservation education into the regular education curriculum. We know there is a gap in this area, but we haven’t yet landed on the best way to move forward in setting up a coalition. Some of this may be informed by our work at the retreat.
6) The Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan is in the process of transferring over to OSU extension. We have meetings in the next few weeks with Nancy Golden, (Oregon’s Chief Education Officer) and the OSU extension office to talk about the statewide implications of the OELP. We also have some logistics to work out with Traci Price’s ongoing relationship as the primary champion of the OELP once the transfer takes place.
7) Our grant RFP for teacher professional development and 5th-8th grade field trips is live and generating applications that are due Feb 3. This year we are experimenting with having the 5-8th field trip applicants become part of a 2-day learning cohort that will meet in March to join with OCF’s “Out of School time” grant cohort. We will also be having the applicants review their own grants as a way to learn how to be better grant writers.
8) The LPP advisory committee meets tomorrow with the addition of a couple new members as well as two OCF board members (Roman Hernandez and Sue Miller) who have taken a strong interest in the work of this group. The advisory committee has been tasked with making recommendations on a Latino Leadership Development model and framework especially as it relates to OCF’s role in implementing the framework.
9) GFF participated in the organizing of the OCF all staff retreat in January, an activity that helps GFF stay engaged and connected to the overall operations of OCF.
10) Rana has been working diligently on the evaluation process for our grants program, making adjustments to our rubrics and our grant applications as well as the evaluation materials (post grant) that should help us better understand the impact we are having on the non-profits we fund. Some of these new materials are incorporated in the grant processes for 2014 and some will role out in 2015.
11) We’ve been meeting with Environmental Partners who might help implement the Grants to Green program (providing money to non-profits for building remodels that boost energy efficiency.) We also conducted a statewide survey of 2000 non-profits to identify the scope of possible candidates for these grants. The application deadline for us to apply to this Grant is February 14. We should hear back from the Greater Atlanta Community F foundation by March 3. If we are successful, we will have $1million to distribute to Oregon Non-profits for energy efficiency upgrades and another $250K to administer the grant and provide energy efficiency assessments of the interested non-profits.
12) As of early December, the papers have been signed to transfer the assets from John’s estate to GFF, but as of the end of the year about $8.8 million (of $20 million) had yet to transfer. (so far we’ve received cash, the remainder is in more complicated assets) There is still about $15.1 million in the estate waiting to transfer. OCF has received all of their distributions. So the other funds (besides our $8.8 million) that haven’t transferred will go to the YARG foundation.
13) We are planning to host a gathering of funders/donors who care about environment and environmental education…to establish the need for coordination and education of the funder/donor community on this topic. We plan to have a date picked out by May and to have the gathering in September. We also met with the ED of the Oregon Zoo Foundation Jani Iverson who is interested in partnering with us on this convening effort.
14) Our intrepid volunteer, Amy Morrison, is systematically organizing all our historical evaluations into a format that will allow us to share them online. Our goal is to create a system by which grant reviewers and board members can quickly search for organizations and see past grant applications and subsequent evaluations.
15) Lara is setting up advisory committees for Geography Education and Arts grants. Rana is setting up an advisory committee for Camp Maintenance and Grants to Green. We plan to have a mix of Board, family, and outside advisors for these advisory committees.
16) I’m heading to Washington DC on Feb 3-5 as part of a WESTAF funded trip to advocate for continued National Endowment for the Arts funding. This is my second trip with this group.
17) Lara is helping to review grants for one Portland Metro’s grant program relating to equity and the environment. I am helping with reviews of one of the new Arts Grants categories that OCF is doing with the Fred Fields money.
That’s probably enough for this update. We are looking forward to seeing you in a couple weeks. I’ll send out some reading material early next week to prep you for our retreat.
Here’s to a great 2014!