10. March 7, 2012

Association Working Group Conference Call
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stan reminds us always to follow all results at musicassociation.wordpress.com. The minutes are posted pretty quickly after each call – please post any corrections that you might have.

ROLL CALL: Beth Babcock, Stanford Thompson, Mark Sarich, Louise Ghandi, Margaret Martin, Mary Wurtz, Mark Churchill, Louise Lanzilotti, Bob Fiedler, Liz Shurgen, Christopher Scott, Dalouge Smith, Cassie Lord, Rey Ramirez, Katie Wyatt, Jessie Keating, Troy Peters, Ted Mazur

Bob Fiedler and People’s Music School will host the meeting in April. He gave us an update on planning. The main work will happen during the day on Saturday, but it would be best to arrive Friday evening for a working dinner. People may also arrive earlier in order to visit the YOURS project – 3 – 5pm. Saturday activities will take place at the People’s Music School in large and small groups. Saturday night will be another dinner (and optional activities). Sunday work will continue until early afternoon. Two hotels will be offered, both accessible by the El from the airport, and to the meeting locations.

Stan has an anonymous donor that will provide $10,000 to help offset the cost of travel. One person from each organization will be able to apply for funding (and attend the meeting). Those who get some funding will be reimbursed at the meeting.

Stan asked again for ideas about a volunteer corporate lawyer. Some people are looking.

Dalouge pointed out that we need to know where the association will be incorporated physically, since states have different requirements. Beth said that we’re looking for input on which states are better for the location of the association. Dalouge suggested finding out where the national arts organizations are incorporated – he will find out.

Stan asked about any other questions and concerns at this time.  The surveys are designed to help us decide what to focus on each succeeding week. Dalouge raised a concern – the process is quite formal and there are informal side conversations going on – how to combine them.

Louise Ghandi wondered asked whether those who go to the drafting convention should be experienced in such matters. Beth said there should be a core number of individuals who are operating the kind of programs that we consider to be core programs, since the organization needs to be grown by these programs. In addition, people with good Board experience, Bylaw experience is good, but less vital.

Margaret mentioned that the people wanting to write the mission statement want to begin. Stan has asked for a few more people. Stan said that he has simply overlooked getting the group started, and he will get on it.

Beth reviewed the results of the latest survey (posted on musicassociation.wordpress.com).

She first said that on the WordPress site there is a document of cumulative decisions. A couple have been left open to be revisited in the future. We’ve so far been talking about the larger building blocks. Now we are looking at rights and benefits of membership. We will then move to how the organization will be run, where it will be located, etc.

Today’s results – members and rights/benefits of membership. There was a lot of agreement on this survey. (There were 28 respondents this week.)

1. All membership categories should have access to public communication, conferences, performances and other events.

2. All membership categories whether core or not, except the larger outside members (institutional), should have access to tools, policies, procedures, best practices, etc. This shows a strong desire to educate people doing the work. Mark asked whether we will define the categories – there will be an opportunity to do so as needed.

3. Core members were the only group entitled to all rights and benefits of the organization.

4. Core members were the only ones permitted to nominate, elect and serve on the Board. Cassie said that this gives those striving to become core members an incentive to grow, but felt they might need some kind of representation.  Margaret mentioned that this format defines the group as a working Board rather than a fundraising Board. Mark cautioned that we might consider some other types of people as potential members. Liz Shurgen felt that a Board might benefit from diversity of types of representatives. Louise Lanzilotti reminded the group that everything we are discussing is so far preliminary and will be finalized later. Dalouge mentioned that the way the questions are presented probably influences the decisions on this, and that this and other questions will be revisited. There was more discussion about this topic. Mark Churchill reminded us about the three Ws – wealth, wisdom and work.

5. Core members were the only ones that could state that they are members of ESUSA. Margaret and Dalouge cautioned about the importance of inclusivity. Mark C. agreed, but said that it’s somewhat nuanced in terms of value control. Mark in St. Louis said that definition and inclusivity need to be balanced. Louise Ghandi said that her group had a visitor from another country with El Sistema programs, who said that their group has been cooperating with other groups that are not “core”. The nuance is the definition of membership for clarity. Margaret mentioned giving groups a number of stars based on their work – Rey said that’s an interesting idea, but doesn’t think we’re there at this point. Beth reminded us that we have previously mentioned the issue of certification as an issue at some point.

6. Only core members and programs in development should have access to data and outcomes. Christopher Schott (cscott@elsistemacolorado.org) from Denver offered his experience (and that of some others that he will drag in) to help in this area. Margaret said she is working in this area, too.

7. Only core members and students should have discount opportunities.

As an outsider, Beth sees us as an organization that exists to develop and promote the vision, mission and work of core members in a deep and meaningful way, that is both visionary and inspiring. The group is interested in sharing its work and data broadly, but is primarily interested in being controlled by core members and for core members and aspiring members.

Dalouge is not surprised by these comments and said that he has seen it before in new associations. He wonders whether this organization might start on a little wider note, focusing on social change on a larger level. How might we look for converging alignment for larger impact. We have so much potential for change and we might need some bigger articulations about the impact. Margaret suggested a book on this topic – Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High Impact Non-Profits. Mary agrees. Louise Ghandi cautions us to define social change and our impact very carefully. She also wants us not to just be self-serving, but to remember to think outside of ourselves. Mark C. added that it’s partly a question of sequence. To have the vision of social change is essential. He recommended the article Collective Impact, which was also an inspiration at the San Antonio conference. Louise Lanzilotti has a copy of the article and will send it to Stan for posting.

Beth is pleased at our progress and positive about our potential to build the organization in a productive way.

Mark from St. Louis would like to be involved in the development of the mission statement.

Dalouge asked about the next step – Beth said there would be more surveys about the kind of Board, form of the organization, etc. We will do as much work as possible before the drafting convention. Topics will be Bylaws, how to incorporate, how to ratify and begin. That will allow us to go to the drafting convention with a lot of steam. The next survey will get into Board structure.

Stan thanked everyone for slogging through the process.

Dalouge asked about the next survey round about the Board. Sometimes there is an establishing Board. Could we explore that? Beth said that the working group is somewhat serving in that role, as will the drafting group. We may also make the formal Board a starter Board of sorts. We can also consider an advisory Board, as do many Boards.

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