CHC Board Meeting: August 7, 2020

Board of Directors meeting
Fri. Aug. 7, 2020

President Madhu Krishnamurthy called the meeting to order. Also present on a Zoom conference call: Rob Elder, Howard Dubin, Greg Karp, Flynn McRoberts, Tahman Bradley, Suzanne McBride, Maria Zamudio, Alejandra Cancino, Blair Chavis, Christine Wolf, Jason Martin, Michael Limon, Ash-har Quaraishi, Nader Issa, Maya Dukmasova, and Susan S. Stevens.

Madhu said she wants the Headline Club’s 100th anniversary year to “accomplish something great” despite the pandemic. She will chair this committee. A celebration once a month. She called for us to be more inclusive and diverse. She wants a plan of succession for every role on the board to make it easier for newcomers to positions. Google will have a FAQ for incoming roles, plus a master calendar. She wants to make a huge push to increase memberships, perhaps Zoom sessions to welcome new journalism students.

Program VP: Madhu nominated freelancer Taylor Moore as chair. Mike Ewing volunteered to help her. Board approved. We welcomed two other new board members who participated in the meeting: Ash-har and Nader.

Madhu would like to recruit or award 100 new memberships this year. She suggests giving free memberships at all events. We signed up 190 new members in the first round of free memberships to Lisagor finalists and distressed journalists, with perhaps 100 coming in a second batch. We also will look into membership links with other journalism groups.

EIJ 2020, which will be entirely online, Sept. 12 and 13: We’ll sponsor anyone on the board who wants to attend. Cost is $45. You can be reimbursed through Greg’s Google doc. We’ll have four delegates: Madhu, Rob, Membership VP Amanda Vinicky. They will vote on behalf of our chapter at business sessions.

Madhu and Rob spoke with a group of Second City alumni who are seeking mentors for kids ages 8 to 12. Madhu will share details as she gets them so board members can sign up. Christine wants to participate.
Maria said we need to make sure pupils are diverse. Rob worked up a draft of a couple of sentences we should tag onto everything to codify our position.

SPJ HQs approved our request for $500 to help fund FOIAFest in February 2021.

Madhu urges all of us to share everything on social media. Plus, if you are doing something journalism-related outside your job other than participating on our board, let her know so she can tout your volunteer work in her annual report.

Note that we co-sponsored two summer programs.

Rob has 12 other chapters supporting our initiative to stop SPJ from allowing EIJ sponsorships from groups with agendas that don’t fit our organization’s mission, such as Koch. A vote will be taken at EIJ.

Remember our store:

Treasurer’s report: Greg said both the Headline Club and its foundation have about $80,000 in their treasuries. He presented budget drafts he hopes will make planning easier.This spreadsheet contains six draft budgets, skeletons to change as we see fit. My contribution was to pull numbers from previous years:

Chicago Headline Club overall budget
Chicago Headline Club Foundation overall budget
Lisagor contest

Greg asks VPs in charge of Lisgors, FOIAfest, programming and membership: Please look over budgets and consider what changes you might want. Feel free to leave a comment on the spreadsheet. Very little is planned right now, so everybody understands these are preliminary budgets meant to make planning easier.
SPJ requires board votes for spending money. We can approve a whole budget for, say, Lisagors, instead of approving each expenditure as it comes up. If changes are needed, we can vote on them later.
Applications for grants — like McCormick and Driehaus, worth thousands of dollars — often ask for budgets, sometimes for a specific program and for the overall organization. Budgets really should be fundamental to how we operate…

Watchdog report: Jason said the Driehaus Foundation awarded a $20,000 2-year grant, retaining funding for Watchdog Award ($2,500 per year) and Investigative Reporting Grant ($2,500 per year), and adding $5,000 per year to support FOIA Fest. Greg received payment of $10,000 for this year’s support in July.
FOIAFest has about $7,000 to start with.
Jason is seeking a watchdog committee chair in waiting who can shadow him and take over the process next year when Jason rolls off the board. Maria asked about the time commitment, and Jason said he’d figure it out.

Programs: Give Madhu your ideas. Suggestions so far are whether it’s time to re-think how much journalists rely on law enforcement agencies as trusted sources and how we cover communities of color.

URLs: We have, content switched to a couple of years ago. Rob also bought several similar URLs to protect our FOIAFest branding.

Committee sign-ups: Watch for Madhu’s Google doc to sign up for committees you want to serve on.

Lisagor: Madhu said the plaques are being made (delayed by the pandemic) and should be finished this month. We’ll get them shipped to point people in newsrooms for them to distribute to winners.

Foundation: Susan said we awarded a $5,000 Les Brownlee Scholarship to Adam Mahoney, a Northwestern University student, and two $5,000 intern grants to not-for-profits,

Block Club Chicago and Injustice Watch.

Next meeting: Fri. Sept. 4. We will continue to meet the first Fridays of the month.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Stevens, secretary and foundation president