2016 FNPS Board of Directors Meeting, Monday, February 29, 2016 at 7PM

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Anne Cox

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on: February 06, 2016, 12:17:36 PM
The Corporate Donor Policy is posted below. The Board of Directors is reviewing this policy and all comments are to be posted below this message. To Post, hit reply and either post your comments in the "Block" or attach and note the attachment. Thanks, Anne Cox.

Mon, Feb 29, 2016 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/911478709

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States : +1 (646) 749-3122+1 (646) 749-3122

Access Code: 911-478-709


« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 04:56:55 PM by Anne Cox »
Anne C. Cox, Ph.D.

Juliet Rynear

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Reply #1 on: February 07, 2016, 12:00:23 PM
See attached for a copy of the Florida Wildflower Foundation Gift Acceptance Policy.  There are some good legal elements in here that we may want to include in our policy.  The first paragraph is a good example, as well as sections that address guidelines for accepting real property.  Terry Zinn (an attorney) helped write the FWF policy. 
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Peter Rogers

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Reply #2 on: February 07, 2016, 12:33:05 PM
Dear all,

There has been an underlying tension between some members of this committee that centers on the issue of accepting donations from certain corporate interests, most notably Mosaic. 

I believe we must separate the broader issue of a Donor Policy document from the very specific issue of any one particular potential sponsor company (in this case, Mosaic).  Whether to accept money from any particular company whose business practices may be in conflict with the mission of FNPS is covered by paragraph F of the Eligibility section of the proposed policy:

“FNPS reserves the right to refuse donations and sponsorships from any donor/sponsor engaged in business practices or other activities that are in conflict (real or perceived) with FNPS'mission or that may impugn the integrity of FNPS.”

Therefore it is my opinion that the board should take up two items separately at the March BOD meeting:

1.   Approval of the Donor Policy document; and,
2.   Whether FNPS is willing to accept donations from Mosaic.

Regards
Pete 

Juliet Rynear

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Reply #3 on: February 07, 2016, 03:23:14 PM
Peter,

I both agree and disagree with your proposal.  Here are my thoughts and recommendations.

Thoughts:

1.   Our goal here is to draft a strong donor policy that will provide the framework by which FNPS Board of Directors and Executive Committee can thoroughly vet donations/gifts prior to acceptance.  A strong policy will allow the Board of Directors and Executive Committee to maintain and grow our organization without harming it in any number of ways.  Potential harm can include but is not limited to, litigation, conflict of interest, appearance of (or actual) quid pro quo, perception of endorsement, and perception of “whitewashing” or exoneration of past crimes or scandals.
2.   The harsh reality is that most human activity is a threat to the mission of FNPS.  Human beings require food, water, shelter, and in the Anthropocene Epoch, transportation.  Each of these needs has harmed and will continue to harm Florida’s native plants and plant communities.  To ban donations from individuals or groups engaged in the production and/or acquisition of food, water, shelter, and transportation is simply not practical.  Hence the need for a strong donor policy that will allow FNPS to grow in the most ethically responsible manner possible.
3.   To selectively ban a major corporation or industry, especially those which provide support for human life, may give the appearance that FNPS is a political organization.  While FNPS is not a political organization, FNPS does draft policy statements:   “Policy statements are based on science, and are accompanied by background and literature supporting the FNPS position (Handbook Wiki:  Policy Formation).” 

Recommendations:

1.   For those FNPS members wishing to selectively target individuals, corporations, or organizations for exclusion as either members or donors, I recommend that they draft a separate policy statement per FNPS standards and present it to the Board of Directors for approval.  I believe that this treatment of “selective targeting” is consistent with FNPS Bylaws and should be treated as a separate issue from the general Donor Policy.
2.   Add:  FNPS shall accept only gifts that are deemed consistent with the public laws and/or regulations of the United States of America and the State of Florida.  FNPS will closely observe the rules and guidance set forth by the Florida Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (FUPMIFA).
3.   Add:  The FNPS Board of Directors shall make the final decisions for the acceptance of all gifts and grants above $X,000, and for any exception to its policies and guidelines.
4.   Add:  FNPS will not accept gifts that are overly restrictive in purpose, preferring instead gifts with the least restrictions that allow FNPS best fulfill its mission.
5.   Add criteria for acceptance of non-cash gifts/donations.  Sale and disposition of property, address issues of property encumbrances, associated expenses (taxes, etc.).
6.   Add a section on donor confidentiality and donor recognition.  Not all donors wish to be recognized, so we should have a policy and procedure to address this.
7.   Have an attorney (we can probably obtain pro-bono services) review our final draft.

Word of caution:

Only FNPS members are allowed to participate on committees, the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.  Any votes, comments, and/or representations made by non-members cannot be considered as part of these proceedings.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 03:25:02 PM by Juliet Rynear »
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Devon Higginbotham

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Reply #4 on: February 23, 2016, 03:46:15 PM
This meeting is for the board to discuss the Donor/Sponsor Policy submitted by the Donor Policy Committee.  The Policy will be voted on at the March 13 2016 board meeting.

Mon, Feb 29, 2016 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/911478709

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States : +1 (646) 749-3122+1 (646) 749-3122

Access Code: 911-478-709
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 05:29:08 PM by Devon Higginbotham »

Anne Cox

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Reply #5 on: February 25, 2016, 11:45:49 AM
Excellent discussion and suggestions above by Peter and Juliet. 

My understanding is that new comments under the Forum Board of Directors heading are automatically sent to Board members.  I would like to see a notice sent to all the members of the Donor Policy Committee letting them know that comments are being posted here on the Forum. 

Anne
Anne C. Cox, Ph.D.

Juliet Rynear

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Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 07:49:57 PM
Please review the attached draft documents and comments that Ad Hoc Committee members have recommended for review by the Board of Directors.

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Dave Feagles

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Reply #7 on: February 29, 2016, 12:29:49 PM
The attachment shows the foundation of my thinking on this controversial issue. I've included the text here for convenience.



            Donor Policy Remarks 02-28-2016

Juliet make an excellent point. Now in the anthropocene we are in conflict with the natural world as we assert our needs onto an Earth that now needs to accommodate a species that is unlike anything it has ever encountered. We have displaced animals by the mere size of our villages. We've altered the composition of our atmosphere. So when we drive to our annual retreat over asphalt highways, we are part of the problem. We are also smart enough to see the problem, so we won't be another boom and bust population that's barely a footnote to continental history. So we spread the awareness. How? By engaging. By becoming stewards not only of the Earth, also of our fellow villagers. Enter the dialogue graciously, helpfully, and move toward a confluence of objectives. If they want to support us, it's because we have something they value. We shouldn't give it away. It's a negotiation. If we don't enter the negotiation, we don't have their support and they don't have out help. We can end the arrangement anytime if it bears no fruit. Only one way to find out.
On rereading the proposed policy I was struck by the disqualification of entities who present a material risk to FNPS. “These risks include environmental risks; human rights violations or similar abuses by the corporation; prosecution of the corporation for illegalities; regulatory compliance failures; reputation; actions not in line with a healthy ecosystem; or a highly-publicized controversy related to the corporation.” Superficially, who wouldn't want to get behind demonizing perpetrators of human rights violations and other egregious wrong doings, but if these are accusations, don't we want to assume innocence before they are proved guilty and if they are proved guilty then we have to assume the problem has been corrected. The mere fact of being embroiled in a controversy doesn't make you a bad person. I mean those damned environmentalists are trying to grab land and stop development with no thought of what that does to Carpenters and Plumbers lives. My point is that that language needs to removed. I singled this particular passage out, but there are other passages with the same problem, that should be removed.

Ellen Broderick

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Reply #8 on: March 03, 2016, 01:22:52 PM
I agree with Dave.  Further, the Wildflower Foundation policy that Juliet provided is an excellent example of clarity of language and a welcoming document for potential funders.  As it stands now our policy draft is unwelcoming and reflects an internal lack of coherence within FNPS. Who would give money to an organization that reflects its internal turmoil in a policy statement?