Board of Directors

Regular Meeting -- December 13, 2009

The Board of Directors held its regular monthly meeting at 2007 Bert Avenue, Austin, TX 78704, starting at 1:20 pm. The following directors (constituting a quorum of the full board) were present at the meeting: President Kathy Lee, Vice President and Secretary Leslie Harvey (by phone), Treasurer Pam Chambers. and Robert Gardner (by phone). Robert McGarey (Executive Director), Richard Cowley, Hannah Walton (for part of the meeting) and Carol Hintz were also present at the meeting.

Reading of Mission Statement and Approval of Minutes

The Mission Statement was read aloud at the beginning of the meeting. Minutes from the previous meeting were not yet ready, and so approving them was tabled until next meeting.

Executive Director's Report

Bingo. Bob reported that we had been officially invited to play bingo at Capitol Bingo starting January 1st. Our sessions would be on Sunday afternoons, and we would need to have one of our members there to sit the sessions. Bob said that even though we are planning to hold some sessions between now and January on our own, he thinks it would be a good idea to go ahead and join the unit. Given that we've been hurting financially since we lost our lease at American Bingo, Bob said that this seems like the wise move.

So it was unanimously

RESOLVED, that we approve our organization playing bingo at the hall that invited us to join their unit, namely Capitol Bingo at 5310 Burnet Road, Suite 124, Austin, TX 78756, starting on January 1, 2010 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Finances. Bob reported that Annapurni has not been able to volunteer recently since she is pregnant, so we don't have current financial reports, but that he did a quick calculation of our outstanding checks and bank balance and that we are only $5 short of the $2,500 needed for our mortgage payment on the 15th! He said that our 20% Off Everything sale may have resulted in some net profit, but not much.

Bob's Job. Bob reported that there are so many tasks he's performing for his job that it is pretty overwhelming right now, and he wanted the board to be aware that there are going to be certain things that will not get done. Things that produce income are high on his priority list right now, given that we don't have bingo, and other things like the Christmas tree are much lower on the list. In response, Kathy offered to donate and deliver the Christmas tree, and Bob gratefully accepted.

Proposals. Bob asked the Board to approve the following proposals. His rationale is included, along with a synopsis of the discussion at the Board meeting:

PROPOSAL #1: "Our core perspective, philosophy and values are rooted in and informed by humanistic psychology."

RATIONALE: There has been some discussion lately about what the central defining core of the Center is, and I think it would be helpful to articulate it more fully. You can find out more about humanistic psychology at The reason I believe this is the defining core of the Center is that we could dispense with many other things and still have something that is recognizable as the Center, but we couldn't dispense with humanistic psychology without losing the spirit of the place.

For example, if we didn't have art shows, we would still be the Center. If we didn't have the garden, or the art barn, or chickens, or our computers, or even the campus, we would still be the Center. However, if we lost the playfulness, the honesty, the self-examination, the yearning for deep connections, the desire to communicate lovingly and well, the emphasis on health and hope and love and creativity, then the Center would have lost its soul and would no longer be the Center. So I think it's important to state clearly that this is what we aim for and value, and that we believe this is centrally important to the Center.

BOARD DISCUSSION: Some board members expressed confusion about how this statement will be used. Bob said it's not particularly for the general public, since the general public doesn't really know what Humanistic Psychology is. Rather, it's for us to use at a Board level, since there have recently been arguments at the board level about what the core of the Center is. This is a way of reaffirming what the Center is about at its core. Robert said his only concern is that we not narrow our focus or exclude people or events. Bob said that Humanistic Psych is very broad, and so it is more likely to include things than exclude them. The proposal was approved unanimously.

PROPOSAL #2: "From now on, renting space at the Center on an ongoing basis will be a benefit reserved exclusively for members. All rental agreements will be made directly with the Center, and all rental fees will be paid directly to the Center."

RATIONALE: Over the last year or so, we've experimented with renting our space to a few collectives of people who were focused on a particular area, such as practicing massage or creating their art. While this has successfully drawn in a few people who might not have visited the Center otherwise, it has also created separate groups with separate needs and disparate goals within a single organization, and has resulted in some misunderstandings and tensions between the groups. Ensuring that all renters are members of the Center will make feelings of divisiveness less likely and create a greater feeling of common interests, shared community and cooperation.

Membership is $20 per month, and the rental fees charged current renters will be reduced by that amount. So for example, people who rent space in the Art Barn are currently paying $30 per month. When this proposal takes effect, they will pay $20 per month for membership and $10 per month for renting the space. So the only difference for renters is that they will now receive extra benefits at no additional cost.

Of course, this membership requirement will not apply to individuals who are teaching classes or workshops, or to organizations (like the Reformed Congregation of the Goddess) that hold meetings on our campus at no charge.

BOARD DISCUSSION: Hannah suggested that in order to promote community and cohesiveness, a "meet the growing community" gathering might be needed in addition to just making people members. It was suggested that we need some policies and/or procedures for the use of rented rooms, and Pam agreed to write these up after the first of the year. Robert said we need to revisit the rental prices for rooms, which he feels are too high, but that that's something to consider in the future. The proposal was approved unanimously by the board.

New Business

Hannah's Proposal. The current renters of the Imaginary Room/Massage Room would like to rent the top of the Garage Apartment instead, beginning as soon as January 1st and hopefully no later than March 1st. Hannah listed several repairs that need to be completed before it can be rented, however. Bob pointed out that he has asked Hannah to focus her internship hours on getting those repairs done, and she is excited about doing that. Pam expressed a concern that the physical separation might create more separateness and less cohesion. Richard suggested that we obtain a fair market appraisal of the value of the apartment, which we might be able to obtain by finding someone on the internet. The sense of the board was that this is an interesting possibility. Further discussion was tabled until next meeting.

Atmosphere of Board Meetings. Bob noted that even though there was still some tension at this meeting, it was significantly less than at some of the other meetings in the last few months, and that he is pleased with that.

Since there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at around 4 pm.