April Minutes

April 19, 2012 (11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)

Meeting Minutes

 The meeting was called to order by Shepard Nevel at 11:35 a.m.

The meeting began with a brief parent testimonial by Starlyn Henderson, a volunteer with MDBB.  She said she’s been reading to her daughter each day and loves the books (especially pointing out pictures in the picture book).  Starlyn said the visit gave her new ideas and helped her have conversations while reading instead of just reading words on a page.  Maria Soto apologized for not being able to find a parent to come in for a testimonial as planned.  She said many of the families have limited transportation and it’s difficult for them to come to the office.  Shepard said this underscores why the home visitation model is so important.

A motion was made by Nancy Accetta to approve the February 16, 2012 meeting minutes; it was seconded by Liz Kincannon and carried unanimously.

Beverly Eagle gave the Finance Committee update beginning with the dashboard saying both revenue and expenses are currently under budget.  The cash position has improved since March 31st with an additional $55K from Rose Community Foundation (a commitment made in  2011).  The differences between budgeted and actual expenses on the P&L are mostly due to timing.  Marketing printing (#5204) is for affiliate referral postcards (in place of the brochures) and the project has been delayed a month or two.  Salaries are lower due to one less FTE and benefits are double because of almost $5K in accrued employee vacation.  Beverly said there are some small permanent savings but mostly the difference is due to timing.  She said $10K was budgeted for foundation revenue and so far $3,250 has been received ($3K from First Plymouth).  She said it doesn’t look like the remaining $6K will come in (the people who set up the revenue projections are no longer here which makes it difficult).  Individual giving is up due to Erna Butler memorial giving.  The golf tournament revenue will most likely end up being lower as one of the past sponsors will be giving individually instead of through the tournament.

Paul Smith then gave a brief 2011 audit presentation saying he reviewed the financial statements in some detail with the Finance Committee.  There was only one journal entry made due to a $10K grant that came in at the end of 2011 with a future promise to give that wasn’t recorded correctly.  Paul said the decline in fund balance is a concern but CBB got a “clean opinion” and is not in any current jeopardy.  He said the organization can lose money for a number of years but obviously at some point this trend will eventually end.  CBB does have reasonable diversity in revenue but the large foundation grant from the Colorado Health Foundation is significant and if CBB didn’t receive this in the future it would have a major impact.  Paul offered to answer any additional questions by phone if any arise.

Paul said the Board needs to approve the financial statements and all members must review the 990.  He said to pay special attention to page 6 on the 990 related to governance as well as Schedule O.  He pointed out the outside accountant letter on internal controls as well as the governance letter stating there are no conflicts, no evidence of manufacturing of documents, and no major changes to accounting policies.  Paul mentioned one big change coming up to do with capitalizing a lease which will mainly impact commercial entities and people who do leasing.  Steve Berman made a motion for Board members to contact Jean McSpadden or Marion Batayte in the next 48 hours with any questions or objections to the financial statements/990.  If no objections are raised, they are to be filed as is. The motion was seconded by Greg Geissler and was approved unanimously.

Shepard then turned the meeting over to Steve Berman to discuss the most recent program impact survey findings.  Steve said the evaluation approach for this survey as well as ones in the past have to do with parent understanding of age specific development and healthy behaviors for their child as well as parent engagement in activities that promote health and appropriate development (i.e. talking with, encouraging, and reading to children).  It’s one thing to understand the importance and another thing to make changes. The survey also measured if parents know how to get support for their child – including understanding characteristics of quality child care.  Steve said the final level would be to show positive child outcomes, but getting to this level is very expensive.  CBB’s ultimate goal is to reduce the number of children who enter kindergarten not ready to learn and increase the percentage that are. Steve admitted this is a difficult goal to evaluate.  He said CBB should focus on intermediate outcomes where there’s a huge amount of data showing that when parents talk/read more with their child it impacts the child being ready to learn in kindergarten as well as their reading level in 3rd grade.  Steve said if CBB could get $3 million we could duplicate these studies – but the evidence is already there that if we can get parents to exhibit these behaviors it results in positive child outcomes.  He said CBB can show impact on parents but we don’t have resources to show change in outcomes for children.

Steve reiterated assessments needed to measure child outcomes at 4, 5 and 6 years old are very expensive.  However, other programs with resources (i.e. the Abecedarian, Hart & Risley, Reach Out and Read) have already shown positive child outcomes.  Shepard said the same would be the case with health results of CBB.  It’s already been shown that an increase in access to health care is predictive to healthy outcomes.  Liz agreed saying if CBB changes parent behaviors we can infer impact on school readiness. She said the real value is in being able to articulate that message clearly.  Jean said she continues to get questions about CBB being evidence based.  Shepard said the federal government puts money into evidence based programs but CBB isn’t eligible for this money. However, he said the private funding space could be persuasive.  Steve said CBB is using LearningGames which has the strongest evidence base in literature (the Abecedarian study findings are stronger than any others). He said because of this CBB could make the case that we do have a strong evidence base.  Shepard said messaging this and equipping the Board to message it could be really helpful.

Steve said the factors CEPA (Center for Education Policy Analysis) had to consider for the evaluation were that parents had enough time between the visit and survey to show a sustainable change in behavior.  The sample size also needed to be sufficient with a representative sample across affiliates/programs and number of visits per family.  Steve said the methodology of CBB surveys in the past have had issues in terms of representativeness of findings.  For this study, roughly ¼ of the parents were single moms.  Steve said it would be interesting to look up overall statewide demographics to see if we’re over or under representative.  Liz said the survey is a good picture of a typical client who is getting CBB visits across the state.

Steve said a question to look at is are we reaching the right families?  Maria Soto said she’s visited very low income Latino families as well as wealthy families in Douglas County and when they see the materials it has a big impact and they’re very impressed – so she would say yes.  Liz agreed that it feels like a good cross section of families.  She said CBB is teaching behaviors and habits and we should never assume people have skills and knowledge just because of their education or income level.  She said she loves that CBB is reaching a huge range of families.

Steve said the evaluation shows CBB materials are appropriate for families with less than a high school education with acceptance well over 90%.  He said he is currently trying to adapt educational materials to illiterate moms in Latin America using audio chips laminated on picture sheets.  He said this modification is something CBB might be able to use in the future with illiterate moms.  Laura Stanley said one of the great things about how we present the materials is that families don’t necessarily need to know how to read.  The time spent with the family gives them much of the information they need.  Steve agreed that CBB can’t lose sight of the fact that a visit is more than the materials –interaction is key.  Steve said Table 4 shows we’re getting our key messages across about the importance of reading, playing, encouraging.  He said if we had a higher number than 95% people would be suspicious and say we’re fudging the data.  He said this data “is as good as it could get”.  Shepard asked if there were any concerns about selection bias that the people who participated in the study were more engaged.  Steve said prior data was based on who responded to a postcard which was biased.  This evaluation minimized the selection bias since people were randomly selected for a telephone interview.

Steve said looking at usefulness from a parent’s perspective Latino parents consistently found the CBB materials more useful.  He said he thinks the reason is that Latino parents are not as aware of the importance of talking, encouraging, reading to children.  Many of them are in a lower socio-economic status and came from a society where these things are not valued.  He said he’d like to stratify the data by education level to see if this hypothesis is correct and correlates with education level.  It would also be good to look at bilingual/monolingual language proficiency.  He said this is terrific data as we want to reach people who don’t understand how important these actions are.  Steve said he contributed to a blog for the Colorado Trust on health and wellness related to CBB.  He compared starting kindergarten to going to the World Cup – you need a good coach.  He said the CBB materials provide a guide to being a good coach.

Next Steve said the ratings of CBB publications are almost all 90% or above and even higher for Hispanic parents.  He said Table 8 is critical because parents may understand the value but are they actually making changes.  The data showed over 80% of parents are playing games, singing songs, using picture books, and introducing new words, which is dynamite!  He said for people who want evidence – here’s the evidence.  Steve said Table 10 shows we can still do more.  Although Hispanic families find the CBB materials more useful they’re not engaging in activities as much.  He said this is an area to continue to work on.  He said in Table 11 we need to look at why Colorado Springs is lower on activities than other regions.  He said we need to look deeper at who the families are they’re seeing (lower income? more Hispanic?) and is there a reason the scores were lower or is their program delivery not the same.

Finally Steve said Table 12 is the most important slide because it shows when a family receives two visits there’s a bigger impact.  He said maybe we need to explore changing the model to have a visit a month later to reinforce concepts.  Amy Slaughter asked is this multiple visits for the same programs or families who received an A and B or an A, B, and C?  Steve said this is a good question and we need to clarify if this was two visits for the same program or two different programs.  Regardless he asked if a visit or a phone call a month after the initial visit would have an impact.  And he said CBB needs to put more energy into ensuring families get all three programs (although he said it’s obvious we’re making progress in this area compared to 2010).

Shepard said CBB should take Steve’s presentation and pull out talking points to roll out publically.  He said all Board members could be presenters of this info to their connections.  Maria said marketing is key.  Christina is doing an amazing job especially with Facebook but we need to keep working in the Latino community.  She said CBB is in several Latino magazines but we need to keep connecting on the radio and TV and building relationships.

Jean then introduced Amy Farnan as the new Development Director.  Amy said she’s thrilled for the opportunity to join the CBB team.  She’s currently the Director of Advancement at the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation where she’s been for the past 8 years. She said she has a long history of fundraising in Metro Denver and is looking forward to using her skills to diversify funding for CBB.  Jean added that Amy has also worked at Kent Denver as well as the University of Denver.

Jean next gave the Executive Director update saying the current server is very old and CBB is in need of a technology upgrade.  Although it’s not in the 2012 budget Jean said Jennifer (the IT consultant) feels the current system could crash any day and there are numerous reasons why it’s important to have this upgrade.  Jean said the estimate from Jennifer is $6,079 although it may end up being slightly lower.  Jean said as this is not in the budget she would need board approval for the expenditure.  Steve said he feels it would be a mistake to wait.  He said this is not a lot of money and it would be hard to recoup the cost of a server crash.  Shepard said he would be in support of a motion for supplemental approval.  Greg Geissler asked if this is bare bones for an upgrade or if there are other upgrades needed at this time.  Jean said according to Jennifer the proposed updates will allow CBB to move forward for a number of years.  She said the organization has some old computers but that update is not part of this proposal.  Greg Geissler made a motion for a budget variance to approve $6,100 for an upgrade to the CBB server.  It was seconded by Chalyse Robinson and was approved unanimously.

Christina Alexiades gave a brief update on the website development.  She said she’s in the final stages of the process.  The new site is built in Word Press which will be easier to change.  It provides a call to action and more opportunity for engagement.  She said the site will have 5 marketing banners that will rotate through the site depending on the specific campaign.  There will also be logos of our top 7 supporters above $25K.  She said she’s trying to get across the message of the impact made by CBB.  Steve asked if families could have an opportunity to share what their child has done with a specific game or how CBB impacted them.  Christina said the social networking component will be included and the site will be in both English and Spanish.  However, a blog on the site will be part of the second roll out which will happen maybe 3 – 4 months after the first.  She said CBB first needs to get people on Twitter and Facebook and then incentivize them to share their stories.  She said families will be able to sign up for events on the site and it will really drive the focus with individual donors.  Steve said not to forget to obtain duplicate forms for a photo release from families whose pictures are on the site.  He said another idea for the future would be to highlight a game each month and show a visitor teaching a mom how to play the game (a “Game of the Month”).  Christina said this has definitely been discussed as well as having tip sheets and highlighting parts of the picture book.  She said there are definitely more enhancements that can be made in the future.  The new site will launch at the end of May or the first week of June.  Shepard said it would be great to lead with individual stories but he’d also like to see a synthesis of CBB research about our impact to alleviate some of the skepticism about CBB not having enough depth or intensity.  Christina said there will be two marketing banners around the research base and why we matter with direct links to our research.

Christina next gave an update on the Earlier is Easier (EIE) partnership.  She said Kim Easton mentioned this collaboration in past Board meetings and said in her transition memo CBB should focus on this.  Christina said EIE is a collaborative group started in 2010 with the Denver Public Library, Reach Out and Read and CBB to create a public awareness campaign solely around early education.  She said Kim persuaded the group not to move forward until Christina was hired last spring and then Christina started attending meetings in June.  She said the group has intentionally chosen to stay small to figure out the mission and vision – knowing it would be harder to move ahead effectively with a large group.  She said the idea is to add more partners once they’re further along in the process.  The group is now meeting every other week and have a strong vision and mission.  They were recently offered a grant from the Piton Foundation to hire a Project Manager to get the campaign to the next level and to represent EIE in the community.   Christina said they had a meeting on Monday with Jamie Van Leeuwen from the Governor’s office.  Jamie is very excited about the collaboration.  He said the state would like to do something similar and because EIE is further along than they thought they would like to fit in with us instead of creating something new.  Christina mentioned the Governor’s office will be hiring an ED for their Early Childhood Initiative within the next week or two.  Shepard said the goal of EIE is to do something not done before as far as a large public awareness campaign around 0-3.  He said he’s spoken to Jandel Allen-Davis who is excited about this and wants to be supportive with Kaiser Permanente.  He said Kaiser would be donating help to EIE with branding and messaging.  Liz asked what’s the problem or what’s the bad news?  Christina said funding might be an issue since the Governor’s office has no money for this public awareness campaign.  But she said otherwise there is no bad news – the Governor’s office can get us places where we can’t get alone.

Shepard said the challenge is operationalizing this. He said the ECE community is typically siloed.  He said Piton is offering $25K but what happens after that.  He said a campaign like this will need paid media.  The big question is what comes next.  Shepard said there are three groups involved and one (DPL) with a majority vote.  At this point Christina clarified that each organization only has one vote.  Shepard said it’s important especially if CBB moves ahead as fiscal agent that there’s a development plan.  He said with Kaiser and the Governor’s office involvement it does make this more of a promising start.   Christina said Jamie sees this group as long term.  The Governor’s office is looking at the 0 to 8 space and EIE would be the main stakeholder for 0-3.  She added that the other partners are going to do this with or without us.  It’s a fast moving process and CBB needs to act quickly.  She said the next step is to sign a partner agreement with CBB and the other two organizations as the founding partners.  Shepard said but there are now several other partners.  Christina clarified the original 3 would be partners and then Kaiser will be a part of the process.  Beverly said it’s important to have a signed MOU.  Shepard said he feels strongly CBB should disengage from the three.  He said with involvement of the Governor’s office and Kaiser this will broaden the partnership and will allow CBB to get out of the narrow silo that represents the small slice of 0-3 agencies.  He said CBB should rethink how to define the founding partners.  Kaiser should be a significant private sector partner and CBB needs to be careful about too much territoriality with the group of three.

Amy Slaughter said the three organizations are the ones who drove the whole thing forward.  She said the state (Governor’s office) is working with Kaiser and EIE is working with the state.  Christina said this is something CBB needs to consider quickly.  She said CBB has this great opportunity because of the collaboration.  If we want to be part of the collaboration (that will happen with or without us) the Board needs to make an executive decision to move forward.

Shepard said he can’t imagine Reach Out and Read wouldn’t welcome Kaiser as a partner.  Liz said she likes how it’s currently laid out.  She said it’s better taking entities who are directly connected to ECE as partners.  Kaiser can provide expertise to the campaign but it’s different than being a full partner.  Liz also said to keep in mind the decision making process is really slow/cumbersome at Kaiser.  She said it’s better to make decisions with a small group and use Kaiser as a funder.  Liz added this sounds really cool and we should move ahead.  Greg asked what was needed from the Board as this moves along.  Jean said this went from a quiet slow moving process to a lot happening in last three months.  She said CBB had agreed in 2011 to be the fiduciary agent holding money in a restricted account for EIE and asked if the Board was OK with that. Beverly said part of Board decision should be how much of our paid staff time we’re willing to allocate.  She also asked who has authority to sign the paper that we’re part of a collaborative entity and what are the liabilities.  Jean added that DPL also has the ability to be the fiduciary agent.  Shepard said EIE could potentially end up competing with our own development activities.  He asked if there is a danger we could end up having two fundraising mountains to fund.  Jean said right now there is no development plan for EIE other than hiring a Manager who will help create the development plan and identify key partners.  Shepard asked if Piton is interested in more funding after the first phase.  Christina said they’re interested in hiring the Project Manager to find out if it’s even viable and to facilitate the process.  Beverly said she’s currently on the Steering Committee for the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference which is a joint partnership with 4 nonprofits.  She said the Chair is currently working for the conference 60 hours/week.  She said CBB has to define boundaries of what we’re spending money on.  Jean agreed that the time requirement is a concern.

Jean said the staff needs directive to move forward or move forward as a fiscal agent.  She said the first phase is to spend the Piton grant and hire a Manager and asked if CBB had formal support for Phase 1 from the Board.  Greg said he’s in favor moving forward and also suggested the Board not function as a committee as a whole.  He recommended having the Executive Committee or a smaller committee work in consultation with the staff so the Board didn’t hold up the process of moving forward.  Bev added that CBB shouldn’t go too long without a MOU in place.

Nancy Accetta said she would like to bring to the Board a potential member for vote.  Shepard said her name is Sarah Kurz with SE2.  He said historically CBB has had at least one person on the Board who is a communication professional and there is currently a gap for this skill set.  Shepard worked with Sarah on various policy communication campaigns and she would be great to fill the empty slot on the Board.  Nancy Accetta made a motion to approve Sarah to the Board Greg Geissler seconded it and it was approved unanimously. Nancy said there are other names to consider including James Mejia and Bea Romer (who is currently considering the offer).  She said they’re also looking at the Board list from the Hispanic and African American Chamber of Commerce.

Jean pointed out the golf tournament pledge sheets in the packets and said she’ll be contacting members about their pledges for the year.  Shepard said they had a great meeting with Chalyse Robinson and Patrick Pugh regarding a young professionals advisory group and they’ll add this to the agenda for next time.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:35 p.m.


Attendees at CBB Board Meeting on 4/19/2012:

 Board Members (In alphabetical order):

Nancy Accetta
Steve Berman
Beverly Eagle
Greg Geissler
Elizabeth Kincannon
Shepard Nevel
Chris Nienhuis
Patrick Pugh
Chalyse Robinson
Laura Stanley

CBB Staff Members:

Christina Alexiades
Marion  Batayte
Amy Farnan
Jean McSpadden
Amy Slaughter
Maria Soto

Board Members unable to attend (in alphabetical order):

Bernie Buescher