On July 12, 2020, the Gathering Council organized a second Community Circle. The Community heard from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee, the Billy Board and the Gathering Council.
Cole Benson presented on behalf of the DEI committee. The DEI committee was planning to organize this year’s May Day Gathering, which was cancelled due to COVID, but plans to coordinate the May Day Gathering 2021, or perhaps MidWinter 2021. They are organizing workshops, such as the upcoming Disability Workshop presented by Richard Connan and Jonathan Pannor on August 1st, and Spanish language Heart Circles for Billys whose first language is Spanish. The DEI committee encourages Billys to protest, speak publicly, and promote general public awareness of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Kris Shanks and Eric Murray presented on behalf of the Billy Board of Directors. Current financial reserves for the Billy Foundation are nearly $60,000. In addition, the Billys have almost $30,000 in restricted funds that are designated for specific purposes, such as scholarships, and for our fiscal sponsored project, Transmission. The Billys also have a 5% shareholder stake in Saratoga Springs. A special Thank You was given to Ken Kunert, for his forward thinking and building of a substantial financial reserve for the Billy Foundation, and to Paul Mueller for his lengthy negotiations to secure the 5% Billy share in Saratoga Springs. Kris presented several different options for moving forward, including giving up our lease on the office at Coddingtown, renting a storage unit in Rohnert Park, and reducing the number of hours he works as Resource Coordinator, and there was much discussion about the different options.
BearHug presented on behalf of the Gathering Council (GC), and he stated the Gathering Council would like feedback as to how the GC can best support the Billy Community during this time of virtual meetings. The current GC is also discussing if virtual meetings are within its responsibility, or if perhaps another council should be created, since virtual needs are very different from in-person needs, and some GC members are not sure they want to participate virtually. It is also important to know what types of virtual events are of most interest to the Community so efforts can be focused there. There was discussion about how best to use the online platforms, such as Zoom, for virtual events, and how to engage the community.
Recent Board Decisions
At the July 20, 2020 Billy Board meeting, the Board, after reviewing the comments from the Community Circle, approved an operating budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and agreed to close the Billy office in Santa Rosa, and move the contents of the office to storage in Rohnert Park. Kris will continue to work as the Resource Coordinator from his office at home.