Executive Director’s Report December 2021

Federal Policy Update

The Biden Administration is tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad and has created a government-wide “Justice40 Initiative.”  The FS is integrating this into their UF programs. Trying to determine what this means for us is being thought through. Essentially, it is much like our efforts on our CAL FIRE projects in disadvantaged communities.

December Update: I have attached the Sustainable Urban Forests Council “Listening Session” presentation.  It has a good overview of where things are in DC right now. Have a look!

Forest Service Regional Update – Miranda Hutten will be returning to her post soon.

Forest Service Funding – I submitted a revised approach to Miranda Hutten and Walter Passmore, CAL FIRE Urban Forester, to increase our annual Forest Service grant budget to include for visible outreach and education about “no net canopy loss” and “trees, the simple solution”.  I collaborated with California ReLeaf on how we would work together to create the campaign and what partners we would include.  Both organizations increased our annual ask by $500,000!  Feel free to ask me what’s included!

December Update: After this effort, we were informed that the funding is up in the air now.  We should know soon what the situation is.  I have built-out multiple versions in the event that the funding is less than originally thought.

Forest Service Research – December update: Attended the quarterly meeting of the Oversight Committee for the LA Center for Urban Natural Resources Sustainability.  Discussion surrounded the next round of research Fellowships, plans for 2022, new Committee members, etc.

Cal Fire – All three of our grant submittals have been invited back for final proposals.  I am working with A Plus Tree Care, Davey Resources, and West Coast Arborists on these three submittals, along with WCISA and the Britton Fund.

December Update: All final proposals have been submitted. Fingers crossed!

State Policy & Advocacy  

We are working out our approach for the new legislative session.  We will be working with Senator Caballeros’ office again on new legislation essentially called Trees as Infrastructure.  Big lift.  I have a call with Pacific Policy Group on Monday to discuss 2022 strategy.

ConferenceTime to plan for 2022.

Bookkeeping/Taxes/Audit, etc2020 taxes are complete and submitted.  Laura Burnett, our board member, and Treasurer reviewed the completed tax forms yesterday and gave me the green light (I had already reviewed them and made edits).  This will be our last action with Pam Mainini.  She has closed her business and moved to Denver.  We had determined previously that we would end our relationship with her.  We now need to find a new nonprofit accountant/tax person.

2022 Budget – I will be working on this over the next few weeks.  We will review on the January 2022 call. 

Program UpdatesAll moving forward on track. We got an extension on the Cool Parks and City Forest Renewal 1.0 grants through March 2023.  This will help us wrap up without a rush.

I went to Anaheim on November 9-10, with our program grants team to work on our final CAL FIRE grant submittals and current projects too.

Regional Councils It would be fabulous to have the councils submit a monthly report to support our reporting to the Forest Service – here’s the link; we can try again!  https://caufc.org/regional-council-report/

Updated Employee HandbookAttached is the draft of the updated Employee Handbook. This update was done for us by our wonderful legal firm, Nixon-Peabody. I’m not sure how you want to proceed here.  Should we have an ad-hoc review committee?  Do you all want to take the time to comb through this?  It would be great if we can have this approved for use in January 2022.

Outreach  See Deb’s report

Board of Directors Nick Harvey supported me at our display table at the A Plus Tree Care event welcoming the Congressional Christmas Tree to Vallejo.  Of course, Sarah Gaskin organized an amazing event on the waterfront along with the USFS, to welcome the tree to town.  This was FUN!  Sarah sponsored a silent auction and we made some money!  THANKS for the fun and funds!

Reminder of board member’s agreement to contribute $500 either directly or through other opportunities (Regional Council members excluded unless they are eager!)

Need to review 2021-2022 Calendar and board desires and deliverables.

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Hughes

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