Executive Director’s November 14, 2023

Forest Service Funding – As you all are aware, an initial grant submittal request came shortly after our in-person board meeting with CAL FIRE for our 2024-2025 (Forest Service fiscal year). When I returned from my trip Deb and I quickly crafted a draft proposal with the intention of incorporating CAL FIRE’s goals in our deliverables. It was kept very generic since we had only one page for our proposal but would allow for the board’s desired deliverables to be teased out in practice. We built out a budget with two versions – our typical funding at $210K and an expanded budget that would include much of what we shared with CAL FIRE in the 10/6 meeting, which Walter Passmore gave us the go-ahead to submit to see if funding was possible.

A Zoom call was held on November 1st, at the request of Rachel O’Leary, with me, Deb, Nancy S., and Emina to discuss the initial submittal, along with a request for more information, including:

  1. “What are CaUFC’s planned specific deliverables for the funding requested?
  2. What is the anticipated timeline for those specific deliverables?
  3. Which audiences does CaUFC plan to prioritize for engagement within that specified timeline (ie which geographic regions, cities, disadvantaged communities, etc.)

We seek to gain deeper insight into the audiences CaUFC plans to serve, the plan for implementation, and the methods intended for reaching those audiences.”

Nancy S. presented details regarding what our approach would be, including working with regional councils, developing a pilot program for one region, utilizing the Urban Forest Management Plan Toolkit, and much more.

The good news is our $210K budget is approved, and Rachel O’Leary has requested us to detail our measurable deliverables, reflecting on Nancy S’s presentation. We were encouraged to submit to CAL FIRE’s IRA pass-through grants for our expanded vision. These grant guidelines will be available in late November, we were told, and submittals are due in January 2024.

Forest Service Update – I will be attending my last Advisory Committee meeting for the Los Angeles Center for Urban Natural Resources Sustainability on December 7th. I will ask them if another CaUFC representative should take my place. We are the only statewide representation – everyone else is from Southern California.

Cal Fire – Invoices have been submitted for the first two quarters of 2023 for Amplifying the Urban Forest grant; the third quarter is nearly ready to submit. We continue to hold team meetings with WCISA & WCA on remaining deliverables.

Our two audited grants:
Cool Parks – We were challenged on two separate occasions by CAL FIRE regarding missing invoices on the Cool Parks closeout grant on the 9/20/23 and then separately by email, but we were able to demonstrate to CAL FIRE that we had submitted those invoices before, and sent them along again. It appears Cool Parks is in good shape and we should expect payment at some point in the future.

CFR 1.0 – Currently CAL FIRE is disallowing some of the removals from the grant that WCA, Inc., performed. Andy Trotter, from WCA, is n conversation with John Melvin from CAL FIRE, making the case based on a conversation he had with Walter Passmore regarding the work they said they would do to address the issues that were outstanding. WCA feels that they have addressed this as promised. More to come on this as I hear more. I’ll keep you posted.

CFR 2.0 – Sarah Gaskin is working on a draft; we will have it ready for review soon.

Prop 1 – The California Coastal Conservancy – this grant was completed on October 31, 2023. We will be wrapping up the reporting and invoicing by the end of November.

State Policy & Advocacy – Waiting to hear back from Amanda Hansen regarding an Urban Forestry Planning event.

Bookkeeping/Taxes/Audit, etc. – Tax documents were completed, reviewed by our treasurer Laura Barnett, and sent to board members for review and comment. I have completed the final documents needed for submittal and the tax documents will be submitted this week.

I’m still hopping someone on our board can recommend a non-profit auditor to speak to that charges reasonable rates.

Program Updates – Our remaining grant, Amplifying the Urban Forest, is going along well. We are monitoring the care and replacement needs and communicating with cities. This grant ends 3/30/2024. Replacements by cities will go in well prior to the end of the grant.

Regional Councils – We want to organize a joint session of all councils to discuss their vision, the issues and solutions they see, and a joint effort for councils across the state.

I had a call with Raquel Falco, the Inland Urban Forest Council rep, regarding understanding the role of a regional council representative. It was a good, informative conversation. She is currently on leave from the board as she has changed her job, but will return.

Outreach – The Save Our Shade Campaign to launch soon – aligns with membership opportunities.

Board Meetings – our next board call is December 12, 2023 at 12 Noon.

Board Recruitment – Mona Cummings is our ad hoc chair. We received two unsolicited applications through the board webpage. Mona will discuss these submittals on the November call, but the assumption is they will be delayed till some point in 2024. This is for the board to decide. Application and Board member information

Here is the list of board members whose terms expire Dec 31, 2023, and we will need to know if they would be interested in another term.
• Nick Harvey, Gordon Mann, Emina Darakjy, Bob Blum, Emily Spillett-Brownlie

Wells Fargo Bank Issue – I believe the choice of a new bank should wait until the new ED is in place.

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

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Hughes

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