Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes January 11, 2014





Mad River Glen Cooperative

Board of Trustees Meeting

Minutes – Saturday, January 11th, 2014


After due notice, a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Mad River Glen Cooperative was convened at 5:00 pm on Saturday, January 11th, 2014 on the third floor of the Basebox at Mad River Glen Ski Area (“MRG”) in Fayston, Vermont.







Elkind (Chair)




Stetson (Vice-Chair)




Anderson (Secretary)




Liu (Treasurer)









Also present were President Wimble and approximately 25 shareholders.



*** Calendar reminders:

Board Meetings on Feb 8, Mar 15



5:02 PMCall to Order


Chair Elkind called the meeting to order. He welcomed the assembled and asked that shareholder questions be held until after the Fundraising committee presentation. He explained that many questions would be answered by the presentation.


He then asked for comments on the December minutes, there were none.


5:03 PM Review & Approve Minutes of December 14, 2013



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To approve the minutes of December 14, 2013.

Trustee Stetson







5:04 PMFund Raising Committee Capital Campaign (Annika) – Action

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Results of Demont Associates’ Feasibility Study

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Next Steps

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Questions and Answers


Chair Elkind gave a brief PowerPoint presentation that began by restating the MRG mission statement and then talking about the challenge of financial sustainability the Coop faces. The recent lack of natural snow and deferred maintenance are two of the issues compounding that problem.


He talked about the recent history of the board realizing the need for a University style funding source that started in December 2009 and has evolved into the current Capitol Campaign study. He introduced and thanked Trustee Holtan for all her hard work.


Trustee Holtan thanked all of the members of the Fundraising Committee for their efforts and stated how much she enjoyed working with Demont and Associates. She added that the importance that shareholders place on the mountain and terrain was made clear.


She then introduced Bob Demont, who gave an extensive presentation of the 2013 planning study.


(A brief history and explanation of the report)


In January 2013, the Cooperative engaged the services of Demont Associates as philanthropic counsel to conduct a Planning Study.  The goal was to determine the feasibility, timing, support and priorities of a capital campaign.  In the fall of 2013, Demont conducted 62 face-to-face, confidential interviews with potential donors, leaders and advocates of MRG. The results have been compiled in the Executive Summary.


In the Executive Summary you’ll see references to the “Demont Positive Benchmark” or “DPB” throughout the study findings. The DPB is based on responses in studies conducted for organizations similar to Mad River Glen that then went on to conduct successful campaigns. By comparing the DPB with the actual percentage response in various categories, Demont can estimate how Mad River Glen might compare and fare in a campaign. We emphasize that the DPB is only one tool to assist the Planning Study Analysis, and it must be considered in the unique context and special circumstances in which Mad River Glen currently exists.



The following is the summary of the report which was distributed to those attending.



Mad River GlenFall 2013 Planning Study Results from Demont Associates


Executive Summary of Demont Associates Campaign Planning Study

The MRG Board developed a comprehensive $8.5 M capital improvement plan for a new ski patrol building, upgraded equipment & repairs to maintain current terrain, Basebox improvements, ski school and race program space, 19th and 20th land preservation and endowment. With electronic input from 735 supporters and subsequent interviews with 62 potential donors, leaders and advocates, Demont can estimate private support (96% accuracy) through tax-deductible gifts and pledges over a five-year period by utilizing 15 common data points (Demont Positive Benchmarks) in hundreds of studies with clients who also had successful campaigns in the last 34 years.


Demont Associates affirmed that $6.5-$8.5 million could be raised for the revised initiatives below, IF 1) its recommendations were adopted by the MRG Board, 2) the Board-authorizes and supports a Campaign Cabinet of recruited volunteers, and 3) gifts can be made through a revived Stark Mountain Foundation.


Mountain Preservation & Sustainability Comprehensive Plan (Lifts/Snow/Endowment)$2,250,000+

Skier Safety & Service (Patrol/Instructor Building/Lockers) $1,500,000

Youth & Family Development (Ski School/Race Space/Bird Cage) $1,500,000

Community Preservation (Basebox Improvements) $1,250,000+


Demont Associates Summary of Study Findings

Strengths identified (Descending Order of Mention): 1) Mountain, Terrain & Snow, 2) Shared Values & Community, 3) Family Friendly, Affordable & Safe Experience, 4) Dedicated Staff & Volunteers, and

5) Loyal/Passionate Shareholders and Users.


Challenges identified (Descending Order of Mention): 1) Limited Snow, 2) Co-op Culture/Management, 3) Limited Capacity/Long Lift Lines, 4) Financial Resources, 5) Deferred Maintenance, and 6) Staff Morale.


MRG met or exceeded Demont’s Positive Benchmark (DPB) in: 1) MRG’s Public Image, 2) Overall Proposed Plan with Slight Modifications & Addressable Concerns About Preserving Culture, 3) Appropriateness of the Philanthropy as the Preferred Funding Method, 4) Personal Philanthropic Priority of the Project by Respondents, 5) Personal Willingness of Respondents to Give, 6)Willingness of Respondents to Volunteer, 7) Respondents’ Willingness to Accept Leadership Roles, and 8) Proposed Timing of the Campaign (2014-2016)


MRG fell slightly short of Demont’s Positive Benchmark (DPB) in: 9) Agreement with $8.5 M urgent needs with the exception of preservation of the 19th and 20th at this time and the overall magnitude of the plan.


MRG fell significantly short of the DPB in interviewee’s opinions of: 10) Constituents’ Anticipated Receptiveness to the Project/Campaign, 11-14) Lack of Certainty About the Attainability of the $8.5 million Goal and Gifts Required for Success and 15) the MRG Board’s Fund Raising Strength


While many study respondents do not know MRG’s capacity and have little to judge it except the Single Chair campaign, Demont confirmed: 1) Twenty-five potential $50K+ gifts vs. four on Single Chair Campaign, 2) Dramatic increases in potential giving of study respondents over their Single Chair Campaign gifts, 3) 95 Volunteers Willing to Solicit, and 4) Ten $50K+ donors are willing to provide campaign leadership.


Demont Associates Key Recommendations

1. Finalize a $6.5-$8.5 million strategic plan and vision with more emphasis on snow management plans and re-ordered 5-year needs in a 5-plus year pro-forma prior to any campaign solicitation. (Board and Staff in 2014)

2. Engage and inform shareholders & stakeholders and seek willing shareholders’ support in planning/campaign by asking for their advice; utilizing their expertise; and enlisting them as volunteers. (2014-2015)

3. Approve capital campaign planning and implementation for the projects proposed above; enlist Stark Mountain Foundation as campaign & long range fiduciary/partner; agree on endowment vehicles, policies and manager; and enlist Co-Chairs/delegate campaign leadership to a Campaign Cabinet. (Board, 2014)


4. Conduct a volunteer-driven campaign with Quiet Phase through December 2015 to: a) build philanthropic capacity and b) achieve 70%+ of the project funding before announcing public goal in winter 2015-2016.



5:45 PM


Following the presentation questions and comments from the assembled included but were not limited to:


<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>What is the ongoing expense of snowmaking, and the maintenance involved?

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Is the campaign going to defer any maintenance to the Ski patrol building?

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>We have to put terrain first.

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>How much has Sugarbush made or lost with their snowmaking system?

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>We need to carefully balance between snowmaking and facilities and think long term about climate change.

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>We need to protect the investment that we already have.

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Will we be using a fundraising consultant and how much does that cost?

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Should we have a development officer or annual giving program?

<![if !supportLists]>·         <![endif]>Will the Coop put in place planned giving programs for bequests and estate planning?


6:00 PM Management Report (Jamey)




We were able to open the mountain for Skiing on December 15th. A fun week with limited skiers. The next weekend it rained and we were forced to run just the Practice Slope Chair. There was a good vibe around the area even though we did not ski the main mountain.


65th Anniversary Gala is February 1.


Employee moral to date has been pretty good however we are headed into our 3rd week of limited operations and concerns are mounting. We did hold an employee appreciation party over the Holiday week and it was well received.


Operations are suspended midweek until we get enough snow to open the main mountain. Running just the Practice Slope on weekends at this point. Running with limited personnel and minimal spending at this point.


Share Sales:


We sold 5 shares against a budget of 4 for the month of December. 9 shares have been sold YTD




December was a very poor month financially. Cash is ok as of January 1. If we were to hit budget January through September 30 we would be ok for the year. This will be very hard to achieve as January is off to a very bad start.


6:05 PMSnow Making Summary (Jamey)


President Wimble is working on a snowmaking analysis that will explore possible sources of water, what could be spent on a hydrologist study and various options with regard to coverage areas.


There was considerable spirited talk about snowmaking culminating in one former board member striking (in jest) another former board member.


6:22 PMShareholder comments


There was one comment regarding the importance of the website being accurate on which weekends the facility is open.


6:24 PMPropose roles, mechanisms, and responsibilities for shareholder communication (Jamey)


President Wimble presented the board with an updated communication plan.


6:26 PMCommittee Reports


Finance Committee (Roy)


Treasurer Liu will provide an updated forecast for P & L and cash flow.


Board Development (Eric)


Trustee Palola reported one committed candidate and still seeking two more.


Election preparedness


There are no pending ballot questions but shareholder Putnam suggested a straw poll regarding

Snowmaking above 2300’.


6:35 PMAction Item Review (Jon)



Action Item

Responsible Party



Create timeline for FundCom and FacCom for a capital campaign and implications for facilities.

Trustees Stetson and Holtan


First draft 12/29


Ask Jeff? To review the snow making white paper


January 11, 2014


Create a campaign structure Sub-committee.






6:40 PM


The board adjourned to executive session to discuss a ROFR(right of first refusal) on a property transfer.


No action was taken.





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