December 2023 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes and Activity Reports

MORE – Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
December 11, 2023

 Virtually present at meeting

Ernie Rodriguez – President

Jali Fernando – Executive Secretary

David Beugelmans - Secretary

Tom Howe - VA Advocacy Director

Kathy Mihm – Ride Programs Director

Dave Magill - MD Advocacy Director

Rob Lowe – Membership Director

Nate Frey – Communications Director

Neil Blake – Treasurer



Not present

Clay Deming – Events Director



Casey Anderson

Eric Crawford


  • Executive Director Report (Jali)
    • Last month gave Jali work after MoCo Epic dust settled, could get a feel for the rest of the ED roll. Good to be more involved with grants and other projects. This has been positive.
    • Items working on include:
      • Assisting Dave and Rosaryville team for LBI grant application
      • Working on end of year giving campaign to send out on Wednesday. Won’t reinvent year from previous years.
        • Will give option to gift membership or donate in someone’s name and then wants to send something nice to recipient. Will be putting something together.
      • End of the week will be sending thank you gifts to major donors (water color map)
    • Does MORE have a list or calendar or grant cycles (i.e., this is what we go after, this is when they start putting out information, etc.)?
      • Response: No. Jali thinks this would be useful.
    • Getting idea with transition of presidents, need clear understanding of role of assistant ED.
  • Board Transition Retreat/Meeting (Ernie)
    • Ernie is volunteering to do this because will not be a board member.
    • If you want me to organize, I will do that, or Casey can do that.
    • In the past what we’ve done is have had a strategy session and/or transition session, and then combined them. It’s where we bring up most of the stuff in the communications plan.
    • This is usually in person and is longer than a normal board meeting.
    • Casey: It would be good if we all got together in person for a half day meeting. We could probably do it in Germantown.
    • Casey will get together with Ernie and will come up with an agenda and will come up with topics.
  • Assistant Executive Director (Kathy)
    • Jali: May need more support of president tasks
    • Kathy: This is something we thought we needed in the past to take on some of the duties Ernie has taken on voluntarily. Given the transition, it is a good time to seriously consider an assistant.
      • What tasks are needed, we need to figure that out, including from Jali and Ernie.
    • Casey: Think it’s important to have a flexible approach from some of the reasons Ernie has in mind, as well as some other ones. Think that Kathy is correct and there seems to be consensus that hiring somebody as an assistant would be a good idea. Some of this will depend on who is available and interested in the roles. Would be great to get the board to agree that this is something we are going to do, understanding this may look different based on how it comes out.
      • Suggests that Casey and Jali work on proposal and come back to the proposal.
    • Jali: What tasks or areas do you feel we need the most support for the ED?
    • Dave: We need to figure out what the budget is. Going forward, does not thing a full time position is appropriate for an assistant. Generally, don’t think it’s a full time job. Think there is a real job there, but as someone looking at finances, cannot spend as much as on ED. Can spend maybe 50%.
    • Eric: It sounds like you are looking for contractual position. With respect to interns, if you go that route you are going to spend lots of time in knowledge transfer rather than productivity.
    • General agreement to form committee and report back to board at transition meeting.
      • Jali indicated a May 1 start date would be the latest. Dave M suggests that Committee should report ideas at January transition meeting, so we can develop a decision by the end of January, which gives us three months to recruit and find right person.
      • Dave M: We should come up with a number that we put in this year’s budget.
        • Propose that we add $45k to budget for assistant position.
        • Neil: Go with that number and we can always adjust if needed at a later time.
        • Motion to add $45k to next year’s budget to add an assistant to ED position.
          • Neil: seconded motion.
          • Motion passed unanimously.
        • Communications Director Vacancy (Kathy)
          • There are a few items the communications director we should consider implementing for 2024. One is the quarterly or semi-annual newsletter. Kathy is willing to do that.
          • Dave B: Other issue is annual report, which I can do.
          • Casey: Focusing on marketing, we have some room for improvement on focus in terms of marketing the organization. Don’t object to a newsletter. Is it just an update to members on what we’ve been up to. What’s the target audience and what it’s trying to do?
        • 2024 Budget (Neil)
          • The BoD engaged in a general discussion and review of the draft 2024 budget.
          • Board discussed how to the funds from IMBA Dig In grant should be included in budget. Jali indicated she will come up with categories for funds by Wednesday of this week, to be voted on at a later time.
          • Board discussed potentially increases in insurance costs. Neil changed to $6500.
          • The Board discussed reducing Spring Fling budget to zero, as requested by Clay.
            • Ernie: Would vote against this and keep money in the budget to try to incent committee to try to do event.
            • Tom: Thinks $2k would be sufficient and will try to get the committee to do something.
          • Dave: Next steps should be Neil circulating the budget and requesting approval or comments by email.
            • Neil: Will wait for Jali’s update on Wednesday and do that.
          • Dave: Made motion to transfer $15,750 from the MORE General Fund to the West MoCo Restricted fund, representing 50% of the net profits from 2023 MoCO Epic.
            • Ernie: Second
            • Passed unanimously.
          • Financial Updates (Neil)
            • $39.4k Net increase in general
              • $148.1k revenues, net of transfer to West Moco trails for $15,750
              • $68.4k Memberships
              • $31.5k MoCo Epic, net of expenses
              • $40.9k Other general
              • $7.3k Other
            • $108.6k expenses
              • $30.5k staff costs ($30k are allocated to MoCo Epic above, which is why this is lower than expected)
              • $19.7k tools ($9k of this was for donated items)
              • $11.7k member events (summer party, winter party, etc.)
              • $6.7k website and IT costs
              • $6.4k prizes and swag (mainly the sock order)
              • $6.0k insurance
              • $5.9k marketing
              • $21.7k other (all under $5k each)
            • -121.4k net decrease in restricted
              • Made up of various projects with most activity on Rivers Edge, Wakefield, West MoCo, Patuxent, and James Long
            • James Long Negative Balance (Neil)
              • We have carried a negative balance, and we are coming up on year end. Our accountants won’t allow us to carry a negative balance.
              • We can cover it, which wouldn’t be ideal. Or we can fundraise.
              • Tom: two ideas: asking trails committee to transfer funds and/or ask them to fundraise.
              • Dave and Eric: Agree this makes sense.
              • Tom: We went negative here because we had approved work and at the last second, the county asked for additional work, and we green lit it. We approved it and they didn’t fundraise enough for it.
              • Dave M: Need to figure out which fund or funds to use to cover deficit.
              • Neil: Wants to bring trails committee up to speed.
            • Membership Update (Rob)
              • YTD VS 2022 – 2023 YTD = $87,007 vs 2022 (YTD) = $92,601 = (NEG) $5,594 YTD
              • All Members (New, Current) – 1978 = (1964+14) vs 2065 (Sept) vs 1955 (Oct)
              • Lapsed/Expired – 193 = Nov 2023 and Oct 2023
              • November 2023, we surpassed last year’s numbers and 2021’s making it the best November since 2020. We even recovered a moderate amount of October and a few Septembers lapsed memberships.  Our join numbers went up but not back to previous levels, with 14.  But still better than the same period last year. 
              • Eric: Two questions
                • Regarding the end of year dip, is there a way to have a person buy another person a membership?
                  • Rob: No, this is not possible right now.
                • FPVSP is exploring a membership format for 2024. This should not scare MORE. Hopefully we can do a joint membership drive. More on that in the future.
              • Trails
                • Virginia (Tom)
                  • One highlight is they are building trail at Andy Geist state park after many years, near Front Royal
                  • Down in Prince William County, flagging more trail at James Long Park.
                  • Fountainhead had a workday that went well.
                • Maryland (Dave)
                  • City of Mt. Airy hired Greenstone and is paying them to build trails at Windy Ridge. These will be bike optimized flow trails. Even the liaison didn’t realize this was happening.
                    • Have one more piece of plan for $20k that can have bike optimized trails. Hope to bring proposal to trails committee.
                  • Ernie: The Frederick Permanent Pump track got the grant and took advantage of giving Tuesday. Dan Green is doing all the work and received $150k RTP grant. Agreed to in principle to be their backer. Working on match. Because it is paved pump track, they are going to need raise cash.
                  • Working on 5 LBI bond grant applications. This is going to heat up for next couple of months.
                • Events (Clay)
                  • 2023 Awards (Clay)
                  • Winter Membership Meeting (Clay)
                  • Summer Festival (Clay)
                • Communications (Nate)
                  • Got some work done on the one pager. Still need to swap out the photos but the stats are updated to reflect what’s in the annual report.
                • Ride Program Report (Kathy)
                • Executive Session (CONFIDENTIAL)




Activity Reports

  • President – Ernest (Ernie) Rodriguez
  • Update Donorperfect database with current membership records
  • Send "Thank you" emails and swag to donors and major donors
  • Work with Kathy, Dave and Tom on uploading Volunteer hours and activities
  • Participation on Fairfax County's Dredging Alternatives Task Force for Lake Accotink - recommending dredging a smaller lake
  • Help lead/sweep Wakefield rides
  • Assist Jali, Jason Miller and Martin Fernandez with Board of Director elections
  • Input into 2024 MORE budget
  • Host Golden Volunteer training sessions


  • Jali Fernando – Executive Director
  • Closed out MoCo Epic account with Neil
  • Submitted a Dig In grant for Patapsco adaptive trails
  • Assisted with submission of Patapsco Valley Heritage Mini Grant
  • Contacted Maryland District 23 legislators regarding Legislative Bond Initiative to fund Rosaryville trails
  • Preparing for meeting with MD Delegate Adrian Boafo
  • Communications around MORE BoD elections, set up online voting
  • Giving Tuesday - communications, encouraged trail liaisons to share campaign resources
  • Preparing end-of-year giving campaign
  • Volunteer series preparations
  • Regular weekly newsletter and social media posts


  • Secretary – David Beugelmans
    • Coordinated board meeting and finalized minutes
    • Attend Anne Arundel County Crownsville Memorial Park Recreation and Trails Committee meetings and site visit
    • LBI application for Waterworks flow trail


  • MD Advocacy Director – Dave Magill
  • Grants, grants grants
    • Working on 5 MD LBI grant applications
    • Rosaryville – Jali has set up meetings/calls with two delegates, park and liaisons ready to add an adaptive section to Rosey if we can get the grant, will revise the budget to $140k ish
    • Waterworks – I sent project description to three legislators.  Dave B is not allowed to communicate with legislators on behalf of MORE unless he registers as a lobbyist (due to other lobbying he is already doing) so I will handle these communications and Dave wil handle the rest
    • Patuxent – existing LBI grant – still no response from DNR on the access agreement, which is the critical path to actually getting the money
    • Patuxent – next LBI grant – sent project description to Craig Zuckers office, no response so far
    • Bridge over Seneca Bluffs – working on backup if this does not get funded.  Met with Cheryl Ladota of SHA at the site about a design phase RTP grant, and got advice on how to proceed, we will hire an engineering firm to develop a written cost estimate for a feasibility study
  • Other grants – working with Hashawha to submit for an American Trails maintenance grant of up to $10k
  • Patuxent parking lot – its finished, SHA has given the green light and we are have paid the contractor, will send in reimbursement invoice before xmas
  • Rivers Edge – received $20k reimbursement from SHA, working on the remaining $20k




  • VA Advocacy Director – Tom Howe
    • Lead sweep Wakefield Rides


  • Membership Director – Rob Lowe
    • Membership Processing and Reminders November 2023


  • Ride Program Director – Kathy Mihm
  • MORE Elections Discussions
  • New ride leader recruitment and discussions
  • Map for Patuxent Trails next phase
  • Misc ride setup, emails, etc.
  • Work on 2023 ride leader data compilations
  • Telephone call on Adaptive Cycling options for MORE
  • MuddyTrail sign campaign


  • Communications Director – Nate Frey
    • [*]


  • Treasurer – Neil Blake
  • $39.4k Net increase in general
    • $148.1k revenues, net of transfer to West Moco trails for $15,750
    • $68.4k Memberships
    • $31.5k MoCo Epic, net of expenses
    • $40.9k Other general
    • $7.3k Other
  • $108.6k expenses
    • $30.5k staff costs ($30k are allocated to MoCo Epic above, which is why this is lower than expected)
    • $19.7k tools ($9k of this was for donated items)
    • $11.7k member events (summer party, winter party, etc.)
    • $6.7k website and IT costs
    • $6.4k prizes and swag (mainly the sock order)
    • $6.0k insurance
    • $5.9k marketing
    • $21.7k other (all under $5k each)
  • -121.4k net decrease in restricted
    • Made up of various projects with most activity on Rivers Edge, Wakefield, West MoCo, Patuxent, and James Long


  • Activities Director – Clay Deming
    • [*]


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