January 24-26 Board Retreat & Fundraising Report

AERO Board Retreat Report

January 24, 2014 – January 26, 2014

As AERO enters its 40th year of linking people to sustainable agriculture and alternative energy solutions in Montana, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment. With an ongoing ED transition, the organization emerging from a difficult financial situation, and a deeply dedicated and engaged board, the organization is more ready than ever to harness its members’ expertise and creativity to formulate meaningful programs that will make a difference in the lives of Montanans and their communities.

To kick off this year, the board held its first board retreat of 2014 in Helena in late January. With involvement of staff and AERO members, it was an energetic, and exhilarating meeting full of passion for AERO and enthusiasm about its future!  We discussed AERO’s finances in great depth and developed a budget for 2014; we delved into the future of our Ag and Energy programs and created great plans for the upcoming year; and we celebrated AERO’s past work and our vision for the future.

Our vision for AERO is based on its long legacy of helping communities and individuals become agents for change through grassroots, member-driven initiatives that build knowledge and skills for resilient communities. We inspire forces for change by coordinating and linking successes among many groups, creating a forum for a more sustainable future. By bringing people together, AERO offers a vehicle for collective action and a sense of common purpose for citizens to shape a more sustainable future. This mission and these goals are needed in Montana now more than ever.

By the end of our board retreat, the Wild Center in Helena was truly Wild. The walls were covered with sheets of paper on which our ideas and brainstorms and decision-making processes were documented in brightly colored markers. We looked around with conviction that AERO’s future is a bright one. If you would like any additional information on our board retreat and/or what we’re working on, please don’t hesitate to reach out to staff or any of our board members!

In the coming months, there are several ways we’d like to invite you, the foundation of AERO, to help the organization reach its potential. We are still looking for a few additional board members to add to our roster, particularly focusing on people skilled in fundraising, financial management, and non-profit governance. For more information and to apply, CLICK HERE. If you want to get involved, but don’t have time to join our board, please consider volunteering with us!  We have a great many tasks, small and large, that we could use help with in this time of transition, from assisting with our membership and outreach to helping with events to supporting our programs.

Finally, we’ve launched a fundraising campaign to raise the money necessary to hire an Executive Director. Our goal is to raise $25,000 by March through member donations. We have already raised $15,000 from a few handfuls of dedicated folks!  If you can help us financially, now is a great time to do so. If you can help out by calling fellow members to ask them to give, that would be great as well. Please contact our board chair, Annie Heuscher, to get specifics on how to help with this: [email protected]

Thank you so much for being AERO members!  We so greatly appreciate the time, vision, and dollars you share with our organization. There is no AERO without AERO members!

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