ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
17th September 2014
Lyn Goldsworthy, acting as Chair, noted a quorum was present and welcomed everyone to the AGM.
Present: Stephen Boyden, Andrew Chalklen, Stephen Dovers, Lyn Goldsworthy, Walter Jehne, Julie Martinsen, Ian Morland, Jane Olsen, Shirley Pipitone, Gilles Rohan, Colin Samnundsett, Jenny Wanless, Virginia Young
Apologies: Colin Butler, Tony Capon, Jenny Goldie, Richard Green, Catherine Gross, Ian McComb, Tony McMichael, Brendan Mackey, Gerda Mark, Wendy Rainbird, Peter Tait, David Teather, Derek Wrigley
2: Ratification of the Minutes of the previous AGM
There were no amendments proposed to the Minutes of the previous AGM and Shirley Pipitone moved that they be ratified, Jenny Wanless seconded, and the motion passed by the meeting.
3: Chair’s Report
Virginia Young referenced the role of the Frank Fenner Foundation in filling a gap in dialogue on practical ways of shifting to a healthy and ecologically sustainable future for all life on Earth, noting that while we have a long way to go to fulfill our ambitions, we have been working simultaneously on many fronts to put the building blocks in place to enable us to deliver projects within our limited resources that simultaneously help build our resources.
Virginia reported on specific changes made since the transition from NSF to FFF, noting particularly the establishment and hard work of our Board Working Groups, Emeritus Professor Stephen Boyden’s agreement to be Patron, the strengthening of our relationship with ANU with the assistance of Professor Stephen Dovers, the recruitment of a part-time Executive Officer, progress on re-shaping our public face through a more interactive website and newly established Facebook page, the efforts to better engage our valued members, the continued support of long-term NSF volunteers and the involvement of several new volunteers, and our fundraising strategy.
She outlined various Projects initiated and in development, noting that Vice Chair Catherine Gross is leading work on a major book project on ‘Fairness and Biosensitivity’ with aims that include suggesting pathways to reorient and transform society so that it is informed by biounderstanding to achieve biosensitive societies and the vision of healthy people on a healthy planet. Virginia warmly thanked Catherine’s willingness to self-fund the initial stages of this project.
She acknowledged the work done by the Finance Committee to simplify financial management and put protocols in place, and thanked both the outgoing Treasurer, Ian Morland, for his hard work, and Treasurer-nominee Peter Tait for his willingness to take over this role.
Her full report is appended.
Stephen Boyden noted how encouraged he was at the activities being undertaken. And moved that the Report be accepted. Julie Martinsen seconded, and the report was accepted by show of hands.
4: Treasurer’s Report
Ian Morland presented his report and the financial statements, noting that the statements had not been audited as the organisation’s financial operations fell below the level where an official audit using a certified auditor was legally required. He reported that FFF was currently transitioning from hand-entered financial recording to a financial software package. He outlined the small loss made during the 2013-14 period, noting that this was primarily because of expenses associated with recruiting an executive officer and associated efforts to revamp or initiate various activities, while fundraising efforts have been slow to take off.
The Murrangarri and Frank Fenner Funds, held as separate funds by NSF until a decision could be made how to utilise them, have now been incorporated into Frank Fenner Foundation funds and are being allocated to projects currently in development.
The financial statements are appended.
Stephen Boyden asked for further information on why the books had not been audited as this had always been the custom of NSF. In addition to the point made above, it was noted that the previous auditor had retired and an alternative volunteer had not yet been identified. Virginia Young made the point that the new finance committee had implemented a much stricter level of financial oversight than previously applied. An audit will be conducted for 2014-15 year and may be undertaken when the financial software package is fully operational.
Stephen Dovers moved that the Treasurer’s report be accepted. Shirley Pipitone seconded, and the report was accepted by show of hands.
5: Public Officer’s Report
Shirley Pipitone reported that the Annual Return was submitted in time to the ACT Registrar-General and accepted.
With respect to changes to the Constitution, she noted that a general meeting of members held on 19 March 2014 approved amendments to the Constitution to change the name of the association from Nature and Society Forum to Frank Fenner Foundation, and that a further general meeting of members held on 16 July 2014 approved amendments to the Constitution to enable the Frank Fenner Foundation to be registered with the Australian Taxation Office as an Environmental Organisation for tax deductibility purposes.
Julie Martinsen asked if Frank Fenner Foundation currently had tax deductibility. Jane Olsen replied that the ORS had informed her that the tax deductibility status would transfer automatically from NSF to FFF and confirmation of that transfer was expected imminently.
Shirley Pipitone moved that her report be accepted. Gilles Rohan seconded, and the report was accepted by show of hands.
6: Election of Office Bearers and ordinary board members
The following nominations had been received for office bearer positions
Chair: Virginia Young
Vice-Chair: Catherine Gross
Secretary: Shirley Pipitone
Treasurer: Peter Tait
Under Article 14(3) of the Constitution all four of these nominees were declared elected.
The following nominations for ordinary board positions had been received
Tony Capon, Stephen Dovers, Gilles Rohan, Richard Green, Jane Olsen, Brendan Mackey, Tony McMichael and Colin Butler.
Virginia Young moved that five of these nominees be elected at the AGM and that the other three be co-opted by the Board. This was seconded by Andrew Chalklen and carried by a show of hands.
Tony Capon, Stephen Dovers, Gilles Rohan, Richard Green and Jane Olsen were declared elected.
7: Appointment of Auditor for 2014-15
There were no proposals for an auditor.
Lyn Goldsworthy moved that the Finance Committee of the Board be tasked with appointing an auditor. This was seconded by Stephen Boyden and passed by show of hands.
8: Other business.
Shirley Pipitone noted there was no guidance in the Constitution with respect to appointing a Public Officer. She declared her willingness to continue in this role.
Lyn Goldsworthy moved that Shirley Pipitone be re-appointed in role of Public Officer. This was seconded by Virginia Young and unanimously accepted.
As there was no other business, the 2014 AGM of Frank Fenner Foundation was declared closed at 8pm.
 An additional check made following the Meeting revealed that while an audit using a certified auditor was not required, ACT legislation requires an audit to be conducted by ‘any person who is not an officer of the association and has not prepared or helped to prepare the accounts’. Such an audit is currently being organised and a further short GM will be held to consider the audited accounts.
FFF AGM SEPTEMBER 2014
CHAIRS REPORT TO THE FRANK FENNER FOUNDATION
The past year has been a time of significant change aimed at establishing an effective organisation able to fulfil its vision and purpose.
The Frank Fenner Foundation is a unique institution that aims to promote understanding across the community and among decision-makers of the current threats to the living systems of our planet and related threats to human wellbeing. We aim to fill a gap in dialogue on practical ways of shifting to a healthy and ecologically sustainable future for all life on Earth.
We have great ambitions but a long way to go to fulfil them and we have been working simultaneously on many fronts to put the building blocks in place to enable us to deliver projects within our limited resources. Efforts that must simultaneously help build our resources.
To help attract seed funding to support FFF we have prepared a prospectus that includes the following short statement of our vision and purpose:
The Foundation's vision is for an ecologically sustainable and healthy society attuned to the natural processes on which all life depends – a society that protects the living systems of the natural environment and that satisfies the health needs of all sections of the human population – “Healthy People on a Healthy Planet”. We call this a ‘biosensitive society’.
Through the activities listed below, the Foundation seeks to catalyse far-reaching social and cultural change necessary to achieve this vision.
The Foundation has been established to:
- promote understanding across the community, and especially among those in positions of influence, of the human place in nature and of the full spectrum of ecological and related health issues that confront our society today.
- promote informed dialogue among influential thinkers and leaders about the social changes necessary to achieve biosensitivity.
- Facilitate or undertake inter-disciplinary research to improve understanding of the human situation in the biosphere and the threats to the natural life-supporting processes on which all life depends.
- establish collaborative partnerships with other research and educational institutions, government agencies, the business sector and community organisations in the context of human and ecological health
- participate in conferences, projects, conversations, networks, events and movements that help it to achieve its mission and purpose.
Members will be familiar with some of the changes since the last AGM aimed at putting in place the building blocks needed to increase our effectiveness and help achieve our purpose, the more obvious steps taken so far include:
- Changing our name to FFF;
- Appointing a very experienced and effective part time Executive Officer, Lyn Goldsworthy to work with our valued office manager Jane Olsen;
- Making significant progress on re-shaping our public face – the FFF website and launching a Facebook page. We now post regular commentaries on decisions being made around us that will affect our capacity to achieve a biosensitive society (many commentaries are written by members of the FFF Board); and
- Consulting our members to better understand their interests, wishes and capacity to help.
The decision to appoint a part time Executive Officer has enabled FFF to better integrate the excellent work of the ‘Biosensitive Futures Group’ into the overall work of FFF and to link this group of longstanding volunteers with a suite of new volunteers and the various Board working Groups that are helping us build an effective organisation.
Lyn has done an outstanding job of creating effective working groups and securing high quality volunteer support enabling good progress to be made on all fronts.
Some of the behind the scenes progress includes:
Ensuring that Emeritus Professor Stephen Boyden, who has done so much to champion the concept of a Biosensitive Future, has an ongoing and visionary role in our journey by becoming the founding Patron of FFF - you can find Stephen at any time on the Patron’s Corner which will go live on the website next week.
Clarifying and strengthening our relationship with ANU for which we are grateful for the support and encouragement of the Head of the Fenner School and FFF Board Member, Professor Steve Dovers;
Establishing a strong and effective Finance Committee that has simplified financial management and put sensible protocols and risk management strategies in place. We are grateful to both our current Treasurer Ian Moorland and to Board member, Peter Tait who has agreed to nominate as Treasurer of FFF at this AGM.
The Board also has a Membership Working Group with very strong participation from Board members including Shirley Pipitone, Jane Olsen and Giles Rohan. This group has been very active since its inception and I would like to thank the working group for its persistence with the membership survey and also thank those members (almost half) who responded to the survey. We will let you know the results once the group has finished analysing them.
We are greatly encouraged by the surge in membership support and hope to build our membership base and strengthen engagement with our members in the coming year.
We have also established a Communications Working Group and with the help of Lyn’s very able new volunteers are making progress in developing a communications strategy. Board member Richard Green and his wife Carol have contributed the new logo and design for the website and other FFF materials for which we are very grateful.
Our highly respected journal, so ably delivered by Jenny Wanless (with technical help from Keith Thomas) continues to provide members - and an increasingly broader audience - with stimulating articles and ideas.
We are strengthening fundraising capacity in FFF through training for our Board with expert support from Micah Demmet and have an evolving fundraising plan and targets that we aim to meet over the next 6-12 months.
Fundraising is a particular challenge when we are predominantly seeking additional seed funding to enable us to properly resource projects that in turn will build our credibility and ability to do more.
We have 5 excellent new volunteers working to support various aspects of our web development, communications and fundraising activities and I would like to officially thank Samara Constable, Kieran Smith, Julie Matenson, Jasmine Glover and Jill Taylor for donating so much of their time to help Lyn and FFF. Jill brings high level editing skills for which we are very grateful. And I’m looking forward to seeing the U-tube video that long-time volunteer Gerda Mark and Julie are working on: the Blog that is being put together by Samara and Keiren; and the online lecture series that Jasmine is helping with.
We have a number of projects at various stages of development:
Our Vice Chair Catherine Gross is leading work on a major book project on ‘Fairness and Biosensitivity’ with aims that include suggesting pathways to reorient and transform society so that it is informed by biounderstanding to achieve biosensitive societies and the vision of healthy people on a healthy planet.
Catherine is self funding the initial stages of this important and ground breaking project. THANK YOU CATHERINE
Stephen Boyden is revising many of the NSF pamphlets and is helping prepare lectures for an on-line course. This will be an invaluable way to capture Stephen’s knowledge expertise and vision.
Other Board members notably Tony McMichael, Tony Capon and Colin Butler are also making significant voluntary contribution, including through supplying FFF materials to the ‘Planetary Health Commission’.
Many other small projects are in the early stages of development and if any member is interested they can talk more to Lyn or other board members after the meeting.
I am very pleased by the level of engagement and effort by staff, the Board, members and volunteers and am looking forward to an exciting year ahead for FFF.