Mid-January to Mid-February 2020
Business and Finances:
- In partnership with Friends Fiduciary, PYM has made a $1 million investment in the Impact Accelerator Bridge Loan Fund I, sponsored by the Reinvestment Fund. Friends previously briefed on this potential investment at Annual Sessions in July received the report warmly. This project required many hours of staff and finance committee support to bring to fruition, so we are happy to celebrate its launch.
- The audit was received (but has not yet been reviewed by the audit committee). Completing this year’s audit was an enormous project taking much time and requiring pages of accompanying documentation. Reporting standards have changed, and details needed to be delved into at a deeper level to ensure everything is properly represented. For example, the way in which a fund was cared for during the depression (yes, from nearly 100 years ago) affected the way details were represented today.
Program and Ministry:
- For the first time in recent history the agenda for business at Annual Sessions is complete! Setting the agenda in advance will enable us to publicize sessions earlier, with greater clarity of purpose, and in a way that generates enthusiasm, engagement, and attendance!
- We also have set Keynote speakers, the pre-Sessions retreat facilitator, the artist in residence and the week-long schedule for Annual Sessions!
- Plans for extensive publicity for Sessions are already underway!
- The ‘Threshing Session’ at Haddonfield Meeting on January 26 had over 90 people engaged in an interactive conversation, seeking and listening on the topic of membership in our community. This will be an ongoing discussion with more opportunities, including at sessions, to participate.
- PYM hosted a conference call on the Iran crisis on January 28. The call was facilitated by the General Secretary and presented information from Jim Fine of PYM’s Middle East Collaborative. Participation by people from across, and outside of, our yearly meeting was strong and one Friend called in from a meeting in Texas!
- We held two Thread Gatherings that had record levels of participation and energy:
- The Eco-Justice Thread Gathering at Germantown Meeting on January 18 had over 40 people.
- The Diversity and Equity in Our Meetings & the World Thread Gathering on February 1, at Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, had over 50 people.
- Staff supporting our Yearly Meeting Sessions planning work visited Westtown School to finalize spaces for Continuing Sessions.
- Program staff are working with PYM Collaboratives to support an “open house” showcasing what we do and inviting Friends into the work PYM Collaboratives engage in.
- PYM’s Youth Religious Life Coordinator consulted with Friends in local meetings about child safety policies, hiring First Day program staff, and curriculum resources.
- The General Secretary co-presented on a national video call sponsored by the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative on the topic of nurturing children in small meetings.
- Middle School Friends held their Winter Gathering at Lancaster Meeting from Jan. 21-Feb. 2. The gathering was attended by youth from seven meetings, and adult staff/Friendly Presences from three more, in addition to 4 Lancaster Monthly Meeting participants.
Inclusion and Anti-Racism:
- We began working together to uncover the office procedures that are “caught, not taught” so that they can be clarified, documented, collected in one place and made visible for all.
- We are laying the groundwork for the next round of taking the temperature of the current culture on staff. This will be used to develop a strategic plan and goals for our work in diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Several senior staff are continuing with individual coaching with Prototype Entities.
- Governance Leadership began working with the General Secretary to make a plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for Friends serving in PYM’s governance.
Communications and Technology:
- Distributed two Bridge Contact newsletters.
- Distributed the Collaborative housekeeping newsletter.
- Designed and Mailed out publicity postcards for three thread gatherings: Diversity, the Governance, and Pastoral Care.
- Issued end–of–year tax letters for monthly recurring donors and designed and mailed Valentine’s Day-themed cards to some of our donors.
- Wrote the first of two articles on Nozizwe Madlala-Routeledge a South African Quaker who is former Deputy Health and Deputy Defense Minister for South Africa.
- Came to agreement with Pew Charitable Trusts on a sharing of Pew survey data that will support monthly meetings in understanding social and religious trends in the US.
- Our website had 1000 more visits this January than January 2019.
Staff and Administration:
- We have started interviewing for the Middle School Friends Program Assistant position.
- Our Advancement and Communications Coordinator, Roma Narkhede, started at PYM this week. Welcome Roma!
- We started a new tradition! Staff brown bag office lunch – the 2nd Thursday of each month. We had a full conference room and so much fun!
- The Director of HR and Inclusion position was posted. We engaged Prototype Entities to manage the search process to ensure it a has broad reach and the process is inclusive.
- The Director of Arch Street Meeting House position was posted.
- All youth staff and many others participated in Red Cross first Aid and CPR training.
- A new parenting leave policy was completed and implemented which provides 60% of wages paid by PYM for 3 months. The previous policy was 100% covered by the employees’ earned time off. (just in time as we currently have a staff member out on parenting leave with her new baby!).
- Youth Religious Life Coordinator, Melinda Wenner Bradley, worshipped at Lancaster Meeting.
- The Associate Secretary for Advancement and Relations, Grace Cooke, visited Haverford Quarter.
- General Secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer, met by video call with the General Secretaries of New England, New York and Baltimore Yearly Meetings.
- Christie Duncan-Tessmer and Grace Cooke attended a lecture at Haverford College by Katharine Gerbner on Quakers and Slavery. Christie attended dinner with Katherine and Haverford faculty afterwards.