Find Out What ALL the Co-op Committees Are Up To!

Each month, our 10 standing and ad hoc committees and working groups submit to our Board of Directors a short report of what they've been working, things they've accomplished and challenges they've encountered over the month. In our continuing effort to give the Co-op's member-owners (and anyone interested in becoming a member-owner) access to as much information as possible about what's happening "behind the scenes" we are sharing these reports with you. Below you'll find reports submitted to the board and shared in print with the members who attended the Fall General Membership Meeting on October 17. If you have any questions about anything you see here or would like to be part of one of these committees (and take that first step toward running for the board this spring!) please email general@southphillyfoodcoop.org.

Business Outreach (Dana Mitchell)

Business Outreach has been working with Marketing and Communications to distribute posters for our autumn membership push.  BO has hung 10 posters in 6 Shop South Philly businesses, and plans to distribute the rest by 10/20/13.  BO has reached out to Calm Yoga and Reiki to see if they would like to reinstate their Shop South Philly discount at their new location.  BO will be focusing on distributing posters for the membership push along with reaching out to potential Shop South Philly partners.

Grants (Maria Sourbeer)

The co-op was recently awarded two new grants!  The Philadelphia Activities Fund, PAF, awarded us $1500 towards education at our events and programs. This is a $500 increase from last year. We were also awarded $10,000 from the Food Co-op Initiative Seed Grant. They received a record high of 38 applications and we were one of 10 co-ops awarded funding for consulting, technical assistance and on-site training. 

NationBuilder buildout (Melanie Myers)

We successfully migrated the South Philly food Co-op website to NationBuilder this month. We are currently tweaking some of our processes, and working out some kinks, but otherwise the site looks great! We have Veracity on retainer for the rest of October.

Leadership (Aubrey Jones)

The Leadership Committee is working on developing more comprehensive recruitment and succession planning for future. The committee is beginning to identify potential board candidates for the upcoming Spring 2014 Board Election. 

Marketing and Communication (Carolyn Huckabay and Jen Herczeg)

The Committee began planning for a campaign to highlight the Shop South Philly member benefit and the businesses participating in that effort. This could be a major feature of a fall effort to recruit new members or simply a way to give back to many of the businesses that are supporting the Co-op by participating in this program. As part of the effort the Committee has established an Instagram account (@SouthPhillyFoodCoop) which will be used to encourage members and followers to take pictures enjoying SSP benefits at business and marking them with the hashtag #shopsouthphilly. The Committee also discussed using the second half of the Grid Magazine contribution of a $500 ad credit in the December issue with the option of pushing the SSP campaign with it. This marketing campaign is expected to kick off in earnest toward the end of October/beginning of November. Finally, the Committee continued to engage in event promotion for the Fall General Membership meeting, Soup Swap III: The Thickening, and the Madam Fromage cheese pairing event.

Membership (Cassie Plummer)

The Membership Committee has been supporting the transition of contact and membership data into our new contact relationship management system (CRM) NationBuilder. We have also been working on collecting outstanding equity owed from those member-owners on payment plans. A system and training documentation is in place to track new members and added equity in NationBuilder and the system is up-to-date with current member data, regarding member contact info and equity payment. Recruitment data, member share beneficiary, and householding connections still need to be reviewed and confirmed for accuracy in NB. The committee plans to do a final check of all Nationbuilder data compared to the SPFC record for accuracy.

The committee is maintaining the SPFC Records document in parallel until we are confident in the accuracy of NB data and tracking process.

The committee successful used NB to check people in at the General Membership Meeting and look up equity owed, avoiding multiple print outs of member list and on-the fly updates of contact data and householding.


The committee is working on developing a system for assigning and tracking member on boarding calls as well as looking at how to use the system to best record volunteer hours. Because the system tracks Facebook and Twitter interactions, the committee looking into a method for rewarding volunteer credit for social media interactions.

Lastly, the committee is starting to plan how to best use NB to help convert not-yet members to and help existing members reach out to their friends and neighbors.

Operations Committee (Alison Fritz)

John Raezer has been working on the financial model with new insight from the market study.  At the last meeting the group discussed the outcome of the market study and design feasibility work as well as the most recent meeting with TRF and the potential implications on our membership benchmarks and timeline.  The group discussed the potential need to add “prepared food” to our business plan and design needs based on conversations with other Co-ops. 

Anna K. and Mary Beth offered to split the duties of the committee chair while Alison takes some time off to adjust to parenthood.

Programs and Events   (Leigh Goldenberg)

The Programs and Events committee would like to thank all of the attendees, volunteers, and sponsors of the 3rd Annual Garden Tour held September 7.  170 people visited 16 gardens on the tour. Along with our 26 business sponsors, we raised $9,605 for the Co-op, which nearly doubled the goal set forth in the budget. We signed on 8 new member households that day!

This fall, the committee is hosting the following events:

Soup Swap III: The Thickening - Thursday, October 24. FREE to attend!
Cheese tasting with Madame Fromage - Sunday, November 3. $30-$45.
Visit our website and Facebook page for details and registration on these events and what else we'll plan throughout the winter! 

Real Estate (submitted by Angel  D’Ippolito)

The Real Estate Committee (“REC”) has been working diligently in efforts to locate and secure a location for the Co-op.  REC members continue to use their community and industry resources to add to the pipeline of potential sites.  REC members previously canvassed the South Philly target areas to identify potential available sites that might suit the physical needs identified in the REC site evaluation checklist.  A list of potential sites was compiled and then culled.  REC members have been making phone calls to the owners/agents of the potential sites to determine viability.  Reports from those calls will be address at the October 23rd meeting of REC.

In connection with the grant received by the Co-op from the Community Design Collaborative (CDC), a subcommittee of members of the Co-op Board, operations committee, and REC have been working with UCI architects (“UCI”) on developing a full architectural program to assist the Co-op in evaluating its physical and spacial needs for a store.  UCI has performed preliminary test fit analyses of the market study locations to allow the subcommittee to scrutinize the functionality of the program.  The subcommittee members are scheduled to meet again with UCI on October 18th to review changes to the program implemented after discussions from the last meeting of the subcommittee.  The subcommittee will offer any last set of comments to the program at the October 17th meeting. 

Speakers Bureau (Katy Travaline)

The Speakers Bureau has presented at a running total of 7 events in 2013 and has been helping to coordinate speakers for Co-op House Parties and other events, which are not included in this total. 

Goals for FY14: The Speakers Bureau aims to schedule at least one speaking event a month. To reach this goal, a Speakers Bureau Fall Challenge has been presented to the Bureau. So far, one speaking engagement is scheduled for October 2013.

We are actively seeking more speaking opportunities and more speakers. All suggestions and volunteers are welcome. Are you involved with or do you know of a group that would like us to come to its next meeting and speak about the Co-op? Please let Katy Travaline know: ktravaline@gmail.com

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