scenarios moving forward from The 2nd Minnesota River Congress
Scenario you are most in line with along with a second choice
and Group Responses Summary with Additional Comments and Analysis
Scenario #2 Number 1 Pick
Start from square one and
develop a multi inclusive representative based voting organization consisting
of representation from the 13 watersheds who would be appointed with
consultation and recommendation from SWCD’s, County Water Specialists, and
State Agency staffs closest to local issues.
Also in this scenario would be 6 representatives from agriculture, 6
from NGO’s, 4 from Cities, 4 from Businesses.
These representatives would report back to their networks on all
activities and with that feedback consider all proposed actions and policies.
Scenario # 1 Number 2 Pick
Utilize a willing existing
501 c 3 organization. Amend any needed
existing by-laws and craft any new by-laws which would provide for the
organization to have a clearly defined inclusive broad representation from all
appropriate communities of interest who share the same aspirations of an
improved, enhanced, protected and healthy Minnesota River Watershed with long
term sustainable natural and economic resources. Included in this is the charge of operating,
providing communications and facilitating the MRWA in the spirit and intent of
which it was created.
Scenario #4 Number 3 Pick
Turn the Minnesota River
Watershed Alliance into a two part tax exempt non-profit organization. Part one of the organization would include an
organizational representation component on all levels (all inclusive including
all government entities) for management and coordination. Part two would be to keep, enhance and
facilitate the MRWA and grow it to something much more participatory from
around the basin. The second part of the
organization would carry out the appropriate initiatives it would select
democratically among its participants.
Scenario #3 Number 4 Pick
After a review process by
the Congress, adapt an agreed upon collection of the recommendations from the
Minnesota River Board external review team for the creation of a new entity
structure or to incorporate into a willing existing one. The recommendations were carefully and
thoughtfully crafted over the course of a year and a half. (Very few
people/citizens heard or knew of this proposal for structure.) Those recommendations are available for
examination and review. This scenario
could be rolled into one of the other options as well.
Other scenarios were
offered as well.
Combine #2 and #3 Number 5 pick
No formal organization Number 6 pick
Find the problem first
received 1 vote
Just have an annual
meeting received 1 vote
Table/Group responses after lengthy discussion were as
Scenario 2 Number One Pick
Scenario 3 Number Two Pick
Scenario 4 Number Three Pick
Scenario 1 Number Four Pick
Scenario 5 Number 5 Pick
One table had consensus on creating a new organization
with 2 parts. One part would consist of
a basin-wide organization which would coordination, information, communication
capabilities and be run as a typical non-profit and the second part would
consist of lobbying, endorsing candidates, and be political in nature.
How could that many people
agree on one goal and get something done?
The idea of a two part
system is a good one, one hand in politics and one hand in communication and
Like the two part idea.
Scenario 2 is too many
It would be best to go
with scenario 2 and rely on lessons learned from scenario 1.
Combine 2 and 3.
How would you fund
Utilize info available in
Need paid staff.
Max 15 people in scenario
There is a reason the MRB
no longer exists, scenario 2 needs to be limited for people.
Funding sources? Citizens
All citizens can and
Any of these can work
under the right leadership, just do something.
Use scenario 4 as an
organization as a leader of leaders, a network of organizers.
There is a lack of
understanding of past actions with a lot of people here.
Need thinkers and doers.
Ecological integrity and
conservation is at the core of a resilient and sustainable economic and social
life basin-wide. The network of aquatic
resources forming the river is dependent upon land management decisions in the
entire Minnesota Basin.
Something like 4 enhanced
Is MRWA working well?
Organize a consortium
including all existing groups in the basin that are willing to
participate. Initial purpose would be to
facilitate communication and collaboration.
It could lead to a more formal structure such as scenario 4.
Need mission statement.
MRWA is not a 501 c 3 so
it can’t get grants/lobby.
I like the 2 part
organization, but how will they work and can they be combined?
Where is education?
After review and analysis
it is our opinion that a majority of people want to move forward in this
process and would prefer to build a new organization or use an existing one in
which case it would have to purify and clarify its decision making structure to
meet the wishes of the greater consensus coming out of this process.
Given the scenarios they
were presented with and judging from the responses we can boil this down into 2
using all 4 with the added comments etc. and then present it at the spring
congress to pick one final one to move forward with. It certainly can be tweaked and will evolve
as we go forward, so knowing that and conveying it clearly is critical to those
who won’t be 100% satisfied with the structure or path. This is where the 3 organizational teams of
approximately 6 each would come into play (based on the new team members). We would ask the 3 teams to come up with a
path and structure based on what our original team would put together for
choices created using the new feedback combined with the previous events. This would be based on the most recent input,
having included that, we will then charge them to further modify and clarify
and come to their own consensus on a structure.
We will then meet as a total organizational team to come to some point
of over all agreement on structure.
We will provide a first take
at 2 structures based on this most recent feedback as well as from previous
events and after targeted one on one consultation with key people; we should have
that done by December 20. We will then
contact the original team to meet face to face (probably in January) and after
you have had time to review and contemplate all of this. We will notify the new team members of this
process shortly and what they will be asked to participate in doing.
We also should consider
the new team members for organizational arms of the greater group and start to
think about various needed teams moving forward. That is getting ahead of ourselves a little
but we want to keep those who expressed a desire to be on the organizational
team moving forward, engaged at a higher level and that will require continuing
acknowledgement of their interest areas.
Structure Possibilities #1
Seek out an existing 501 c
3 NGO in good standing whose current board of directors would be open to the
process of potential modification of its mission, by laws, board makeup, and standing
committee makeup. This would also
include any existing membership requirements along with a potential name/brand
change. There are such organizations
which exist at the present time. This
should be done by building the optimum makeup and structure desired of the
organization first and then applying and incorporating it into the existing
organization. This would most likely be
the easiest and most effective way to create and capture in spirit and intent
of what is ultimately going to be crafted by the congress process. This can
then be applied using an existing organization as a vehicle for the continuation
of the greater Minnesota River movement on a broad scale.
Hybrid of Draft Structure Possibilities #1
Another potential path
similar to customizing an existing 501 c 3 organization is to have the new
structure described above be a program or initiative of an existing 501 c 3,
which could give it complete autonomy regarding actions and branding etc. if a
detailed resolution were to be approved by the existing Board of
Directors. Language could be created
which would give the initiative/program total freedom of actions along with a
separate system of accounting/set of books.
Funds secured for that initiative or program could easily be restricted
as well as all actions the initiative would undertake. This is borderline fiscal agent territory and
we would need a lawyer to carefully craft all the language needed.
Draft Structure Possibilities #2
Create a new 501 c 3
federal tax exempt organization. This
will first involve the application for articles of incorporation to the State
of Minnesota to become a Minnesota Non-Profit Corporation under state statute
317-A, file with the Secretary of State to be recognized as a valid Minnesota
Charity, the creation of organizational by-laws and file application to IRS for
federal tax exempt status and recognition.
This process can take up to 2 years to obtain all levels of
recognition. A lawyer will be needed to
communicate and articulate all of the structural aspects and nuances the Organizational
Team creates and develops for the various applications.
Draft Structure Possibilities #2
Create legal status for a
Political Action Committee (PAC) which would develop a legislative priorities
agenda and would work with either draft structure possibility #1 or #2 or
totally on its own. This entity would be
involved in full time direct lobbying and assisting candidates regarding
Minnesota River Basin items of all kinds and types.
Here are some potential components for structure makeup
to consider using. This path reflects
the majority of feedback from the 2 Congresses
and Regional Listening Sessions process to this point.
A standing “Organizing Team” or “Network
Team”: This team would be charged
with and accountable for developing detailed plans for solicitation to become a
contributing member of the new body or entity.
The “Network Team” would also be charged with doing on-going
solicitation themselves using applicable parts of the plan and those support materials
generated from the developed plans. All
facets of membership outreach would be covered by this team. Membership management and additional
membership outreach would be assisted by engaging all the membership using the
developed plans and by existing and any potential new staff.
A standing “Initiatives, Actions and
Projects Team”: This team would
be charged with prioritizing which, to what degree and how many of these should
be undertaken. Implementation would
involve staff and volunteers alike. Such
things as review and recommendations for actions within the completed
application to the Minnesota River Blueway Initiative could begin the process
and hit the ground running. This team would also most likely have a significant
number of sub-teams in an effort to keep the multitude of diverse interests
engaged and active. This would
involve such things as subsequent reporting back to the greater team on actions
undertaken as well as requests for assistance and input from the greater
A standing “Public Relations and Political
Involvement Team”: This team
would develop a protocol for making public statements on behalf of the
body. They would also be charged with
development of recommendations to be brought before the full membership on
various political situations which may arise.
This team would also assist the creation of public communications along
with existing and any potential new staff which are political in nature; this
would include such things as “sign on letters” and “letters of endorsement”. This team would also select an appropriate
spokesperson/s to represent the greater body/entity/organization.
A standing “Education and Outreach Team” : This team would be charged with selection,
distribution and delivery of information which would deemed to be critical to
the creation of understanding by the greater public with regards to the
natural, cultural and economic conditions and climates which exist in the
Minnesota River Basin. This information
would need to be formatted and delivered crossing all segments and ages of the
greater society in the basin.