2024 Annual Member Meeting

Please find below information supporting the agenda of the 2024 annual member meeting  Bellingham City Clubon May 24.

Draft Minutes, 2023 Annual Member Meeting

Call to Order: Maureen McCarthy called the meeting to order at 12pm on behalf of President Forrest Longman.

Determination of Quorum:  According to Bellingham City Club bylaws, a quorum of 10% of active members is required. At the time the meeting notice was distributed there were 324 active members.  By a show of hands, at least 33 members were present, establishing a quorum.

Approval of the Minutes:  The Minutes of the June 22, 2022, annual meeting were approved.

Board Elections:  The following people were re-elected to the Board of Directors:

First term:      Jane Bright, Junga Cha, Natalie Knops, Allison Roberts

Second term:  Nina Nancarrow, Candice Wilson

Third term:      Jim Britain, Gayle Helgoe

Meeting Adjourned:  The meeting was adjourned, and the regular program commenced.

President’s Report 2024

Our May 2024 meeting marks a full year of in-person meetings post-pandemic. The board has worked hard to make this new iteration of City Club the same vibrant contribution to our community that it has long been. This transition has included a fair share of challenges, some of which we continue to navigate, but we anticipate continued improvement in the delivery of the programming and lunch experience that define City Club.

Through the past year we have been able to maintain stable finances despite a changing and more expensive environment. Over the coming year, the board will continue to find ways to balance resources with expenses.

The thing that makes City Club work is the people who come to the programs and the volunteers who put them on. We thank all of our nearly 377 members, our volunteers, our sponsors, and our board members for their contributions.

I’d also like to thank our outgoing board members for their six years of service: Tanya Baumgart, Ray Dellecker, Maureen McCarthy (a past president), and Kay Sardo. Their contributions have been immense, and they will be missed.

Annual Financial Report

Submitted by Treasurer Zachary Nordwell

2023 2022 2021
Cash and Savings $39,128.15 $41,039.56  $36,716.24
Income: Dues and Sponsors $31,230.35 $11,084.04  $7,590.62
Expenses $33,141.76 $6,760.72  $15,752.97
Net Revenue over Expenses* ($1,911.41) $4,323.32  ($8,162.35)

*Parentheses means expenses were more than revenue. 

Note from the Treasurer:

We returned to in-person meetings in May 2023. Expenses and income both increased in 2023 compared to the prior two years because during 2021 and 2022 meetings were all held via Zoom. The past year of in-person meetings has been a work in progress as we figured out the logistics and finances of our new reality: our venue, our caterer, and the production of our meetings. Adjustments we’ve made over the past year include the following:

  • The cost for lunches increased reflecting the realities of inflation, labor, and catering costs.
  • We increased membership dues in June 2023 to better cover costs post-COVID.
  • We added a “program only” option to allow people to attend and contribute towards the venue cost but without a meal.
  • Towards the end of 2023, we started to fine tune logistics and the non-food costs of our meetings (venue, videography, speaker travel/honoraria). These costs were supported by the annual membership dues of our members, as is our ideal model.
  • With a new caterer and price point starting with our March 2024 meeting, the food costs became fully covered by lunch ticket revenues.

As a result, the financial position of the club remains strong. This will allow us to pursue guests that require a speaker honorarium or travel costs from out of town if the opportunity arises.

Board of Directors Candidate Biographies

First Term

Mary Anderson: Mary is the Senior Transit Planner at the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA). In her role at WTA, she has worked on numerous projects including writing the WTA Sustainability Plan, managing the Lynden Hop pilot project, and coordinating the May Bike Parade and the December Lighted Bike Parade.

Mary has a Master of Sustainable Transportation degree from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Western Washington University. Mary and her husband moved to Bellingham for college in 2001 and like many people, fell in love with the town and didn’t want to leave. Mary enjoys reading and talking about books, riding bikes, and spending time with her family. After months of crushing defeat, Mary finally beat her 5th grade son at Pokémon and has now set her sights on winning a chess game against him.

Jill Bernstein: Jill moved to Whatcom County from Illinois in 1981.  A graduate of Loyola University school of law,  she began my legal career with legal services but spent most of my professional life working as a criminal defense lawyer.  For almost 30 years she represented individuals charged with crimes,  half of that time as a public defender and the rest in private practice.  She had the privilege of serving on the board and later as the President of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

She has been active with the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County and have served in many roles including President of the Board of directors.   However, the role that she most enjoyed was helping to organize informational programs for League members and the community.  In 2020 she helped to organize a year-long series of programs and activities celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the League and 100 years of women’s right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Since retirement, she has continued to work on issues related to justice including serving as the President of the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force and hosting a variety of radio shows on local stations that focused on topics of law, justice, and politics. She briefly served as the Interim Director for LAW Advocates.  Recently,  she served on the Board of Directors for the Salish Current as she believes that fact-based news and information is our best tool to strengthen democracy and foster a sense of community. Jill thinks one of her defining characteristics is curiosity which drives almost everything that she does….including a love of travel, reading and conversation.

Jennifer Dowd: Jennifer is currently the Executive Director and Head of School for Explorations Academy. For the last 20 years, she has been an international educational specialist who manages change in complex systems. She approaches the school ecosystem recognizing that it is intertwined with the health of the larger community, the planet, and each individual.

She previously worked for the largest national and statewide conservation education, advocacy, and stewardship organizations designing, implementing, and evaluating programs for whole school systems that educate for sustainability. In her free time she builds tiny homes, propagates plants, and makes bamboo flutes. She is a living experimenter who creates spaces for community gatherings, performs avant-garde flute concerts and dotes on her teenage son. She chooses to educate for sustainability because it creates favorable conditions for the healthy growth and development of learners of all ages and supports our collective ability to live well within the laws and limits of nature.

Sam Humphreys: Sam Humphreys has lived in Bellingham since his family moved here in 1999 when he was three years old. He feels fortunate to have attended the Bellingham Public Schools, where he had opportunities to learn hands-on about the various animals, plants, and other organisms that inhabit the PNW with us. Sam’s love for living things led him to pursue sustainability studies at Simon Fraser University. In 2018 he graduated with a degree in Sustainable Business and certificate in Sustainable Community Development, and he promptly moved back home to Bellingham.

Since his return, he has become increasingly interested and invested in this bioregion and the various communities that it supports. As one can expect from a childhood Bellinghamster, he loves to ride all over town on two wheels, explore our local trails on foot, learn more about the ins-and-outs of our local natural and human systems, and to interact with all the folks who add flavor to our town. He has a deep and growing connection to this bioregion and is keen to put his “youthful” energy to good use by facilitating its continued success and sustainable growth.

Professionally speaking, Sam currently serves as business manager and sustainability consultant at Peak Sustainability Group. He has over four years of business development, relationship building, and account management experience in professional services and business-to-business sales. He is a capable generalist whose years of experience working on small, dynamic teams has given him excellent communication and teamwork skills and has given him a love of learning from others. Sam supports Peak with internal business systems management as well as consulting on multiple client projects. He is passionate about finding solutions to climate challenges and improving human wellbeing, whether it is through innovative technologies, novel thinking, or reintroducing traditional practices into the modern day.

Third Term

Forrest Longman has lived in Bellingham for nearly 20 years and has worked for the City of Bellingham as the Budget and Finance Officer since 2017. He is an alumnus of Western Washington University and earned a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington after several years running his own yacht maintenance business. Forrest lives in Happy Valley with his wife, Sarah and two sons, Henry and Alden. Before small children commandeered all his free time, he helped create the Bellingham Bay Community Boating Center and Millworks Cohousing. For fun, Forrest enjoys playing with his boys, riding bicycles and sailing in the San Juans.  Forrest joined the Board of Directors in 2019.

Zach Nordwell came to Bellingham from the Olympic Peninsula in 2001 to attend Western Washington University. In 2006, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and began working as a tax accountant at a Bellingham firm. Zach spent 14 years between two local public accounting firms before starting his own firm, Kulshan CPAs, in 2020. Zach works with local businesses and individuals in Bellingham and the surrounding areas. Zach and his wife Sonja Nordwell live in Ferndale and have three and five year old boys named Griffey and Kulshan. They keep mom and dad very busy between school, swim lessons, and other recreational activities, but whenever he finds free time, Zach enjoys following the Seattle Mariners, watching movies, hiking, and is a craft beer enthusiast.  Zach joined the Board of Directors in 2019.