The mission of the Wonderwall is to support professional soccer, serve and build communities, and create a welcoming, inclusive culture around the sport in Minnesota.
The MN Wonderwall Board exists to carry out this mission statement. This is on what the state grades us on each year, through our B Impact Assessment score and annual report. This annual report is nearly completed, and will be published to the website once done. Much of the work of assembling that report has fallen on the Wonderwall Secretary with the rest of the board contributing and reviewing the content. The Wonderwall President adds a summary of where the organization will go in the coming year, and it is filed with the State of Minnesota once the board signs off on it. The newly elected board members, Shuo Wang, Eric Silva Brenneman, Jenn Uitto, and Jonathon Pavlica, will have their hand in crafting next year’s report.
The function of the Wonderwall Board is running the corporation, which is a General Benefit Corporation, also known as a B Corporation. This means the corporation exists as a for-profit institution that also has a mission to fulfill. We don’t necessarily make every decision worrying about our B Impact score, but we absolutely need to consider whether we feel a course of action adheres to our guiding principles.
Adding a new supporters group like Dark Glitterati, a group declaring women central to its existence in a sports environment that is heavily male-centric, builds upon our mission to create an inclusive culture. While we are still working on what it means to be a Wonderwall-affiliated supporters group, we know this; it means working with the other supporters groups to fulfill the mission the set out when this corporation was formed.
The Wonderwall Board will continue to do the behind-the-scenes work of tracking the priorities of various committees to provide the necessary funding for our work. We will continue to amplify the voices of our membership when concerns arise with the MNUFC front office. We will continue support community involvement efforts to show that we are more than people who watch soccer.
We are here because the Dark Clouds charted this path years ago by creating this corporation and welcoming people to the party. We will move forward only through the collective efforts of everyone, affiliated or otherwise, who make this soccer community a wonderful place.
The MN United FC off-season is slower than the rest of the year, but it is still quite busy for the Board and the many people who are key to our thriving supporter community. There are Keepers of the North and Silver Lining events, and monthly board meetings; there are meetings with the MNUFC front office about next season and the hard work of the financial planning that goes into funding tifo and other supporter efforts. One of those meetings happened on December 14th, with the primary focus on facilitating even better communication between the supporters and the front office. We also met to cover matchday items like where the capo stands will be in Allianz and how the matchday presentation people (the ones who do the hype videos) can best do what they need to while also limiting the impact on things we were already doing, like when not to play a song over the PA and let supporters/fans sing. It was a very positive conversation and it looks like match days in Allianz will truly be special events, that will likely even have some designated (trained and credentialed) supporters in charge of smoke.
Speaking of special events, the 2019 Supporters Summit is coming, and following that the 2019 Wonderwall Board of Directors election. We have yet to set a date, though we are targeting mid-to-late February, and there will be four Board of Director seats up for election. The current board members whose terms are expiring are Daniel Hills, Jim Oliver, Samantha Solberg, and Andy Wattenhofer. We are currently accepting nominations for those interested in running. You can nominate yourself by filling out this form.
We will provide a post explaining the needs of the organization well in advance of the election, along with the targeted dates for elections and the schedule of nominations ending. This explanatory post will be live prior to the end of the year. This will help inform both those voting, and those wishing to be voted in, know what the corporation sees as its priorities. These are the things which the elected Directors can help address. One of the most vital items to be addressed is further documentation of how various supporter functions operate so that we aren't constantly reinventing the wheel each time we try to do something to support the Loons.
Another work-in-progress is the budgetary process, which was started a few years back trying to stay on top of how to manage our resources as best as possible. This process would normally see each committee submit its first draft at the beginning of November, in order to allow all of November and December to make any necessary changes. That didn't happen this year, so our budget process has been pushed to likely being complete by the end of January. Regardless of this minor setback, we will ultimately put together a budget that allows for great tifo, supports volunteer efforts, and among other things, keeps an eye to the future.
It amazes me that Allianz Field opens so soon, after having seemed like a thing that would never happen. What great fun we will have.
We still haven't found the people responsible for throwing beers onto the pitch. It is my hope that if you are one of the two people who did it, you know it was an unacceptable thing to do. As a group, we hold ourselves to a standard of behavior above that which you displayed, and it is our sincere hope that it’s a thing that does not repeat.
On the issue of cultural norms, our volunteer organizations are doing fantastic work in our communities, both Keepers of the North (KOTN) and Dark Clouds Silver Lining (DCSL) are upholding our long-established tradition of making a difference in our surrounding communities. KOTN recently raised $411 for Special Olympics of Minnesota, and are currently raising funds for My Very Own Bed. DCSL did an event with Cookie Cart since my last update, which you can read about here, and I was honored to have been a part of that day because it was incredibly rewarding to be able to talk to such inspiring young people while they were learning valuable job skills that will help them in their professional lives. Finally, the Second Black & Blue Supporters social is happening on the 21st, with proceeds going to support The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and open to all (even Portland Timbers fans).
The next several months are going to be a very busy time for the board as we have several high priority projects to address. The move to Allianz Field comes with doing all we can to communicate the needs of our membership to the MNUFC front office. This is a wide-ranging effort encompassing everything from tifo and capo stands to concessions. We also need to prepare for the 2019 Wonderwall Board of Directors Election; it is our goal to have the candidates known much earlier this year in order for members have time to find out who they are and what they stand for. Also, it will give the Wonderwall Board more time to inform the candidates of the needs of our organization to better craft their campaign platforms and better serve our members. Finally, budgetary planning for next year starts in earnest in November and we need to gather some guidance to help them through our admittedly “work in progress” budget process.
As always, nothing happens in this section without the tireless work of the many volunteers who are literally the lifeblood of the supporter’s section and our organizations. Thank you for all that you do, and will do, as we’d be nowhere without you.
COME ON YOU LOONS!
Editor's Note: this post was originally published at Dark-Clouds.com.
Greetings fellow MNUFC Supporters,
It has been a busy few months since you last heard from me, the Loons managed to start hot only to cool off, induce some #PANIC before The Scientist arrived and the Loons staring XI has gotten younger. The board has also been busy, here’s what we’ve been up to:
Earlier this year we gathered a group of highly involved individuals for two strategic planning sessions to help chart out the next three to five years of the operation of the General Benefit Corporation (GBC). One thing that stood out from those sessions is that there is confusion over where the Dark Clouds Supporters Group (SG) and the GBC end so we are hard at work putting together a framework to preserve the identity of the individual SGs while also providing a structure under which they are clearly organized.
Another item of note from the strategic planning was creating a safe environment for people in the Supporters Section as no one wants to feel unsafe in a place that should feel like home. The outcome of our work is the new Supporters Code of Conduct, worked on by multiple SGs, and backed by MNUFC. You’ll see mention of the Supporters Conduct Review Board, and the quick summary is that it is an anonymous group of individuals called upon to determine the severity of the violation of the code of conduct should one arise, and pass along its judgement to MNUFC for enforcement. It is presided over by the VP of the GBC, and called as needed from a pool of supporters who have stepped up and said they can make a fair ruling on the conduct of their fellow supporters.
I am thrilled to see that the coordination of chants and songs is improving across the supporters groups. The energy level and sound produced have been a joy to be a part of, and that is the outcome of the All-SG matchday meetings and the work of the matchday leaders for each SG working on keeping channels of communication clear and active while they work to make MNUFC matchday the best it can be.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention all of the great work that the Keepers of the North (TNE) and Dark Clouds Silver Lining have been doing with the community around us, and I encourage you to reach out to either or both groups to be a part of some volunteer efforts. We are not who we are without the community around us and it falls to us to show MN how great that is. The annual report includes many interesting details around what we have done in the community, and I recommend you check it out. Part of it includes a B Impact score, that is a reflection, in part, of the amount of community service hours completed by the group, and I definitely want to see us surpass last year and someday soon exceed 10,000 total hours as a group, something that I know we can do.
As is always the case, we are interested in adding more people to the committees that make things happen around here, everyone you see now doing something was once someone wondering where they could possibly fit in. It may seem daunting at first, but it is absolutely worth it and your presence is what makes this community much more than just about soccer. Contact Dark Clouds or True North Elite today to get involved.
Editor's note: this post was originally published at Dark-Clouds.com, email addresses have been changed.
One of the GBC Board’s main goals this year is to improve communication with our members. Moving forward, you can expect quarterly messages from us that will provide a general summary of what is going on with the GBC and our community. If you have a specific question please do not hesitate to email me at email@example.com or the Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org
As you know, there was an election recently for new board members, and the result of that election was the reelection of John Louis and myself, Abraham Opoti (second term for both), along with James Norungolo joining the board for his first term. I would like to thank everyone that provided feedback about the election process; it means a lot to us that you took the time to share your thoughts. We have already begun refining the election process based on your input, and while we are still working on the finished product, we have changes to next year’s election ready to share, which will include:
We elected our officers for the current year at the first meeting of the GBC board immediately following the election.
The officers are of the GBC this year are as follows:
I consider us very lucky that we have convinced the wonderful and capable, Kate Thersleff, to continue to help us with the annual report and continue her general badassery at keeping us on track.
In February, the Board, Committee Leads, and members of Affiliate SGs will be taking part in two days of strategic planning. The sessions will focus on the GBC vision, strategic directions, and implementation. As we grow as a GBC it’s important that we have a strong foundation to support our mission to “support professional soccer, serve and build communities, and create a welcoming, inclusive culture around the sport in Minnesota.”
We are also lucky that Andy has not decided to run away from the giant mess of finance work we pile upon him so please be kind to both of them if you see them as they are vital parts of this organization and they make our lives immeasurably easier.
That is about all the rambling I have for now, thank you for your efforts, and patience. I hope to see you in the section soon and GO LOONS!!