March Update on CDC

Minutes: Board of Directors Meeting
Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC)
Mainstreet Community Center, March 22, 2014, 10 a.m. -11:00 a.m.
Attendees: Jan Costello, Calvin E. Sims, Sr., Nadine Rivers-Johnson, Joyce Russell, Phyllis Frierson
Absent: Char Taylor
1. Welcome. We shared pumpkin bread that came from the bounty of a plant growing wild in a Hidden Hills neighbor’s yard. Jan noted that the pumpkin seed travelled here from Tennessee. It brought joy to the neighbors and, many months later, enriched our meeting. The metaphor may be too simplistic, but it is encouraging to think how small things can lead to great outcomes. We cannot know the future, but we can predict that positive action now will incline us towards positive results.
We congratulated Nadine on organizing the successful meeting with law enforcement and county representatives on March 18. More than 100 people from nearby neighborhoods attended it.

2. Finance
Checking account status. We now have a checking account! We are banking at Georgia United Federal Credit Union. We have basic savings and checking accounts. The great news is that there is only a one-time fee of $5. As long as we have fewer than 50 transactions per month, our account is free!
Phyllis provided the Treasurer’s Report. We have $98.22. The report is available at

Accountant status. After tax season, the Board will meet with Jerome Chavis, a partner and CPA at NTRC and a resident of Mainstreet. He volunteered to work pro bono, set up our accounting structure, and provide tax advice. Nadine will work on setting up a meeting for late April.

Budget. Joyce agreed to set up a proposed budget so that we would have it ready for the accountant to review. She will research the annual fees associated with the corporate license. The Board is sending her expense items, such as the $550 for insurance.

Dues. The Board voted unanimously to set a modest level of dues in order to have membership in the Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation. Our bylaws stipulate that membership last a calendar year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). Since we are just getting started, the inaugural membership will last through Dec. 31, 2015 (pending Board approval).
We have two membership classes, each with the following dues:
Residential Members (individuals who reside in or adjacent to the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay zone) will pay $20 per membership year.
Business Members (members with a business in or affected by the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay zone) will pay $75 per membership year.

3. Marketing
Newsletter Seed Money Grant Request. Nadine put together a comprehensive grant request for newsletter seed funds. The money would cover printing costs for the first year (four issues). The request has been sent to the DeKalb Economic Development department and to Commissioners Sharon Barnes-Sutton and Stan Watson. Nadine and other GHHCDC members have discussed the request in person with various parties. We await a decision.
Here is an excerpt from the request:
1. The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation, Inc. (GHHCDC) was established in 2013 with a goal of developing the Greater Hidden Hills area.
2. The GHHCDC operates as a not-for-profit business, and it is our desire to seek seed money for a quarterly newsletter to further support this marketing effort.
3. The purpose of the proposed newsletter will be consistent with an objective of informing and engaging marketing in the area and forming partnerships between businesses, schools, and the community-at-large.
4. The proposed publication will serve as the marketing and advertising medium for commercial tiers in the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District and 19 neighborhoods located in the GHHCDC. Community news is also a vital part of the publication.
5. Currently, there are more than 200 businesses in the area, and this newsletter is a great opportunity to foster commercial growth with a successful, locally specific publication.

Newsletter Update. Calvin said the graphic artist is willing to make changes to the Memo of Understanding he submitted. In particular, he does plan to give us the digital file of the newsletter as well as send the file to the printer. His freelance work with individual businesses will be entirely up to him. The Board is free to recommend his work as well as the work of other graphic artists. The Board voted unanimously to give the graphic artist credit in all issues and to give the artist a business card-sized ad in the first issue. Calvin will send the Board a revised Memo for our approval. Calvin will also create an advertising rate sheet, a Memo of Understanding for the freelance advertising sales people, and a Memo of Understanding for the contributing writers.
The Board will vote on the proposed Memos via email. Once the design artist’s Memo of Understanding is approved, we will vote to ask him for the prototype.
Calvin will solicit articles for the prototype. Jan will create the interior masthead with the newsletter name, the corporation, address, policies, and so forth. She will write an introductory column and a sidebar on what the GHHCDC is.
Nadine will research ways to create “aliases” on Gmail so that we can have an exclusive address for advertisements.

Proposed Festival – Calvin suggested that we stage an annual festival as a fundraiser and community celebration. There was concern about trying to do too much too soon, so we tabled the idea for now.

Kick-off Meeting – We still want to do an economic development-focused kickoff meeting. We will aim to have the kick off on a Saturday morning (8 a.m.) in late June. The idea is to have a light breakfast, a keynote speaker, and representation of our local businesses. It will be timed to coincide with the newsletter. Joyce will check with Berean Church about using the community space. We will discuss the idea further in April. We are soliciting a volunteer to manage the event.
4. Update on Old Business
Board of Directors Insurance. The “Directors and Officers” liability insurance and general liability insurance does include fiduciary coverage. The cost is about $550. When we have employees, Williams Turner & Mathis, Inc., advises that we add Employee Dishonesty insurance.
Brochure. We will print the brochure once Char delivers the paper to Nadine. Char expects to be able to deliver the paper by March 29. A copy of the brochure is posted on the website:
Letterhead/Logo. Still in production. Jan visited, but the minimum fee is $199, and we do not have the money. Phyllis and Jan are going to work on the logo.
Phone. Jan and Phyllis will work on setting up a Google phone account.

5. New Business
Succession and Continuity Plans. Joyce suggested we start using our Gmail account for all corporation business. That way, we keep records in one place. She suggested setting up a Google Drive for important documents. Jan will work on that project and provide the Board the access code information. In addition, access information to our website and other corporate information will be put on the drive. Only Board members will have access.
General Membership Meetings. All meetings are open now, but we will make a pronounced effort to invite all members to the first meeting of each quarter. The Board voted unanimously to do so, beginning with the 2nd quarter.
501 (c)(3) status. Jan will research and begin the process.

6. The next meeting will be April 26, 10 a.m., at the Mainstreet Community Center. All interested residents and businesspeople are welcome.




Board Member Resignation

With regret, I must pass along the news that Calvin Sims is resigning from the Board of Directors. He gave his notice March 22. His note to the Board stated:

After careful consideration I have made a decision to resign from the Board of Directors of the CDC, and also the newsletter committee. During my short time on the board, it has been a pleasure working with you, and I look forward to continued collaboration.
Rest assured that the Chapman Mill Redan Park Community remains committed to supporting the mission of the CDC.
Calvin E. Sims, Sr


Minutes- February Monthly Meeting- Living out of our imagination!

Minutes: Board of Directors Meeting

Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC)
Mainstreet Community Center, Feb. 22, 2014, 10 a.m. -11:00 a.m.

Attendees: Jan Costello, Calvin E. Sims, Sr., Nadine Rivers-Johnson, Joyce Russell, Erica Weaver, Char Taylor

Absent: Phyllis Frierson (work commitment)

1. Welcome. Jan led off with a reminder about the Atlanta Community Food Bank. It is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The Food Bank began with a talk around a kitchen table and grew into a robust food-sharing and advocacy movement. Executive Director Bill Bolling says that at the root of all great movements is “collective imagination unencumbered by any past failures.” He notes that there is still too much “hunger in a land of plenty” and still much to do; nevertheless, his hopeful message and perseverance is inspiring, as is the commitment of hundreds of volunteers.  Jan noted that we are a few steps beyond the kitchen table phase. We are committed and looking for more volunteers. We are following the advice of businessman, author, and motivator Stephen Covey: Live out of your imagination, not your history.

2. Finance

Checking account status. Calvin found out that Georgia United Credit Union charges an annual fee of $10 for an “Easy Business” account, with no minimum and no monthly fees. The Board unanimously voted to open an account. The Board decided that checks would require two signatures: the president’s and the treasurer’s. Jan will get with Phyllis to open the account.  Joyce said she would consider serving as a back up.

Accountant status. Nadine reached out to Jerome Chavis, a partner and CPA at NTRC and a resident of Mainstreet. He volunteered to work pro bono, set up our accounting structure, and provide tax advice. We are planning to become a 501(c) (3), and we welcome his advice so that we create the right reporting structure. He is busy through April 15, but Nadine will invite him to our April 22 meeting.

3. Blueprint for DeKalb County. This initiative by Commissioner Gannon is to slow down the creation of more cities in DeKalb County until we assess the impact. The Board decided not to endorse the effort as a group, but individuals are encouraged to sign the petition. The concern of the Board was that a non-profit must be careful not to take on anything that could be construed as political advocacy because it could affect our future 501(c) (3) status.

Commissioner Gannon held one public meeting on the initiative, and more will be scheduled. If those reading these minutes are interested in getting more information about the Blueprint, please read below:

The Blueprint is the foundation for a community discussion to address the issues facing DeKalb County.  The Blueprint process has been endorsed by more than 60 community leaders to date. The blueprint addresses the Grand Jury recommendations, ethics, government operations and cityhood.

The complete Blueprint is available at Citizens are encouraged to visit the site, read the Blueprint, sign on to show your support.

4. Board of Directors Insurance. Our corporation will need “Directors and Officers” liability insurance and general liability insurance. Jan asked Williams Turner & Mathis, Inc. for a quote. It is about $500-$600 per year. The Board asked Jan to get more information about the coverage; in particular, does the quote include fidelity insurance (coverage for theft of cash or goods). Jan will provide information at the next meeting.


5. Marketing:

Newsletter Update. Calvin submitted a proposal for a newsletter. (Background: He met with journalists Donna Lewis Johnson and Leslie Williams Johnson, Jan Costello, and graphic artist Charlie Lundy on Feb. 15 to gather input. The newsletter would be distributed in hard copy and electronically. It would be paid for with advertisements.

The Board suggested that we aim for a 4-page first edition June 1. If enough ads were sold, it would be expanded to 8 pages. (The layout is 11 x 17, folded, so that each sheet has four pages.) We discussed the name and made revisions. We asked that whoever lays out the newsletter be required to meet certain stipulations (such as deadlines and provide the original electronic file). The prototype (the initial design) would have to be provided pro bono. We would work out a payment schedule for the layout of the newsletter. Nadine and  Jan will provide details to Calvin, and he will discuss it with the graphic artist. Calvin has many more details about the launch. If you would like to volunteer for this service, please contact him at

Nadine will make inquiries about getting seed money from the county.

Brochure. The brochure has been reformatted to work on the Mainstreet photocopier. We are ready to print copies as needed.  You may see the brochure by clicking here:  Brochure – Copy  A copy of the brochure is posted on the website under “About Us”:

                Letterhead/Logo.  Still in production. Char suggested that we visit to bid out the job. Jan will do so.


6.  Streetscape. Char reported on a website that helps neighborhoods get their problems to the right government department. It is called  Her committee met after the board meeting. She will provide a report. She urged us to review the site.

7. Postponed until next meeting:  Dues analysis. Budget analysis.

8. The next meeting will be March 22, 10 a.m., at the Mainstreet Community Center.