On Saturday, January 29, 2022, ARDC held its first community meeting of the year. Below is a recording of the meeting and a recap. In the recap, times are included in square brackets, so that you can quickly fast forward to a particular topic. For example, discussion of staff and volunteer updates begins at the [3:10] mark.
A PDF file with the slides presented can be found here.*
After some housekeeping, Executive Director Rosy Schechter, KJ7RYV, launched into a recap of 2021, noting, “Last year was the first year that we had actual employees….including me!” The big news of this portion of the presentation was that ARDC Treasurer Bdale Garbee, KB0G, has come on board, at least temporarily as Accounting Director [5:10]. Bdale has been doing this as a volunteer, but it’s been so much work that it just made sense that he receive some compensation.
Rosy then discussed some of the changes to the Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The highlights here are that Bob Witte, K0NR, will be taking over as chair of the GAC, and that we’ve increased the size of the committee. We also have new TAC members, and Pierre Martel, VE2PF, will be the new chair.
Next, Grants Manager Chelsea Parrága, KF0FVJ, took the floor to discuss our 2021 grants [9:50]. The big news here is that we made 61 grants, totalling more than $9 million, and reached 55,682 people. This included:
- 29 grants ($3.7 million) for the support and growth of amateur radio
- 22 grants ($4.1 million) for education, including scholarship
- 10 grants ($1.2 million) for research and development projects
A number of grants were highlighted, including grants to:
- Software Freedom Conservancy’s Outreachy program
- Hoopa Valley Tribe, for internet infrastructure
- M17 Project, which is developing completely open-source digital communications hardware and software
After this review, Communications Manager Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, discussed how we engaged with our community in 2021. For example, since Dan came on board in June 2021, we’ve appeared on several podcasts and YouTube shows, including Ham Nation and Linux in the Ham Shack. He’s also published several press releases that have garnered mentions in the press of our grants, and he’s revived our presence on social media, including Twitter and LinkedIn.
Last but not least, for 2021, we shared some highlights of ARDC’s first-ever in-person meeting between board and staff. We not only discussed some weighty issues, such as how we envision ARDC making amateur radio better in the future, but also took some time to have fun. Who would have guessed that Chelsea would be such a killer axe thrower?!
Looking forward to 2022
We then turned our attention to 2022 [24:45]. First on the agenda was publication of a new values statement. Our values are:
- Openness & Transparency
- Generosity & Gratitude
We urge you all to take a look at the values statement.
Next, Dan announced our upcoming hamfest schedule. This includes Hamcation (Orlando, FL, February 11-12, 2022), QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo (March 12-13,2022), and the Dayton Hamvention (Xenia, OH, May 20-22, 2022).
The next announcement was about changes to our grantmaking process [26:40]. The short version is that in 2022 there will be four deadlines for grant applications:
- Tuesday, February 15, 2022
- Sunday, May 1, 2022
- Friday, July 15, 2022
- Saturday, October 1, 2022
After these deadlines, applications are grouped into categories and applications in those categories are evaluated together. We feel that reviewing grant applications in this way will be fairer and streamline the process.
Rosy then discussed some other items that we will be working on in 2022 [30:00], including:
- Our vision statement and code of conduct,
- Expanding grantmaking capabilities to individuals,
- Focused outreach, especially internationally and to digital communications groups,
- Piloting (and hopefully launching!) a new grant management platform called Hypha,
- Launching a new portal for 44net and updating documentation, and
- Re-launching our website so that it is mobile friendly.
The meeting ended with a spirited Q&A session [34:00]. Rosy and the rest of the staff fielded the following questions:
- Can applicants include overhead costs in grant applications [34:30]?
- What’s been going on with the Technical Activities Committee in 2021 [37:15]?
- Does ARDC fund emergency communications trailers and vans [40:45]?
- What is ARDC doing in diversity, equity, and inclusion [43:00]?
- What progress has been made on the 44Net portal upgrade [45:30]?
- What are the reporting requirements after a grant has been made [46:00]?
- Does ARDC have any plans to promote amateur radio to the general public [49:05]?
- Does ARDC give grants to individuals [53:30]?
Please see the video for the answers to these questions.
* The PDF slides here have been updated since the video call to address two corrections: Merideth’s call sign was incorrect. Also, our grantmaking number has been updated to include some small gifts at the end of the year, totaling about $22,000. As noted in the video and elsewhere, the most exact numbers related to our finances will be provided in our 2021 audit, which will be made public as soon as it is complete and submitted to the IRS.