In June the SAC met to conduct some general business and also receive updates on some crucial projects that are in progress. The first task was to approve the fiscal year 2021 budget which was first presented to the SAC in May. The SAC voted to pass the budget unanimously.
In response to recent high-profile national events that brought the issue of racism more to the forefront than ever, BBF drafted a formal statement on Diversity, Equity, Social Justice and Inclusion as one step the organization will take to bring a stronger equity focus to all our work. The statement was read out loud in the meeting prompting much positive reaction and discussion about how we can all do more in this arena. While there was not a need for the SAC to vote to endorse the statement, the body decided that doing so was an important show of solidarity. The motion passed unanimously.
Next the SAC reviewed BBF performance measures we’ve been working on, using a Results Based Accountability model. BBF has developed a set of performance measures to better understand the impact of our work. We’ve also created a partner survey tool to help gain an outside perspective on our effectiveness.
The SAC reviewed the timing for How Are Vermont’s Young Children and Families, and the process for making policy recommendations that will appear in the report. Earlier this year, BBF’s plan was to move the report printing up to the fall; however with all of the changes that have happened with COVID-19 it is prudent to reconsider this move and continue on our early January timeline. This will support our ability to update and reimagine the report while also giving the organization space to complete many other priority projects.
In terms of the recommendations, the SAC typically sets priorities once a year that drive the recommendations for the legislature that are printed in the report. This year has made us reflect on the importance of being able to react nimbly to a rapidly changing environment with COVID-19 and the current moment as it pertains to racial equity. The SAC had a robust discussion of who the audience is for when we set priorities, and BBF’s role in advising on policy. BBF is empowered by Act 104 to inform leadership in Vermont across the EC spectrum, so our priorities are very important. It’s also key that we are informed by what families tell us they need. The SAC also asked how these priorities intersect with the Racial Equity Statement, to ensure that racial equity is embedded in each of our current priorities, rather than making it its own category. While no consensus was reached, this discussion set a good foundation to discuss SAC priorities at the next meeting.