The Thunderhead Alliance Weather Report



Volume 3, Issue 2                                                                                                 ___ March 02, 2007






In This Issue:







THUNDERHEAD'S NEW RESOURCES LIBRARY LAUNCHED


One of the most important components of Thunderhead’s work is the capture, replication and dissemination of the best resources available for the leaders of our member organizations. Now those resources have been unveiled for all to see (but only members and supporters to touch) through our newly reconstructed web Resources Library & Member Services at www.thunderheadalliance.org. Our David Hoffman, after months of reconstruction work, spent his Presidents’ Day weekend doing the final spit shine, so make sure to let him know what you think.

You will also find lots of new resources which David and the rest of Thunderhead’s staff gathered up in anticipation of this unveiling. For instance, regular readers of the Weather Report will recall our January issue’s Org Tip that included a checklist of healthy organization structural elements. You can now find that checklist along with all of its recommended templates under Managing and Staffing an Organization.

Please take the time to click around the new library. If you find any areas where you could offer model materials, please email them to david “at” thunderheadalliance.org. You’ll note that David makes sure to credit the organizations that have offered materials. And please let your friends and colleagues know about this new Resources Library. There are two places where documents are accessible to non-members/supporters, under Starting an Organization and Campaigns, so please pass this on to potential new org leaders.

You will also discover that we have made the switch to the 2007 password. You will find this password in your thank you letter that should have arrived by now with your membership or supporter packet if you renewed on time or recently joined. Please pass it on to ALL leaders of your organization, but leaders only (board members, staff and super volunteers) and make sure they know not to forward it. If you haven’t yet renewed (all dues expired on 12-31-06), make sure to go to our Join page, print and fill out the form, and send it in with your check right away. If you have any questions about this, email sue “at” thunderheadalliance.org.




TIM MAY OF ENTERPRISE JOINS THUNDERHEAD BOARD


Over the past five years, we at Thunderhead have invested significant energy into improving our abilities as a national organization. This did not come naturally to us because our roots are, and will always remain, at the state and local levels. But in order to truly serve the state and local levels with national programs and campaigns, replicable models, and comprehensive networking systems, it is vital for all Thunderhead staff and Board members to become as savvy at the national level as we are at the state and local levels.

Tim May, Director of Development at Enterprise Community Partners’ national office, first connected with Thunderhead back in 2005 when he helped Thunderhead’s Executive Director, Sue Knaup, develop our marketing tools for approaching mainstream funders. Enterprise is an extraordinary partner for Thunderhead because it comes close to being the Thunderhead Alliance of community development corporations - local non-profits that work for affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization. Find out more at: www.enterprisecommunity.org.

And Tim May is an extraordinary addition to Thunderhead’s Board, not only for bringing the vital national expertise of Enterprise, but also for his genuine commitment to our work. Tim clearly sees that housing and transportation issues are inseparable and while his expertise is on the housing side, he is proving to be an invaluable translator for us as we step boldly into the national mainstream to show all sectors why they must keep bicycling and walking front and center to their efforts.

Welcome to the Thunderhead Board, Tim!









NEW THUNDERHEAD MUTUAL AID FOR 2007


Thunderhead's Mutual Aid is back for 2007, and better than ever! Mutual Aid is a forum in which member organizations can get together via conference call to discuss some of the hot topics that every organization must deal with. We invite folks from member organizations who are experts in their area to share their successes and strategies. Mutual Aid calls are open to all Thunderhead member organizations.

Topics include:
  • Membership Development and Retention
  • Fundraising Strategies
  • Media Relations
  • Developing Successful Partnerships
  • Specialized advanced topics, including fundraising, media, partnerships, SAFETEA-LU, etc. (See the website for a full description)
The next Mutual Aid call - Membership Development and Retention - will be on March 8th.

To join one of these calls, email: mutualaid "at" thunderheadalliance.org.

For a complete list of Mutual Aid calls and dates, visit: http://www.thunderheadalliance.org/mutualaid.html









COMPLETE STREETS CORNER: GROWING MOMENTUM


by Dominic Liberatore, Complete Streets Campaign Coach

Is something in the water or is a complete streets bug going about the country? I’m not sure which of these is true but either way, complete streets campaigns seem to be spreading across the country like a firestorm caused by lightening (yes, the pun is intended).

Since our last report I’ve been contacted by groups/people all over the country asking for input on policies that are being developed. Our friends across the country are getting active. The state of Maine may be moving and so it seems with the city of Seattle. Still, we remain alert for what the boss likes to call “poser polices”; policies that would never result in complete streets.

The whole concept of complete streets is that all users of a roadway will be accommodated. For too long many of our elected officials have followed either bad policies that only serve motor vehicles or poser policies that direct them to “consider” bicyclists and pedestrians. And what do they do? They consider it and turn it down every time!

Speaking of our elected officials. Many of you have heard me speaking about the need for Thunderhead member organizations to sort their membership list according to legislative districts in order to target your local complete streets policy campaigns to the correct elected officials. After some research, I’ve found that many of you do not have the ability to do this. I look forward to showing you some of the technologies available which will not only help mobilize your members to get your elected officials on board but will help you raise more money.

As part of Thunderhead’s National Complete the Streets Campaign strategy, we hope that all of our member organizations will participate in these technology upgrades. It will help your local campaigns to be as effective as they can be and will dramatically increase the effectiveness of our national network through all of your organizations for the campaign. To learn more about this, please go to www.progressivevictory.com or drop me an email at dominic “at” thunderheadalliance.org. I look forward to seeing many of you in a few weeks in Washington D.C. at the National Bike Summit. Be sure to pull me aside and say "hi" if I miss you.








MEMBER NEWS: QUEST FOR THE PERFECT BOARD - DOES SUCH A THING EXIST?


Finding Leprechaun gold at the end of a rainbow is the fodder of legends and fantasy. But what about a well-balanced board and an excellent working relationship between board and staff? Is this, too, the stuff of fantasy? Absolutely not! We're happy to report that unlike Leprechaun gold, Thunderhead can confirm that such relationships do exist!

Each month Thunderhead highlights an organization or two that is doing exceptional work on behalf of bicyclists and pedestrians. This month, we are recognizing a much larger group of our member organizations, as there are many worthy candidates out there, but not enough space to recognize everyone. Please take a few moments and check out the organizations listed below; you'll find the work that they're doing innovative and fresh.

The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition (Sonoma Country, CA) has a long history of a very active board and a culture of teamwork and innovation. Chris Culver, SCBC's executive director gets plenty of support from her board.

The Major Taylor Foundation of Greater Kansas City (MO) is a young and energetic new organization. Their board has continually strived to improve the organization, and has been able to attract major players to their board based on their reputation for teamwork and innovation.

BikeDenver (CO) has been taking the organization's growth to the next level after attending Thunderhead Trainings: Winning Campaigns last year. They've launched significant new campaigns, and are even featured in a group photo on our Thunderhead Trainings: Winning Campaigns advertisement postcard.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (PA) enjoys a large and very active and engaged board. They deeply impressed us with their depth of knowledge and strong working relationships with staff at the Coalition - many of whom were in attendance last year at one of Thunderhead Trainings: Winning Campaigns.

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition (IA) is still a relatively new organization, and their board has been very supportive of Mark Wyatt, executive director. The Coalition's efforts and work paved the way for several large strategic wins in Iowa, and is poised to bring bicycling to the forefront in Iowa.

How well does your organization's board and staff work together? Is there room for improvement? Be sure to check out the resources available for our member organizations in the newly improved Resources Library and Member Services area of the Thunderhead website!

Thunderhead welcomes news items from our member organizations based on each month’s theme. Please send your suggested item (maximum 300 words) to: david "at" thunderheadalliance.org. We will publish the most inspiring story and list the web links of other contributors within that month’s theme. Next month's theme is: Important legislative wins.








ORG TIP: ACT NOW TO STOP UNFAIR RECISSIONS IN YOUR STATE!

The largest rescission of federal transportation funds ever ordered by Congress is underway, totaling $3.471 billion. Because DOTs generally protect their familiar highway programs, rescissions such as this pose a threat to the most important programs to bicycling and walking. Once FHWA issues the order, states will have 30 days to surrender program balances. So contact your best officials at your DOT right away to let them know you and your organization will not tolerate unfair taking from programs that fund bicycling and walking! Then ask how you and your organization can help ensure the rescission is spread across all transportation programs evenly.

During FY’06, there were three separate federal transportation rescission orders, totaling $3.74 billion. A number of states targeted only a few programs to carry the burden of the rescission order. For example, some states targeted only the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ). Texas took their entire rescission amount from the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program. Programs that fund bicycling and walking were targeted at a far greater percent than highway programs during the FY’06 rescissions, even though these programs represent a minor percentage of the apportioned funds.

So don’t delay! Make that call to your favorite DOT official today to let them know you and your organization are watching and to find out how to help ensure this monstrous rescission is handled appropriately.

And please email your experiences to sue “at” thunderheadalliance.org. We are beginning work on an interactive database for our web site that will offer you the means to tap all SAFETEA-LU federal transportation funds for your efforts. We will have a section for combating unfair rescissions, so whatever you send us from this current one will help many other Thunderheaders respond to future rescissions. And please include any successes you have in bringing together coalitions of other organizations for this effort. Thank you!








This monthly Thunderhead Alliance Weather Report is for the leaders of our member organizations and our supporters. The Thunderhead Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the only coalition of state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations working in unison to break down the barriers to safe bicycling and walking in North American communities. Find more info at: www.thunderheadalliance.org.