September 2018 Board Notes




Board Attended: Andy Tso, Megan Stob, Kim Hofer, Kevin Ehrler, Tristan Anderson, Michelle Clark, Jay Bottem
Board Absent:
Observers: Age Nelson, Lauren Ganann, Troy MacDonald, Heather Bufkin, Kale Ganann, Alli Cassel, Matt Sexton, Rosalie Jewell, John Koniges, John Hermanstorfer


Anime Twin Cities, Inc Board Meeting September 11, 2018 6:30pm

Waterbury Building; 1121 Jackson St. NE Minneapolis MN 55413



  • Open Session
  • Coordinator Updates
    • Anime Detour
    • Charities
    • Clubs
    • Community
    • Media Relations
    • SOS
    • Finance
  • Ratify Vote on Calendar of Designated Board Meeting
  • Use of Leg Fund Money
  • Tree Removal- Leg Fund Request
  • Give to the Max
  • ATC Budget Approval
  • Coordinator Goals
  • Coordinator Reviews (Closed Session with Board and Coordinators)


Meeting called to order 6:32pm


Andy thanks everyone for coming.


Open Session:

  • JohnK - Understands and appreciates new review system, and some people are not critical reviews, and sometimes harsh and mean.  Since you can only send in to one person and it’s not anonymous - people may not feel comfortable to talk and has been told this.  Feeling missing reviews because of this.
  • Troy - Is there any way to see any validity in offering both?  Allow people to put name and anonymous. Would it bring in more feedback?
  • Troy - ones I got were anonymous.  
  • Lauren - if someone wants to talk to a board member, whether that board member chooses to represent it as another’s person, or include in their feedback, that it’s important it gets through.  Staff should feel comfortable talking with their elected representatives.
  • Lauren - issue was it had to go specifically to the secretary.  It could be, “you can email, or talk to a board member”
  • John - hopefully one of the 8 of you they will feel comfortable talking with one.
  • Andy - email was to streamline process.
  • John - previous years we have seeked feedback from staff as well, recent years we haven’t asked.  And have been told in past only board members can submit.
  • Troy - We can open this up at meetings, and let our staff know all the avenues they can send in.  Hopefully in writing to the board member.
  • Kim - Staff should be allowed to submit.  They should have every right to review on a regular basis.
  • Michelle - Staff should be told it’s review time and let them make feedback either to a board member or to the board itself.  Would not suggest sending to every coordinator. Staff needs to be able to have a voice. Part of how we encourage them to be and stay involved.
  • Tristan - He wasn’t aware it was an option for staff to review.  Only sent to ATC lists.
  • Troy - it was mentioned at the last staff meeting on Saturday.  Pointed out coordinators and email address verbally given. Through staff social media/emails.
  • Andy - if someone isn’t comfortable submitting to admin or board member, it is reasonable to assume that the board will see the feedback and where it is coming from.
  • John - Why? They could strip off the email send.
  • Tristan - We have seen anonymous emails lately.
  • John - Prefer it comes through a non-anonymous way so they can give feedback and prevent inflammatory comments.
  • Lauren - if they don’t feel comfortable emailing coordinator, they can email a board who is more approachable and they can submit it.


  • Tristan: As a member of AD Tech staff, have we heard anything back from 2D con regarding the PS4?
  • Lauren: We have not.  Have double checked last Friday.  Kim reminded they have until the 10th.  She will contact them tomorrow.
  • Tristan: Point getting to send a representative from staff, or stop loaning.  This is a repetitive issue.
  • Lauren - this is before the contract with fees attached


Coordinator updates


Anime Detour

  • We were accepted into the International Otaku Expo Association. It’s a nonprofit organization based in Japan. It is a global organization to construct a global network of these events.
  • Signed and submitted the overflow and dinner contract for the 2020 Millenium.
  • Have contracts in hand for discussion of Anime Detour 2021, 2022. The Hyatt has a provision that prevents us from signing out further than 5 years. So we have to hold on signing the 2023 contract.



  • Advocacy Summit Sept 22. Pumpkin Trolley on Oct 13th for AUSM
  • Meeting next week for Charities



  • There are no clubs reporting any problems.
  • Inaugural meeting for the Coaster club is following the next staff meeting on Oct 13.



  • We successfully negotiated supplies for the weekend where we all have an event.
  • All saw the email about the Board boot camp. There are 2 dates November 27th and November 29th. Are we okay with continuing forward? Preferred is November 29th. If this is booked we will look into December.
  • Sent in the updated equipment rental doc
    • Vote via email
  • We did have someone send us a request over social media, this may happen more frequently. Should have a policy about the cost of the item if it’s below $100. Maybe have the rental be 10%? If the value of the items is under $_____ it should be a percentage and not the flat $150 rental fee with $200 deposit. Lauren to send an email with recommendations for the board.


Media Relations:

  • Starting to write the outline for the next newsletter. Still having some issues with the email and podcast versions, but we are working on it.
  • Some of the other coordinators will receive emails with any questions.
  • For the first one; we had at least 30 people view the video.



  • Next weekend we have live action hungry hungry hippo’s right here in GPS. Hoping that there are some volunteers to put up some signs. It is Saturday September 22nd, from 4 to 7 pm.
  • The first weekend in October, hoping to hold our Family Movie Night. Will have more info as we get more information.



  • Main Account: $218,883.44
  • Very expensive month; almost $14,000 spent.
  • We should still come under by about $14000 as of today
  • $2126.90 that is slated to go into the LEG Fund at the end of the month. Should transfer a few days prior to October 1st.
  • LEG Fund $9400.16
    • Still waiting on the decisions from Chris about his teeth.
  • Education Fund: $890.53.


Question from Andy: Understand that you have a complete list of the organizations that are given to each year. Can you resend the list to IT, for both the Anime Twin Cities website and the Anime Detour page.


Agenda: Ratify vote on Calendar of Designated Board Meeting

  • Motify schedule as needed.


All in Favor, unanimous among all present.


Agenda: Discussion of use of the leg fund money.


The LEG Fund is intended for charitable use in the community. We match up to the first $5000 each year. We file any necessary taxes or paperwork. It can be used as loans to outside organizations; we could chose to give the money as a gift or as a loan. All staff members were restricted from the utilization of this fund; they are ineligible for receiving funds from the community fund. Don’t remember if there was a discussion surrounding family members, how far out do we extend this radius?


This came up because there was a familial connection on a gift that we gave recently that we were unaware of and another one that is up for debate right now, as a distant relative of a staff member.


What do people think about what if any restrictions we place on donations?

Kim- immediate; parent, spouse, child, sibiling. Immediate household members as well is the recommendation.


If we are discussing those in the same household; what about roommates? There are lots of people that live together. There are a lot of ways that people interpret this.

  • There is a form that people are supposed to fill out, asking people to disclose any conflict of interest.


The purpose of the leg fund is to benefit people connected to the fandom community. So conceptually the people who would receive this fund would have some sort of in.


Andy should have reached out to Charley to gain his insight about the situation and any recommendations he might have had. He may have recommended language that we could potentially use.


Pretty big difference between winning a contest and saving someone’s home. If we do want to go with a system that will allow roommates and a situation where the staff member might benefit. We will need to change the wording of the funds statement, as we have already promised that staff cannot benefit.


Do you think the statement that staff cannot benefit is enough protection against nepotism of people receiving leg fund inappropriately. We have received emails and heard concerns that this is a real concern. Maybe discuss removal of immediate family and household is run as a case by case basis.


We have also discussed in the past hosting fundraisers for individuals. There are some who have voiced concern. There will be some that we may not be able to help. This is new ground, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not warranted.


It sounds like we are leaning towards some sort of revision to the documentation of the LEG Fund, some sort of clarification. That we are not ready to make a decision. This is something that we need to get done! We continually push this back.


Besides Charley, what other sources can we look at? Similarly other organizations that run funds like this. Come back to discussion of Household designations,

Each board member to look up wording from at least one organization.


Agenda: Leg Fund Request – Tree Removal.

Are we comfortable making a decision without the lack of verbage. No.


Agenda: Give to the Max

  • Gave out new information about Give to the Max day in November.
  • Is this something we would like to discuss or be interested in?
  • This would be something that Age would handle.
  • Are we comfortable with GTTM taking out 6.9% out of anything we earn.
  • There is no cost to signing up. We just have to make the effort to make the portal.
  • We are still making 93.1% profit on any donations.
  • Usually you fill out their form and then you promote it, we would encourage our staff to post and donate, and post on our social media pages and talk about what we would do with that money.
  • I would suggest that we state upfront where the money would go to. The LEG Fund vs. the Education Fund. We are doing this to send another student to Japan for a year.


Andy motions to give the go ahead with going forward with efforts to participate with Give to the Max day. Michelle seconded. All in favor. Unanimous.


Michelle and Andy to help coordinate with Age.


Give to the Max Day is November 15th.


Agenda: ATC Budget Approval

The coordinators and Kim all met Saturday after the Staff meeting and went through all six budgets, and no one fought.


Last year the board approved: ATC, MR, Charities, Clubs, Community, SOS - $69938.00


This year the goal was to come in under $60,000. We actually came in and would like to spend $59,650.00. This is the first year that you aren’t seeing a line by line.


Can you give us a range for the branches? ATC’s was the most expensive around $14000. The Charities budget was around $2,000. This is less than what we spent last year by $10,000.


Some of it was moving things moving out of Media Relations, and some of the adjustments between the coordinators.


Andy motions to approve the entirety of the ATC Budgets excluding Detour at the number Kim provided. Tristan seconded. All in Favor. Kim abstained.


Agenda: Coordinator Goals

If we are asking questions: mostly asking about details.

Below are the Coordinators Goals as they were sent and after follows our questions…

ATC Coordinator Goals

Anime Detour

  • Manage appropriate attendance growth - Staff/guest ratio, demand, etc
  • Look into Anime Detour related business plan - Stated goals for the cycle and beyond give us a clearer idea of what our goals are and allow dedicated planning on how to meet them
  • Assess current staff incentives.  Create proposal for a staff badge discount for 2020 implementation.  Continue to look at staff hotel discount
  • Continued budget focus.  Looking at return on investment and rent vs own.  Prioritizing large purchases/replacement - Budget items listed under most appropriate department when possible
  • Increase and diversify our overall recruitment efforts - Working within stated staff needs for each department
  • Increase online initiatives - Join staff, see staff position descriptions, team photos, apply for an Ambassador table
  • Increase avenues for idea sharing, feedback from staff
  • Increase avenues to receive more feedback from our attendee guests
  • Finalize event contract for 2021 and beyond - If preferred, Direct billing in contracts avoiding a deposit schedule. Accuracy in power drop/internet/other PSAV needs
  • Leadership development - Have position descriptions for each position, head, vice chair, chair
  • Improve staff communication, such as email responses etc
  • Continue to grow Anime Detour brand recognition, both locally and regionally - Through established and new relationships, networking
  • Increased focus on charities we work with - Testimonials, representation of work @ Detour, links on Detour site
  • Meeting focus.  Open house as well as Planning - On time, thorough but efficient, restore an element of fun, collaborate with Heather on post meeting social gatherings
  • Continue to invite staff to feel free to contact me at any time - I’m on site 2 hours before meetings, as well as after
  • With Marketing, revisit tiered Sponsorship packages/Corporate sponsorship
  • Establish need for and craft necessary policies - Gratis badges/shirts, Departmental Budgets, Art Request. In a few years’ time, free badges dispensed have grown to over 350.  While many are appropriate, 350 free badges equates to $17,500.
  • Ensure Anime Detour, and perhaps by extension ATC is within parameters of complying with tax ST19 - Penalty for not having ST19 or similar written document from sellers can be a fine of $100 per seller per day of event
  • Focus on our positive reinforcement/staff recognition - Throughout the cycle as well as at Detour
  • Host round table discussions 2-3 times each year with other local convention leadership





  • Explore further options for collaboration with AUSM
  • AUSM’s standard events, + new adult conference on 9/22
  • Drive for Community fund
  • Drive for Scholarship fund
  • Cocoa, Santa, and some photos, I guess
  • Collect and propose charities for next cycle’s charitable distribution




As of right now, no school club will talk to me. As such, My goal is to facilitate our internal clubs as best as I can.




1. Equipment rental

   a. Finalize and implement contract for rental agreements.

    b. Create application form.

    c. Maintain list of equipment available for rental and staff qualified to examine rented equipment.

    d. Partner with IT to get completed documentation on the ATC website with a contact email that sends the request to community head, logistics head and key department heads.


2. Maintain shared coordinator supplies and create a system and infrastructure to insure that equipment is where we need it when we need it.


3. Maintain a calendar of local events to promote ATC

  October: Anime Fusion

  April: Anime Detour

  May: Cherry Tree Festival or Festival of nations

  June: Pride

  July: Convergence and Aquatennial parade

  August: Obon

  September: Furry Migration or 2Dcon and Mechademia


 4. Work with our partner organizations to establish  stonger bonds and make the most of our relationships.


5. Develop a system for creating ATC memberships outside of Detour.


6. Complete board training.


Media Relations




As Media Relations, I would like to extend our reach to the stars above, and reach out to local news programming, (MPR, Twin Cities Geeks, and other such shows) as well as drum up content to create a community centered around Anime, Manga, and Japanese culture.

    My goal is to create a video series hosted on our YouTube page (Under Anime Detour) and also start a Podcast. I wish for these to be the auditory and visual extensions of our  newsletter. I would like to focus more on building the community digitally, as well as sharing stories about this community through interviews and events for local fans of Anime, Manga, and Japanese culture.

    A breakdown of my goals is as follows:


  • Create and maintain digital content for ATC:
    • Newsletter
    • Podcast(s)
    • YouTube video series
  • Help support ATC events by taking photos at event and promoting them online
  • Reaching out to local news outlets
  • Help Lauren find and promote local Anime-related events in the Twin Cities
  • Have more staff


Äge Nelson

Media Relations Sub-Head






Completed Goals, 2017-2018:

  • Move Akihabara to a larger venue and expand it to include vendors.
  • Add at least one new public event unlike anything we’ve done before.
  • Add merchandise and concessions sales on a regular basis.
  • Foster leadership development by hosting at least two events run by staff members without the direct involvement of the Coordinator.
  • Recruit at least two new staff members, outside of any current Anime Detour or ATC staff.
  • Plan events far enough in advance to make flyers on a regular basis and post them at preselected locations around the Twin Cities.
  • Actively solicit feedback from attendees on how to improve our events and their reach.
  • Add event photos to the ATC Facebook page.


Current Goals, 2017-2018:

Event Improvements

  • Continue to grow the June Akihabara event by doubling the number of artist tables. The ultimate goal is to make it big enough to move to a larger, cheaper venue in 2020 and become self-sustaining with the addition of dealer booths.
  • Replace the monthly Kotatsu events with a quarterly meet-and-greet social held at GPS, free to attend with games and treats.
  • Retool the Cosplay Fest concept into a high-level costume fashion show and contest, with the hope that it might become popular enough to support a few seminars on the side.
  • Add indoor movie events specifically geared toward families, in a child-friendly and sensory-friendly environment, with a quiet space and a play area.
  • Establish regular social activities for Anime Detour staff following meetings at the Waterbury.


Staff Improvements

  • Foster leadership development by hosting at least one additional event run by staff members without the direct involvement of the Coordinator.
  • Recruit at least two new staff members, outside of any current Anime Detour or ATC staff.
  • Cultivate and maintain a pool of additional volunteers to help staff major events.


Attendance Improvements

  • Continue to develop and refine the flyer posting circuit (our current circuit covers around 33% of the Twin Cities).
  • Monitor attendee feedback to determine the effectiveness of promotion methods, measure the success of our events, and gather ideas for new activities.
  • Update and expand the SOS section of the ATC website with new photos and information.


Synergistic Improvements

  • (Ongoing) Contribute financially to the organization by providing opportunities to sell ATC/AD merchandise, selling concessions and event tickets when reasonable, and collecting donations for ATC charitable funds or the general fund.
  • Transition primary administration of online postings for SOS events to the Media Coordinator. Provide timely event information for the newsletter, podcast, and other promotional channels.
  • Provide a photo reel and informational blurb for Opening Ceremonies at Anime Detour.
  • Partner with the Charities Coordinator to include charitable activities at events when appropriate, for example, hosting “Photos with Santa” at the winter quarterly social.
  • Encourage cross-promotion among the branches of ATC by displaying materials for the other coordinators at SOS events. Provide a promotional table for the Anime Detour Marketing team whenever possible.


Anime Detour Questions:

These are a lot of goals, do you plan on prioritizing? The top 5 you want to achieve this year.

  • Meeting focus just happens, just trying to institute a level of fun.
  • I would say a business plan is a good idea, looking at staff incentives; including staff badge discussions. Focus on policies and gratis materials. Departmental budget policies, getting things written down. See CIRCLES
  • Do you need help from the board on any of these in particular? Nothing that Troy can think of as of yet.


Charities Questions:

If Kale were still here

  • Would ask what his top goal is? Lauren says exploring further options for collaboration with AUSM


Clubs Questions:

Have to ask Erick, what obstacles he has had? Will be here soon


Community Questions:

What would you say your top goal would be?

  • The only one I haven’t worked on is creating a system for ATC memberships outside of Detour.
  • The high priority is the equipment rental as this is the potential economic loss if we don’t maintain that system efficiently.


Media Relations Questions:

Top goal for the upcoming year?

  • Creating and maintaining digital content for ATC
  • And gaining more staff.


SOS Questions:

Went through her goals at the last meeting.


Very Detailed and very ambitious.


What are your top 3-5 goals from your list? See pages.