May 2022: Annual Meeting Elects Board Members, Revises Bylaws, Discusses Priorities

At the May annual meeting, HumanistsMN members elected new board members, revised our bylaws, heard reports about programming and finances, and met in small groups to discuss HMN priorities.

Board Election. Members elected two new HMN Board members, Abigail Jackson and Stephanie Schwinn. They reelected Seth Engman to a two-year term and David Guell to a one-year term. Find out more about the Board here.

Bylaws. Members agreed to amend the HMN bylaws as follows:

  • Add the following mission statement: “Humanists of Minnesota is a secular community that promotes ethical living, widespread human flourishing, and a healthy planet through its commitment to science, reason, compassion, and creativity.”
  • Restate the organization’s purposes.
  • Add additional responsibilities to the Treasurer and Secretary roles.
  • Remove the one-year membership requirement for Board candidates and give current Board members an opportunity to review and comment on proposed nominees.

You can find details of the proposal here. Compare with the old bylaws.

Program Updates. Ellie Haylund and Suzanne Perry discussed recent marketing efforts, including billboards, social media campaigns, and a redesigned website. Suzanne discussed the May 5 gathering at the State Capitol to observe the National Day of Reason. Christine Retkwa described Humanists in Action community service activities (including  free bikes for kids, highway cleanup, and Food Group packing) and advocacy efforts (including legislative alerts, a climate-action postcard campaign, and a contingent at the Reproductive Freedom march). Audrey Kingstrom discussed highlights of last year’s programs and plans for future programs.

Finance. John Walker presented reports on HMN finances for fiscal year 2021-22. One showed income for the year at $21,172 and expenses at $21,515, for a small deficit of $343. The other showed that on May 31, HMN had assets of $53,359, most in a checking account.

Member Input. Attendees were asked to fill out a survey about HMN spending and programming.  Thirty-five people competed the questionnaires, with results as follows.

Spending. People were most supportive of using financial resources for programming/conferences, followed by marketing. Next up were scholarships, grants to community-service organizations, and paid staff. Several people volunteered that we should pay a social media coordinator or offer stipends to interns. 

Advocacy. Separation of church and state was the top issue mentioned, followed by abortion/reproductive rights, voting rights/democracy, medical aid in dying, and environment/climate change.
Community Service. Highway and river cleanups got the most mentions, followed by the Food Group/food drives.
Programming. Most enjoyed:  D-Cubed, community gatherings, mindfulness, and speaker Andrew Seidel got multiple mentions. Recommended: Death Cafe, youth/family programming, and programs on financial independence, ethical investing, neuroscience, something musical. A plea to Audrey to revive the death and dying series.
Social Activities. Museums, biking, hikes, trivia, and outings to plays/music/comedy received multiple mentions. A few new ideas: Comedy Night at the Humanist Night Club, philosophy club, scifi book club, outings to sporting events, having or sponsoring a recreational sports team.
Note: if you have ideas about HMN programming or spending, please send them to

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