June 21, 2016 Board Meeting
Attendees: Bruce Adams, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, William Nance, Dianne Smith and Clemmie Solomon Excused: Lorna Forde, William Kaschak and Nan Qiao Absent: Ram Konda Staff: Cynthia Morris Guests: Sabrina Hsu (for Nan Qiao), Darwin Romero and Roman Santillan
Welcome/Minutes The meeting was called to order by Bill Nance at 6:45 pm and introductions were made by those present. Minutes from the March meeting were reviewed, approved with corrections and will be posted on the website.
Nominating Committee Nominating committee chair Mumin Barre proposed a slate of new officers: Chairman, Bill Nance; Vice-Chair, Dianne Smith and Secretary, Tracey-Alexis Dixon. The position of treasurer remains open and the committee will continue to explore prospective candidates. The slate was approved unanimously.
The board welcomed Darwin Romero and Roman Santillan who were nominated to join the board by the Morazán committee.
Mumin shared that there are several candidates for board membership and their bios/resumes will be distributed as soon as possible for consideration for voting the next board meeting.
Annual Meeting The annual Sister Cities meeting was held at the Silver Spring Civic Building Thursday 24 March. The event was well attended with approximately 105 guests, including County Executive Ike Leggett and Mari Carmen Aponte, former United States Ambassador to El Salvador.
County Executive FY17 Grant Application Cynthia reported that the application was approved and the required contract signed by Bill Nance. Bill pointed out to the board that this grant remains the primary funding for Sister Cities, and that additional sources must be identified. He reminded the board to contribute their annual gift as soon as possible with a minimum donation of $100 and more if possible. Cynthia will follow up with reminder e-mail and submission instructions.
Councilmember Leventhal's request for Gifts and Expenditure ReportResponding to a request from Councilmember George Leventhal, Bruce sent a report listing all major donors ($250 or more) to Sister Cities. He explained that the request came as a result of Mr. Leventhal's
Montgomery Sister Cities Board Meeting
concern about county contributions to events, particularly to the Montgomery County Arts Ball and County Executive's Hispanic Gala. Councilmember Leventhal also requested financial information regarding Montgomery sister Cities and the World of Montgomery Festival. Bruce suggested the board consider how financial information should be formatted and presented for the website. Cynthia will explore formatting and content and make suggestions.
Board Goals for FY16 and 17 The priority for the board is identifying sustainable income streams which may include individual and corporate sponsorships. The idea of generating a fundraising plan was suggested. Ideas such as coordinating an international fair partnering with existing events was also mentioned, though it was pointed out that previous attempts in that area hadn't been successful.
The board needs to focus more and increase engagement in the work of the committees and their projects. The upcoming delegation trip to Gondar is a perfect opportunity to gather support for proposed projects. Projects currently being considered by the committee include creating a park near the University, painting the maternity ward of a local hospital or assisting in outreach efforts by FootWork, a US based non-profit that works to alleviate the foot disease Podoconosis, common in Ethiopia.
Clemmie reminded the group of the University's great need for text books, though he realizes transportation presents a challenge. Tracey explained that the current plan was for members of the delegation traveling to pack as many books as possible into one of two bags allowed for travel. Sabrina informed the group of a registry through the Library of Congress to receive surplus books as well as a possible opportunity to transport materials under the guidelines of the Denton Amendment. She will send a link to Cynthia to register Sister Cities for the program.
Bruce strongly suggested the board focus on helping the Gondar committee make their service project successful.
Committee Reports Gondar: The plans for the September trip are on track though deposits are coming in slowly. Montgomery College is sponsoring seven faculty members, and at least eight travelers from Kasey Kaseman's faith group are expected to participate. The Gondar committee anticipates an additional 13 reservations from the Sister Cities committee or their associates. The committee is considering fundraising activities to support service projects during the trip where they will do more out reach for participants.
Morazán: The committee is planning for their annual Fiesta to raise funds for scholarships for students in Morazán. The event will take place Friday 4 November at the Silver Spring Civic Building.
Hyderabad: Diane Vu met with Sanjay Rai, Vice President of Academic Affairs for Montgomery College and others regarding a County Executive led delegation trip in 2017. More details will follow.
Montgomery Sister Cities Board Meeting
Xi'an: Diane and Bruce hosted the foreign affairs chief from Xi'an in April and the new mayor of the city is planning a visit to Montgomery County in August. Sabrina shared the committee is excited about the County Executive's planned trip in 2017. She also told the group about the success of the annual Tai Chi event attended by 300 people in Cabin John Regional Park.
The committee is currently focused on the annual summer camp program for middle school students, replacing the effort with Winston Churchill High School because of logistics. Students who can pay for their travel to the city will receive room and board during their stay as they study the language, history and culture of Xi'an. The committee also sponsors up to nine Ph.D. or Masters candidates who can cover their travel as room and board will be covered for the duration of their stay as well.
Korean Sister City Status Two RFPs have been submitted and Bill Nance and Dianne Smith volunteered to join Bruce, Diane and Cynthia in the review process in early July. A report will be made to the board at the next meeting.
Board/Committee Assignments Darwin Roman agreed to serve as chair of the finance committee and Mumin Barre agreed to continue chairing the nominating/membership committee. Bill suggested addition of a fundraising committee comprised of board members and a representative from each of the Sister City committees. He will give that more thought for further discussion at the next meeting.
2016 Meeting Calendar Monday 25 July 6:30 at Office of Community Partnerships Thursday 20 October at Office of Community Partnerships
Director's Insurance We have received two proposals from a local broker referred by former board member Tom Raffa. Dianne Smith, Darwin Romero and Roman Santillan will review and make recommendation.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:20pm.
Cynthia Morris, Senior Fellow