May 19, 2015 Board Meeting
Attendees: Bruce Adams, Mumin Barre, Theresa Cameron, Nefali Granados, William Kaschak, Ram Konda, Nan Qiao, Thomas Raffa and Dianne Smith Staff: Cynthia Morris Excused: Lorna Forde, Bill Nance and Carol Rhees
WELCOME/MINUTES The meeting was called to order by Chair Theresa Cameron at 6:40 with brief introductions by each board member. Minutes from the April 2015 meeting were reviewed and approved unanimously (Smith/Kaschak).
FINANCE REPORT The Year To Date (January-April 2015) Profit & Loss statement and balance sheet were reviewed with no change from the April meeting, with total assets $12,315.40. Bruce explained that the financial arrangements with the artist for the paintings commissioned for Sister Cities are complete on a break-even basis and final transactions will be reflected in the May statements. He also explained that the deficit shown on the balance sheet for the Ethiopian committee will hopefully be eradicated by their planned July fundraiser.
OLD BUSINESS County Executive FY14 Grant There is a surplus totaling about $4,800 from the FY14 County Executive grant. After some discussion, it was decided that the funds will be used to cover the annual dues to International Sister Cities ($2,250) and the quarterly fee for the Greenberg Accounting Firm ($750). At Cynthia's suggestion, the balance will be used to produce outreach materials (specifically, rack cards) for Sister Cities and each of the city committees. We were reminded that there had been some discussion about upgrading the website, but it was agreed that this could be addressed with funds in the FY16 grant.
El Salvador 2015 Trip The trip to Morazán led by County Executive Ike Leggett will take place 7-11 November, and all board members are welcome to join. Nestor Alvarenga has made great progress towards finalizing the package at less than $2,000, and the target number of participants is 40. County Council president George Levanthal is leading an effort to identify sources of contributions of medical supplies. Bruce has met with Evelyn Gonzalez and other volunteer committee members to finalize specs and logistics of contributions of county surplus computers. Tom Raffa may have 20 computers, and will make adjustments to meet provided specs. Bruce will follow up once the specs are provided.
Bruce is hoping to have a "ribbon cutting" at one of the schools receiving the computers. Nestor is preparing a one pager for the website and will send it to those who have attended previous events.
NEW BUSINESS Board responsibilities/committee structure and assignments Theresa and Cynthia met to discuss board responsibilities and Cynthia is continuing to have conversations with board members. At Theresa's suggestion, the executive committee will hold follow up discussions. Tom, Bill Kaschak and Theresa all offered to provide committee templates to facilitate the process. Findings and suggestions will be presented at the next board meeting.
Mumin Barre reminded the board that Solomon Teklai informed him that his current schedule makes it impossible for him to continue to serve, and he will get together with Daniel Koroma to work with the committee to identify a replacement.
Bruce advised the board of a trip to Gondar, Ethiopia tentatively scheduled for January, 2016. The trip will be led by the Ethiopian Sister City Committee and faith leaders led by Mansfield Kaseman, Interfaith Community Liaison. The trip is scheduled to coincide with major festivals held in January as well as a scheduled trip of Montgomery College students. While Bruce has had some discussion with Mr. Leggett about leading the delegation, his schedule presents some challenges that must be resolved before a final decision is made about his participation.
The Ethiopian Committee is planning a fundraising event 5 July and hopes to raise about $4,000 which will erase their deficit with some residual.
Sean Thomas Gilmour presented his research on "Educational Best Practices and Strategic Planning" focusing on international educational exchange programs, with emphasis on best practices and programs. He explained the nuances that distinguish exchanges from delegation trips (students requiring more stringent focus on host placements, etc.) and a lengthy discussion continued from there. As part of the discussion, the board was reminded of the expressed interest in establishing a Korean sister city, though there is consensus that 2017 would be better timing for such an addition. Board members were encouraged to read Mr. Gilmour's impressive work, and assured him that his work will serve as a valuable resource for future program planning.
Theresa will advise the board of the next meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 (Kaschak/Smith) Respectfully submitted, Cynthia Morris Senior Fellow