Board Meeting Minutes – Summary
August 13, 2015, 7:00-9:00 PM
Present: Kevin Geoffroy Board Chair; Jeff Stookey, Board Secretary; Linda Hoka Bebernes; Julie Burtis; Jyoshin Clay; Joe Shisei Niski, Trustee; Michael Dochin Rowell, Vice Chair.
Guest(s): Kakumyo Lowe-Charde.
Not present: Gyokuko Carlson, Abbot, Corporate President and Kanin; Kelly McCombs, Corporate Treasurer; Valerie Kaishin Kelly.
Required Quorum: Seven (7) out of ten (10) voting members were present. Quorum was met: a majority of the Directors in office constitutes a quorum.
The meeting began at 7pm, at 3155 NE 85th Avenue, Portland, OR 97220. Silence.
Member concerns: None
Minutes: The Board minutes for the Board Retreat July 26, 2015, were approved by email previous to this meeting.
Next meeting dates: August 27, September 17, October 8
Lotus Blooming Update
Overview of Current Efforts / Letters – Emails were sent to board members with a lists of names to contact after people receive letters about the matching fund opportunity. DRZC will present to board meetings at about twenty different Sanghas in the area to talk about this opportunity and request that they send out a mailing to their members.
Crowd funding – Work has begun on a video for the Indiegogo crowdfunding site. We have a videographer lined up and a script in process. Filming is planned for the last Sunday of this month. The crowdfunding donation opportunity will run for 60 days starting about September 15. We hope to raise about $50K through this and $150K through donations and pledges over the next three years. Once matched, the $200K will be available as needed.
Construction sequencing – A skilled volunteer is advising us on electrical work in the Sodo, so we will be able to save at least $15-18K–about 50% of the original bid. Next comes insulation, sheetrock, painting the exterior, and completing the engawa. Irrigation for the garden is about 90% done. A new shed has been installed on site, which will have multiple uses. Street work has started. Soon work will commence on water and solar installation. We have funding in hand to get us to Segaki (October 23-25, 2015).
Siskiyou Cohousing Land Lease update – Street improvements will take place between now and November, when all land lease commitments should be met and papers signed. Siskiyou Cohousing is waiting on this before pursuing financing. Banks want to know that the collateral offered by Dharma Rain is good. This looks much better if the building is completed or at least in construction with a clear path to finishing. The current outstanding issue is that Siskiyou Cohousing doesn’t have enough funds to pay for all the street improvements. They are looking at private loans from members to make up the difference.
LMI (low-to-moderate income) housing incentives are being investigated with the Portland Housing Commission for the cohousing, but this includes hoops to jump through and certain constraints to consider.
Review of construction / permits / street improvement work – Various obstacles require that we postpone building of the workshop in the near future. The milestones posted in the Sodo will be updated.
Board guidance was sought to take to the fee policy meeting on Tuesday 8/18. Suggestion: a larger difference in fees between a member and a nonmember to encourage non-members to become members.
Currently, $1K is set aside in the annual budget to be doled out by the Shuso, half to adults and half to children. Clear criteria and guidelines should be developed for the Shuso to follow in giving scholarships. An application form should be developed.
It was suggested that it is preferable to give scholarships outright rather than offering work trade which has presented difficulties in the past.
Frog Song update
The school’s financial documents were provided. Ten children are enrolled, many part-time. The school is 1-1/2 students short of “break even” with two applications pending. They will begin setting up the classroom August 15 and school will start on September 8.
We need to provide clarification to parents who are getting confused between Dharma School and Frog Song Preschool. We are working on getting the preschool teachers’ contracts in place.
A report was distributed showing the current fiscal year up to August 7, which the board reviewed and found nothing unexpected. We have ended our relationship with Key Bank. Our new relationship with Albina Community Bank is great–they would like to be invited to the new Sodo opening. Our property tax exemption was approved for this next year.
Need for a Membership Director
This is a volunteer position requiring about 2 hours a week. It requires a person with skills talking to people, using spread sheets and Donor Perfect records, taking care of our membership and making them feel welcome, interfacing with office staff to make sure things are getting done, contacting new members, reminding existing members to renew their membership, etc. We need someone who is familiar with the Sangha and might take this on as Dharma practice.
We are also exploring the creation of a member directory.
Garden Party Fundraiser Update/Results
We cleared around $24,000. About 100 people attended, similar to earlier fundraisers at the Kennedy School. Likes and dislikes about the event were solicited for putting together information that can be used to plan for future fundraisers. Board members indicated they liked the food, music, canopy, and location on property. The board determined that we should send personal thank you cards to those who donated.
Updates on Board Retreat action items
- The succession list is being updated and notarized.
- Formal work contracts are being put in place for Frog Song teachers.
Report from Intercouncil
- Work may be in process on a membership directory to be coordinated with the office manager.
- Reviewing the Prison Program oversight, in process.
- YAP program is proceeding.
- Policies for fee reduction are under discussion. Logistics for use of the Sodo & Uji will be rescheduled as needed during street improvements, Sodo construction completion, and Frog Song use of the Uji. Be flexible.
- Emergency Preparedness Committee Annual Report postponed until the next Board meeting.
Additional Agenda Items
Preparation for the fall board elections needs to be started.
The board will consider music/meditation events open to the public on Saturday evenings, to attract more young people.
Restorative circles (RC) for examining conflicts. We discussed offering a workshop, but deferred in favor of letting an RC system develop in the Householder Refuge (already in process) and then take advantage of that system as needed in DRZC rather than institutionalizing it.
The board plans to start having meetings on the property as soon as it makes sense.
Month-long sit when Sodo is complete – A committee is working on this and the Dharma Council is being asked for input.
Abbot review – Now that we have a formal Abbot review process/plan, we agreed to move forward with a review while the current Abbot is still in office
The meeting was adjourned at 9 PM.
DRZC Board Secretary
with assistance from Linda Hoka Bebernes