Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

June 2011 Minutes

Red Cedar Zen Board of Directors             Meeting - June 1, 2011

Board Minutes                                                                                   

PRESENT: Jeff, Talus, Tim, Joan, Edie


 encouraging words

full value contract

We commit:

  • to maintaining physical, psychological, and emotional safety
  • to working together to foster both group and individual goals; giving the group what it needs and individuals what they need.
  • to speaking and listening fearlessly to one another and fully talking things through.

            review agenda and set time limits

Our Guest's Business (none)

 Old Business

1. Lease agreement.  Jeff and Tim met with Riaz to get clarity on the lease options.  They discussed several lease dollar amounts and time periods.  Riaz is open to terms of less than 5 years, with the right to increase the rent at term-end. He has agreed to a 2% increase per year rather than the current 3% increase.  He is also willing to pay for water and sewer.  The board will make its decision before September 2011, when the current contract expires.

The board continues to feel that our group has a good chance of increasing in numbers, which will provide more funding over time.  We think the plan for increased Saturday programming will broaden our outreach as well.

The next step on the lease is to meet with BIMS to explore their interest in signing on for another period of time and to discuss their financial contribution.  Jeff and Tim will meet as soon as possible with BIMS representatives so that we can keep this process moving forward. 

2. Volunteer Organization Chart.  The board reviewed the revised org chart and notes developed by Tim and Edie and approved this iteration with a few additions: 

            a. In order to reduce the number of tasks being done by Membership and Membership Support workgroup (chiefly Kate), phone and email messages will be moved to the Vice President's domain, and Joan will begin doing these tasks.   

            b. Working with Kate, Edie will invite various people to take on specific Membership tasks. Also under Welcome (Orientations), Edie will develop a way for orienters to follow up with the people they have oriented in order to encourage them to continue to come to meditation.

            c. Under the Building Workgroup, Toi has agreed to track and replenish building maintenance supplies (in addition to being shopper for sesshin meals); Talus will develop an inventory list for her.

            d. Under Finance, Talus will invite Valerie to take on the task of preparing and sending out receipts to donors (formerly under Membership).

            e. Under Zendo and Programs, Tim will talk with Karen M. about her needs as registrar and also with Jeff Krajewski about helping with registrar duties.

Tim will finalize the organization chart and have a large copy made that we can post on the office door.           

New Business

1. Building Use Scheduling.  Recent events raised some questions about the process and procedures for communicating and confirming event scheduling:

            a. It is important that requests for sangha events be responded to and confirmed by email and also put on the events calendar.  Talus will ask Alborz to be sure that these things happen in a timely manner.

            b. When an outside organization rents the hall and asks us to publicize the event, the board or supporting workgroup board member should be informed before publicity is sent out under our name, and the announcement should clearly indicate who is sponsoring the event, and, if appropriate, why RCZC is sending an email on their behalf.

            c. A paper calendar of current users and dates should be posted in our lobby so that members are aware of the presence of other groups.  Talus will talk with Alborz about providing this calendar.

            d. For the present, when a sangha member wishes to rent the hall for a special event, the member can have it for half the amount charged to a non-member renter.  Talus will inform Nancy that this will be the case for her event.

            e. The finance workgroup will review our policy regarding rentals, perhaps considering that prime time rates (evenings) might be higher than daytime rentals.  The finance workgroup will consider all aspects of rentals in the January 2012 budget process and present them to the board.

2. Reauthorization of housing allowance.  The board reauthorized the housing allowance for Tim for the rest of this calendar and fiscal year. (The $400/month stipend we currently provide Tim is declared to the IRS as a "parsonage" or "housing allowance" which exempts it from income tax for Tim.  An annual re-authorization will be assessed each year to determine whether our budget can carry this expense and protect Tim from any questions from the IRS should he be audited.) The finance workgroup will address this item again when preparing the 2012 budget.  Talus asked that we be mindful of our monthly income so that we know we have enough to continue paying the housing allowance.  (The allowance had been suspended earlier in 2010 when our income was low, and we don't want that to happen again.)

3. Tax Status. Talus reported on what the finance workgroup has done so far about a proposal applying for Federal tax status.  BIMS has said they will share the information they used when they filed recently.  The cost of applying will be about $1000, but that will be covered by the money we will receive from the remaining Dharma Hall budget (approx. $4000 to be divided among the original four Dharma Hall groups) when that organization is legally disbanded. Talus has asked Marti to do further research on the steps involved in applying for Federal tax exemption status.  Talus will report to us at the next board meeting.

4. Fund raising strategy.  Edie gave board members a brief description of a fund raising strategy for an annual fund, which would ask for donations for our ongoing support.  This request would be separate from our November membership drive and would be addressed to our wider constituency on our e-list, probably in March.  We would develop a letter describing our activities and growth and also update our brochure to send out to our far-flung friends as a way of keeping them in our fold. At some future point if we need to raise a large sum of money, we could develop a fund raising campaign appealing to these friends, who now would be up to speed on our activities and needs. Board members will review materials on an annual fund strategy and notes on how we might tell our story in an annual letter.  She asked the board to jot down their ideas to discuss at our July meeting.

5. Garden.  Interest continues in developing a back garden, drawing on Bob's design.  Recently donated cement bricks could be utilized. Tim will ask Alborz and Bob to develop a brief proposal for the board to consider at the July meeting.  If we decide to move ahead on this project, the thought is that we could establish a Garden Fund to which people might contribute in cash and in kind.

6. Board support for work groups.  We discussed how we can better support our volunteers and decided that board members should do the following:

  • Check in quarterly with volunteers in our respective workgroups to see how things are going
  • Personally invite new volunteers to do needed tasks and support them as needed in learning the tasks
  • Invite various workgroups to board meetings when board agenda pertains to their work
  • On Saturday workdays (upcoming in the Fall) encourage workgroups to accomplish much of their work together at the zendo so that people aren't just doing tasks in isolation

 7. Summer Potluck.  The summer informal potluck will be at Talus and Diane's home on Sunday, July 24. Details to follow.

 NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday, July 20, 5:00 pm


    Reports on action items from June meeting

  • lease - Jeff and Tim
  • discussion with BIMS - Jeff and Tim
  • tax status - Talus and Marti
  • organization update and volunteer roles - Tim and Edie
  • review of building scheduling procedures - Talus
  • fund raising ideas for "telling our story" - all board members

 meeting reflection

on relationships, process, values and mission

of good value


upholding the contract

sangha on the horizon

Respectfully submitted, Edie Norton, Secretary

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