Tibetans and Mongolians preserve their unique cultures.
General Meeting and Board Meeting
April 11, 2008
Present: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche, Evan Zaleschuk, Matthew Richards,
Conrad Richter (Chair)
Preliminary Remarks – Gaden Relief AGM Housekeeping Issues
Officially and legally, the Gaden Relief Projects Board has to
organize a yearly vote to fill its positions. All four members
of the Board agreed to stand in again and hence, by acclamation,
serve again as members of the board.
In light of these proceedings this teleconference call counts
as the first Board meeting of this year.
Conrad asks whether any other of our members or supporters would
like to join the Board, like John Huizinga or Tina Shapiro who
does a lot of work on our projects in Tibet and Mongolia and who
puts out our newsletter, respectively. However, it was decided
that in order to keep our Board streamlined and easy to manage,
that it is best to keep it the way it is.
On this call, the Board formally accepted the Financial Statements
from the years 2006-2007.
On the call, the Board also decided its executive functions:
Matthew agreed to become its Secretary, responsible in particular
for setting up its meeting and recording the minutes and Evan
agreed to be its President.
The question arose as to whether a membership with Gaden Relief
could or should entail the ability to vote on issues, projects
and directions. Offering this option would be a benefit as it
could bring more interest and participation to the organization.
Whether, the Board decided against adopting this idea as it would
have to entail a level of organization, legality and formality
that Gaden Relief does not possess and would comprise the organization’s
small, informal, “grass-roots” structure that allows
it run for almost nothing yet be very efficient, strategic and
On this call, for the AGM, the Board formally accepted the formal
agreements that constitute our various projects in Zangskar, Tibet
Zangskar Nuns Project
The Zangskar project has been put together as an agreement for
five years, after which it may be reviewed and renewed. The agreement
can be refined and improved as we see it, as it goes along.
Kim Gutschow, acting on behalf of the old Gaden Relief Projects
(branch of Gaden Choling), distributed money we raised to all
10 nunneries that are in our agreement, the largest of which,
Kacho Choling, has 24 nuns. Kim has given a lengthy report on
how the money, which was raised by the “old” Gaden
Relief organization, was used for these nunneries.
In the future, an exhaustive report, with all the details, will
have to be provided for this project – in particular, the
agreement must stipulate a particular project or aim to which
the funding is directed and this must in turn be fulfilled to
meet the conditions of the “contract” so to speak.
The money donated to the nunneries, this time, went towards
the purchase of food, stoves, teachings and a greenhouse.
As a Board, we agree that future donations must go to the nunnery
that needs them the most or one that gets no support from any
other charity or group. Kim is experienced in making such decisions
for this Project.
This summer, 2008, Rinpoche and John H. are to visit Ladakh
and the nunneries. Rinpoche is leaving end of July and will then
go to Mongolia in September.
Cynthia Hunt is bringing to Ladakh, 40 lanterns, each worth
$40. ($2000. total). Gaden Relief will raise the money for this.
Cynthia will decide, once there, which nunnery needs the lanterns
the most. Cynthia is familiar with this area as she works there
often. The lanterns are made locally in Ley. They are solar-powered.
Cynthia wants John to train the nuns in the use of solar panels.
Rinpoche will visit the nunneries we sponsor to see what they
need and to see whether the nuns can share the total of the lanterns.
On this call the question of fundraising for the Zangskar Nunnery
Project came up. We have no slides to put on a slide show for
example. It was decided that this trip constituted more of a “scouting”
trip to see what was needed and how to proceed, thereupon we can
look at the issue of fundraising.
There is a couple living in Canmore, Alberta, that makes solar
panels and they are going to this area to do charity work. John,
however, believes it makes the best sense, pragmatically, to buy
the panel, the tools and their warranties in India.
John’s wife is to collect eyeglasses, mittens, hats and
vitamins for the trip in order to help with the set-up of a medical
There was talk of Cynthia getting her money through a North
American NGO and that we pay her for the equipment used and plane
tickets. However, it was felt and agree that, in our first year
of operation as a new organization, under Canadian government
scrutiny, that we can’t take any chance of indulging in
any ambiguity with groups or people we don’t know, lest
it look suspicious or call for an audit.
Rinpoche will visit Mongolia in Sept. 2008.
He is going to look into the Delgeruun Choira Gobi Temple Projects
to see what is needed next. The Board can always wire him money
to the bank in Ulan Bator if he needs it.
Right now it looks as if the Gobi temple is being well funded
by Korean patrons who are raising money to build a four-storey
temple and plant a number of new trees in the surrounding grounds.
On the whole, in regards to the future aims of GRP Mongolia
Project, the Board will wait for more information from Rinpoche
when he returns.
During this teleconference, due to the uncertainty and difficult
political situation presently taking place in Tibet, The Board
formally decided to postpone any trip to Zadoh till 2009. Our
newsletter will inform our members of this fact but in a way that
is diplomatic and not overtly political. It will also state that
their donations will be held in trust until the following yearly
Gaden Relief’s doctor friend with Rogpa organization,
Isaac, could take and distribute our money to Tashi Lapug monastery
and Jamseng Health Care Clinic. This could prove to be a long-term
strategy to getting our donations to Tibet if the political unrest
there continues. Also, Rinpoche could get his brother to set up
a Gaden Relief bank account in Yushu to which we could wire money
for our projects.
There was discussion about our involvement with Bodhi organization,
which provides medical care, whether their organization has a
political stance in regards to the recent events in Tibet and
whether this could effect or jeopardize Gaden relief in any way.
The Board decided to quickly and formally look into their guidelines
just to make sure.
[Minutes prepared by Matthew Richards]