Gaden Relief Projects

Helping Tibetans and Mongolians preserve their unique cultures.


GRP Board Meeting
By Teleconference
October 20, 2006

Present: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche, Evan Zaleschuk, Matthew Richards, Conrad Richter (Chair)


Charity Application and Agency Agreements

1. Update on Application

Conrad called the Charities Directorate because he did not hear back from Tim Flood about the extension which we requested by letter on October 1. It turns out that Mr. Flood is on leave and our file has been turned over to a new officer, Hilda Saunders. Conrad left a voice mail message in her voice mail box explaining that we had requested an extension to tomorrow's deadline as was set by Mr. Flood in his July 21 letter. Conrad also faxed a letter to Ms. Saunders, along with a copy of the original letter requesting the extension.

2. Agency Agreements and Organizational Changes Required

In trying to figure out a new structure for our projects it is becoming clear that Gaden Relief Projects will have to make some major changes in order to meet the requirements of the Charities Directorate (of the CRA) for charities with overseas operations. Tim Flood's letter in July made it clear that we must demonstrate control of the way funds are used. Because we mostly deliver aid in the form of funds, the Charities Directorate is looking for much greater control than if we were delivering aid in other ways such as sending articles such as drugs or books or sending paid staff to work in the project areas. Anything can happen to money if it is not controlled properly so the government correspondingly requires us to demonstrate more control. The new agency agreements will have to show to the government that we have that control of funds and how they are used.

In the context of tightening up our operations the board discussed the shedding of some projects over which it may be too difficult to demonstrate control to the government's satisfaction. We discussed Amarbayasgalant Monastery, Zuru Monastery, the nunneries of Zangskar, and the Gaywa Project as possible projects to shed. The Board previously agreed to strengthen control of GRP's other projects in Tibet by asking the Jamseng Hospital committee to take responsibility for administering aid to Gaden Relief's Tashi Lhapug, Dechen Nunnery, and Jamseng Health Clinic projects. The Jamseng Hospital committee will be asked to accept new member representatives from Dechen Nunnery and Tashi Lhapug, and GRP will exert greater control of the bank account in Zadoh.

Because the Gaywa Project's activities are not in Gaden Relief's complete control, the Board decided that the project would be too difficult to fit within the government's criteria for control, and it was decided to shed the project. The Board agreed to assist Gaywa in getting set up as a separate organization and in applying for charitable status. The date for ending official support is set to coincide with the Tibetan New Year, February 19, 2006. After that date Gaden Relief will no longer accept donations on behalf of Gaywa. Conrad is to draft a letter to Jennifer and Didi to advise them about the decision.

The Board confirmed its decision to end its support of Zuru Monastery. The termination will be February 19, 2007, to coincide with the Tibetan new year. A letter to this effect will be drafted by Conrad and translated by Rinpoche and sent to the abbot. Zuru Monastery is thriving and is well supported by nearby residents and our support is no longer needed.

Although there had been previous discussion about ending Gaden Relief's support for Amarbayasgalant Monastery because that moanstery is getting funding from other foreign charities, Rinpoche reported that he had a good discussion in September with the new abbot and Rinpoche believes that there is still a need for support. The abbot requested that Gaden Relief support the construction of a new kitchen for the monastery. Rinpoche advised the abbot to provide us with a formal request for funding showing details of the costs and the contruction plans.

Gaden Relief will continue to support the Delgeruun Choir project. This project has been receiving most of our attention in Mongolia over the past two years and has been going very well. Communication is excellent and getting a new agency agreement will not be a problem.

The Zangskar project was discussed but no decision to terminate or to continue can be made at this time. Kim Gutschow who is running the project is in India since June. Given that the ten Zangskar nunneries are very isolated it will be difficult to demonstrate control to the government's satisfaction. However, before Kim left for India she was advised that control needs to be strengthened and she agreed to investigate on the options available and report back. Rinpoche expressed an interest in visiting the nunneries in 2007, and Conrad is to write to Kim about that and about her findings about the restructuring options.

Evan, Matthew and Rinpoche are to meet in Vancouver to go over the details for restructuring the Jamseng committee and fill the gaps for the drafting of the new agency agreement that will cover the Jamseng Health Clinic, Dechen Nunnery and Tashi Lhapug Monastery.

Conrad is to prepare a draft agency agreement and send it to Ms. Saunders for review. Once we have a draft acceptable to the government, Rinpoche is to arrange for agreements to be signed and returned to us. Conrad will forward the signed agreements to the government. All of this should be done as soon as possible.

[Minutes prepared by Conrad Richter]