Gaden Relief Projects

Helping Tibetans preserve their unique culture.


Teleconference Meeting on Funds Handling, Website Integration and Future Reorganization of Gaden Relief

November 27, 2002

Attending: Zasep Rinpoche, Conrad Richter (Gaden Relief), Rob Standfield (Gaden Choling), Sharon Gretzinger (Gaden for the West), Evan Zaleschuk (Zadoh Committee), Bridget MacKenzie (Zuru Ling)

1. Funds Handling

a) Zuru Ling will not issue tax receipts for Gaden Relief-related donations. All foreign-aid donations will be put through Gaden Relief's books and tax receipts will be issued by Gaden Relief for these donations.

b) This principle of putting foreign-aid money through Gaden Relief's books should be extended to other centres that may be issuing tax receipts for foreign-aid donations. The tax receipt aspect only applies to Rinpoche's Canadian-based organizations. There was no discussion on how this guideline should be communicated to the other centres. This was not brought up; does anyone have any suggestions how this should be communicated to Rinpoche's Canadian centres? Obviously, Rinpoche could speak to the presidents of Tashi Choling, Potala, etc. but do we always have to put the burden on Rinpoche for things such as these? Could Gaden for the West do it? Should Conrad just do it? [Sharon, Rob and Bridget suggested later that Conrad should write the letter and Sharon will distribute it with a covering letter to the centres.]

c) Minor cash donations collected by each centre need not religiously be put through Gaden Relief if no tax receipts are issued and the money does not go through the centre's books. It may be better to do so in the eyes of the government, but for these smaller sums, discretion is given to each centre whether to send the money to GRP or to give Rinpoche the money directly. What is a "smaller sum"? It was not decided. How about $100 or less? That is, if the cash donations for Zadoh or Gaden Relief for which the donors do not expect a tax receipt is $100 or less, then that money could be given to Rinpoche directly.

d) Although foreign donors from Australia and others have been giving Rinpoche money for Zadoh and GR projects directly, it may be better for Rinpoche and for the donors to put the money through Gaden Relief. Rinpoche has been turning these donations over to Gaden Relief anyway, and they have been recorded and in some cases receipted with Canadian tax receipts. This policy will continue.

e) The Zadoh account, which was opened in 2000 but was not in Gaden Relief's control until September 2001, will continue to be used by the Vancouver Zadoh committee for donations it collects and issues tax receipts for.

f) Major disbursements such as issuing cheques to Rinpoche to Tibet will be formally approved by Gaden Choling's board as long as Gaden Relief remains a branch of Gaden Choling. Evan has undertaken to provide numbers and dates to Conrad. Conrad has to do a better job of passing on the same to Rob!

g) All aid will continue to be supplied under the contract system that Conrad has set up. That includes moneys disbursed from the Zadoh account.

2. Website Integration

a) Evan has undertaken to make changes to the Jamseng website to identify the connection to Gaden Relief. The donation page on the Jamseng site was mentioned but not discussed fully: perhaps it makes sense to put a special Jamseng donation page on the Gaden Relief server -- one that continues the design elements of the Jamseng site -- and have the Jamseng site link to that donation page directly. Hosting the donation page on the Gaden Relief server makes sense because the server can provide 128 bit SSL encryption for secure sessions while donors are supplying sensitive personal information. The rest of the Jamseng site can continue to reside on the server where it is now.

b) Of the three logos in existence for Gaden Relief, the one of the yak with a red cross will become the main identifying logo. There are two others -- an "umbrella" design for used for the letterhead and the little girl (according to Bridget, is actually a boy) used on both the Gaden Relief and Jamseng websites -- will no longer be used as logos.

c) To help connect the websites of Rinpoche's other organizations such as the centres and Gaden for the West, the use of an image suggested by Didi is to be explored. This image is [I am not clear on this] of the form of a seal that was often used in Tibet, and this one was associated with Rinpoche's lineage or family. Rinpoche is to supply a copy of this image. Sharon to follow up and make it available to Gaden Relief and the centres?

3. Future Reorganization

a) Rinpoche feels it is a good idea to separate the international foreign aid projects from the international religious projects. It was felt by all that a clearer separation of these two projects could help to increase the comfort of GRP donors.

b) In order to the carry out the foreign aid activities for all of Rinpoche's centres and organizations it is best if Gaden Relief be constituted as a separate organization with its own charitable status. Now it is a branch of Gaden Choling and uses GC's tax status in order to issue tax receipts. GC has the responsibility for reporting Gaden Relief's activities to the government, and for making sure that Gaden Relief's activities are under its control and are legal. The fact is, the GC president knows little about foreign aid policies and procedures, GRP records are kept off site with the account books at the program co-ordinators office and there is no GRP representative attending board meetings. These things considered, it would be pretty hard to convince even the least observant auditor that GC actually administers GRP. It simply doesn't. One audit under the current administration could mean the termination of GRP.

c) Rob, Dawn and Conrad will explore options for separating Gaden Relief from Gaden Choling, and will begin the process of setting up the new organization and applying for charitable status. Two options were identified: to apply for an interim charitable status as a branch of Gaden Choling (which can be issued quickly) which can later become a separate organization, or go for the separate organization now. Rob suggested that instead of duplicating databases and records and keeping them at two sites thereby increasing the chances of administrative errors, why not just leave things as they are and register GRP with separate divisional status. This is easier for all parties, creates clearer paper trails and, I feel, would be a step that would ensure the longevity GRP.

4. Other Business

a) Rinpoche will call Nonita Yap today or tomorrow to discuss future directions in the areas of public health and the environment and possible CIDA funding for that. Rinpoche and Conrad are to meet with Nonita in May of 2003 to solidify the connection and to discuss plans for the 2003 expedition to Zadoh.

b) Dentist Christina Wong will not be able to join the 2003 expedition, but another dentist, Ken Stones of Whiterock, B.C., is "95% certain" of going. The understanding is that he will donate the cost of the airfare. He is to talk to Candace and Robbie before he makes a final decision to join.

c) No progress has been made on acquiring a copy of the book, "Where There is No Doctor" in Tibetan. Email messages to Dharamsala have gone unanswered. New attempts to contact Dharamsala by mail and email will be made by Sharon (or Evan?) and Conrad. If anyone from the sangha is going to Dharamsala they should be asked to hunt down a copy. This book could be used by the doctors at Jamseng, and it can be used as a source of material for fact sheets that can be handed out to patients by the doctors.