March 2021 Board Meeting Highlights
From John Jennings, Board President
Note: These are a summary of the meeting. A more detailed and official set of Minutes will be posted to the KCC website soon after the April Board meeting.
We had 4 of the 5 current Board members in attendance as well as 4 Board candidates and Linda Grove and 4 sangha members as guests.
The first order of business was approval of the February Minutes followed by some quick updates including the fact that all staff (Resident Lama, Executive Director, Bookkeeper, and 2 SCOL staff) now have signed contracts with a 3% cost of living increase.
The Executive Director report was presented by Linda G covering the following:
- The Dharma Diggers (Urban Center grounds crew) are self-sustaining, led by Amy Vance
- The Sattva Social Club is setting up movies, sacred dance, hiking trips and more. The first film will be the 1964 “The Message of the Tibetans”.
- The Dharma Book Shop is still in the process of reorganizing. Nicole Sears is the book purchaser, working with Lama Eric.
- We have a new volunteer, Lotus Romey, to help Jennifer Chang with the Library.
- The Sangha Directory group hopes to have the new directory out in April.
- Working with volunteers to get ready for full re-opening of both the Urban Center and SCOL.
INSURANCE: To meet safety requirements, background checks on staff and Board members have begun.
WEBSITE: An update is coming this month. There should be no interruption in service.
Process for Reopening Facilities
At the February Board meeting, it was decided that the Executive Director and Resident Lama should be the deciders on when and how to reopen, using guidance from the Reopening Plan already prepared and updating it with new state and county guidance.
Opening up will not occur until after Lama Eric is fully vaccinated. (Maybe he’ll get J&J like me—one and done). Priority is to open for Sunday Pujas. There is interest in a cloister at SCOL opening to a full group of vaccinated retreatants but it will depend on the current State of WA requirements and when staff get vaccinated. At the Urban Center we will have the tent up in the near future where people can gather sooner.
The Board requested updating our Reopening Plan. How shall we communicate with the Sangha? There is a need soon for a near term communication on where we are now in the process.
Additional volunteers are needed for the Benevolence Fund committee. Two of the Board candidates (Linda Logan and Joe Bertagnolli) will join founding members Peter Frothingham and Cynthia Irving.
Cliff Lenton has nearly completed the report on his research and recommendations on Roles and Responsibilities across the organization. A special preliminary review session with the Board, Lama Eric and Linda Grove will occur in early April. A process for broader review will also be discussed.
2021 Board Goals
The Board sets goals for what it wants to accomplish for the year. There are also principles of good governance and activities that apply each year that are not included in these. A draft set of goals was reviewed, revised and approved. They are:
- Create a comprehensive ethical conduct policy. Develop procedures to implement and monitor ethical conduct. Develop and execute a training plan on our ethics policy. Deliver one training.
- Support the Resident Lama to develop an inclusivity statement for KCC. Participate in and ensure the development of an inclusivity action plan.
- Identify, recruit and on-board at least six new Board members.
- Support the transition back to in-person operations while maintaining remote accessibility
- Revamp our development function, form a new expanded development team.
- Develop and begin to implement a facilities accessibility needs inventory and accessibility plan for the Portland Center and SCOL.
- Ensure creation of a new strategic plan.
Chehale from SCOL reported that great progress has been made on the WA Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forest management and fire mitigation project. There have been two productive burns in the past few weeks, with a 3rd one scheduled for mid-March. They are also getting a lot of wood moved out of the forest and taken down to the shed near the creek-side house. February retreat bookings were sparse due to the adverse weather. However, March filled up nicely, with a total of 46 retreat person-days (roughly 50%), and April already has 17 booked. Because the water tested positive for total coliform bacteria, which is common this time of year after heavy rains, bottled water is provided for the retreatants and staff until monthly tests are negative.
Next Steps on Safety and Ethical Polices and Training
Linda B and Mary Woods are working to get a safety policy manual in place specifically for the Children’s program per Church Universal Insurance company requirements using their template. They are aiming for some time after April. KCC will need to form an on-going safety committee. We have hired the Trusted Employees firm to do background checks on all key personnel and Board. After Children’s Program requirements are in place, the focus will be on the broader “ethical” policy based on research with the other Buddhist sanghas and non-profit organization materials.
A condensed 2021 Budget is posted on the website.
Linda Besant reported that income for the General Fund is coming in higher than expected so far this year, running a little over on pledged donations and somewhat lower with one-time contributions. Expenses are about $7,000 under projections so far. The net result in that we are doing well (in the black) with our operating reserve now at about five months.
We also have Board designated funds for Maintenance/Renovation, and Capital Projects; and two restricted funds—for the Shrine Buddha Statue, and the Emeritus Lama Fund (ELF). The ELF current balance plus future committed pledges has enough to cover monthly outlays through April of 2022.
PC Meeting Report
Lama Eric asked the current PC members to stay on until he announces the new PC structure and membership. The Board asked the Program Council a number of months ago to help prepare a statement on inclusivity for KCC, one that is based in the spiritual values of our tradition, such as Buddha nature, loving kindness, and compassion. The Statement is still being developed by Lama Eric as a draft for review. The intent is to also operationalize it across all things the Board and organization does. Rosemarie volunteered to be on the team for this.
2021 Development Priorities
Phil Wallin, our development director, went over the tasks and priorities for fundraising this year:
1) Revisit how we thank donors
2) Encourage people to become Sustaining Members
3) Encourage gifts to the Maintenance and Renovation Fund
4) Decisions about timing of Bloom/Zoom-ing Lotus
6) Emeritus Lama Fund
7) 108 Friends of SCOL
8) Year-end Lama Letter
Board Recruiting update
Four excellent candidates were identified and interviews were held with each over the past few weeks. The Board discussed and approved new Board members at the Executive Session following this meeting. The Onboarding process and Orientation Manual are nearly ready to provide to new Board members and all current Board members.
Executive Session for Board Member Selection
After consideration of each candidate and their experience, interests and other input from interviews, the Board approved all four as new Board members starting immediately. We welcome Joe Bertagnolli, Ryan Fitz, Linda Logan and Rosemarie Sweet. They will be given the orientation manual and assigned a mentor according to their area of interest. A special orientation session will be held before the April Board meeting.