Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

Finance 2012-11-15

Red Cedar Finance Committee Meeting

15 NOVEMBER 2012

Present: Marti Bartlett, John Wiley, Talus Latona, Valerie Davenport

1. Dharma Hall Checking Account

Income and expenses in the checking account for the dharma hall are closer than they have been previously. Typical monthly income includes rent payments from BIMS and other groups, and a transfer of $1200 from the Red Cedar Zen Community checking account. Typical monthly expenses are the Lease payment to The Majestic and miscellaneous hall upkeep. Income and expense are nearly even. Increasing the monthly transfer from RCZC is under consideration. We will keep an eye on the account for a few more months before making that decision.

2. Bookkeeper Succession

Marti has been serving the community tremendously in this role for many years and it is getting to be about time for her to rotate out. She will continue as Bookkeeper until May while a new bookkeeper is identified and brought up to speed.

2A. Candidates

An agenda item for the annual meeting should be to advertise the opening for this as well as other volunteer positions. Should an internal volunteer not be located, the organization RSVP matches retired volunteers to groups such as ours. Another alternative would be to hire a bookkeeper.

The skills needed are attention to detail and proficiency with computers. Total unfamiliarity with the process could involve a substantial training requirement.

2B. Documentation

Edie has offered to help Marti with writing up the Bookkeeper job description including a task outline. Marti will work to complete the task outline by the end of December.

3. Rent and Lease Payments

The automatic lease payment to the Majestic was updated prior to the October check being cut to reflect our new monthly payment of $2200. This will be effective until October 2013 when the payment goes up another 3% by the terms of our lease. BIMS increased rent payment of $1000 was received as scheduled.

4. Annual Meeting

The date proposed by the board for the annual meeting of 5 January 2013 is good. At the meeting we will go over the numbers from 2012 and the budget for 2013.

5. 2013 Budget

The Finance Committee will meet again on 27 December 2012 to draft a budget for 2013. The intent is that this will be late enough for Marti to run end-of-the-year reports for consideration in drafting the new budget, but early enough for the Board to have a chance to review the budget at the Board Meeting on 2 January prior to the annual meeting.

Items we should consider for the new budget are an alter flower allocation and a capital expenditure for a new, larger broom for the zendo.

6. Clerk Duties

6A. Documentation

Marti provided a task outline for the Clerk position to Valerie. By the end of December Valerie will provide an updated list to Talus who will post it on the Google Workgroups site under the Clerk heading.

6B. PO Box

The post office box is checked weekly, or more frequently when there are many registrations coming in for an upcoming event.

6C. Donation Slot

A proposal was made and approved by the committee to change the combination on the lock to the donation slot. The combination should be held only the Clerk and one back-up person, plus a similar main person and back-up who are BIMS members as they also use the donation slot. Valerie is empowered to make it so. The donation slot is checked weekly, or more frequently when there are many registrations coming in for an upcoming or ongoing event.

6D. Accounts Receivable

The Finance Committee proposes streamlining a number of processes by having the clerk act as the entry point for all money coming in to the organization. This includes membership payments, event registrations, building rentals, donations, and other miscellaneous income. Understanding the possibility that if Karen rotates out of the registrar it may become a position that rotates with every event they way retreat manager is now, this change will help with that transition. The simple message is 'If you have money for Red Cedar, it goes to the Clerk. If you need money from Red Cedar, it comes from the Treasurer.' Support from the board will be needed in working this out with other committees.

7. Flowers Expense

For much of this year, Red Cedar has spent about $25 per month on flowers for the alters, and the job of maintaining the alter flowers has been split with BIMS. A proposal was approved to cut this expense to about $10 per month to bring it in line with available income. $10 per month has been adequate previously. Some ideas for providing alter flowers on a shoestring are: using dried flower arrangements for longer periods in winter, using potted plants, asking for volunteers to bring flowers from home, and growing flowers for the alters in the Dharma Hall's back garden.

8. RCZC Non-profit Status

Work on the 501c3 status is on hold given volunteer time constraints. Work is expected to continue immediately after Practice Period. The notes on what has been done and what is still required are well organized on Google Workgroups, so getting back on track is expected to be fairly easy. Martiwill arrange the financial information required for the 501c3 application in the process of generating the 2012 end-of-year financial reports.

9. Mindfulness Northwest and Red Cedar Resources

9A. Building Rental

Red Cedar is happy to have Mindfulness Northwest renting space at the Dharma Hall. Hopefully the approved bulk discounts for rentals will improve income for Red Cedar as well as improving opportunities for our renters including Mindfulness Northwest. Because of the common control Tim has between the two groups, transparency and avoiding the appearance or actuality of special treatment are essential. Talus will confirm by the end of December that Mindfulness Northwest has a rental agreement on file in accordance with the Red Cedar Rental Policy. It is noted that rental payments are expected to be received in advance, as they are from all other renters.

9B. Use of Website

Given the relationship between Red Cedar and Mindfulness Northwest, interesting questions arise around use of the website for advertising non-Red Cedar events. Some potential cross-references seem clearly appropriate (such as listing on the Dharma Hall calendar), some inappropriate, and many are gray areas that require further consideration. Is it okay to list Mindfulness Northwest events in the Events section of the Red Cedar website? Is this advertising a special benefit to a member of Red Cedar? Can any member of Red Cedar advertise events for other non-profit's they are involved with? Just teachers? What if Everyday Zen organized a talk by Norman in Bellingham? In what ways is that similar and in what ways different from Mindfulness Northwest organizing a talk by Tim? What if one of our Lay Entrusted Teachers started a non-profit for children, would those events be advertised? What about listing Mountain Rain's Loon Lake retreat?

The Finance Committee urges the Board to examine these questions and develop policy so that there are clear standards.

10. Tax Receipts for Donations

When a donation is made via the Red Cedar website, the donor automagically receives a response thank you email including the 501C3 tax receipt language. For donations made by check, Red Cedar should send a thank you containing similar language. The Finance Committee wonders if the Membership Committee is able to undertake this. If so, it should be listed on the Google Workgroups task outline for membership. As the hub connecting committees, would the Board please mediate locating the home for this task?


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