Oneness Project Trustee Council

Meeting Minutes

May 17, 2008

Whidbey Island, Washington

 

Present: Phil Notermann, Linda Lindsay, Tony Rasch, Steve Gray, Munir Reynolds, Shahar Solander, Narayan Waldman, Tajali Tolan, Katie Hamida Wiese, Patsy Boyer, Ellen Fietz-Hall, Mansur Rodney Kreps, Sandy Allaudin Hill, Pat Adams, Michael Sheehan (Media Archivist), N’Shama Sterling (Trainer and guest)

 

Dance

 

Chair Phil read a poem and welcomed everyone, then read the Trustee in Training Policy aloud and explained the expectations to those new to OP meetings. Munir introduced the guests present.

 

A 1 – Minutes from November 2007 Meeting

Tony moved and Linda seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting. Approved by consensus.

 

A 2 – Minutes from February 2008 Telecon

Linda moved and Tony seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the February 2008 TC telecon. Approved by consensus.

 

B 1 – Year to Date Budget Report 2008

Tony presented the budget report, noting that investments performed better at the end of 2007 than projected at our November 2007 meeting. This performance resulted in extra funds which have been presented as a $35,804 contingency fund in the 2008 Endowment Fund budget and a $38,687 contingency in the 2008 General Fund budget. He also noted that the reports have been changed to reflect month to month expense projections. On the earnings side, he said that we’re back on track to make somewhere in the range of 9-10%.

 

Tony and Munir answered questions on the budget centering on how to present the prior year’s earnings with the current year’s expenses. Mansur Kreps suggested that the financial statements could be revised somewhat to reflect the actual situation more clearly. Expenses should be associated on the same statement with the revenues that apply to them, regardless of year earned. Investment income from the current year (to be spent in the following year) can be shown on a separate statement. Tony, Munir and Mansur will work out a revised budget format for next meeting.

 

B 2 – Loan Request from SW Sufi Community

Munir presented the request from the SW Sufi Community. The SSC is paying a balloon payment on their existing mortgage and they’re asking OP for a bridge loan for one year. We have given them interest-free loans in the past. Our policy says we’re reluctant to make loans but we’ll do it in certain circumstances. Discussion followed regarding the terms and conditions of the loan. The matter was sent to the Finance Committee to develop a proposal over lunch. After lunch Tony presented the following proposal:

 

Resolved: Oneness Project is willing to loan the Southwest Sufi Community $80,000 under the following terms:

  1. The loan will be for a period of one year beginning some time after June 1, 2008.
  2. The loan will be secured by a lien on property owned by the South West Sufi Community.
  3. Interest on the loan will be 10% per annum payable at the end of one year.

 

If for any reason the loan and interest is not paid before July 31, 2009, Oneness is willing to extend the loan for one year, but at an interest rate of 13% per annum.

 

Tony moved to accept the motion, Steve seconded and the motion passed by consensus. (Note: The loan amount was later increased to $87,000 via an email vote.)

 

C 1 – Grants Committee Spring 2008 Proposals

Munir presented proposed revisions to the Grants Committee budget which would reallocate contingency line items to the Dance Leader Training and Project grants budget lines. Budget for DLT grants would be increased to $72,000 in 2008 and Project Grants increased to $100,000.

 

Tony moved that we shift these funds as recommended by the committee. Linda seconded. Approved by consensus.

 

Munir presented the recommendations of the Grants Committee for project grants to be funded. He noted that a $20,000 grant for the PW International meeting is being escrowed in grants payable since the meeting is postponed. He also answered questions about the other projects recommended on the Spring 2008 Grants Worksheet:

 

Applicant

Country

Fiscal Agent

Recommended Award

Art for Peace

Brazil

Foundation Terra Mirim

$3,900

Bringing the Dances to Melbourne

Australia

Dance Darshan

$1,160

Children's Global Peace Project

USA, Uganada, and other

Children's Global Peace Project

$8,000

Crimea Peace Camp MIR

Ukraine

Rahman Productions, The Netherlands

$3,000

Dance Camp in France

France

A-La-Danse, the French network for the DUP

$1,680

International Core Council (ICC) In-Body Meeting

International

ICC of International Network for the DUP

$1,923

Latvian Summer Camp

Latvia

Rahman Productions, The Netherlands

$2,750

Living Thread Project

Russia

Shahodat Golomuz Anna Gasteva

$4,850

Murshid SAM's Legacy Website Creation

International

Sufi Ruhaniat International

$1,000

Narayan Inspiration Impulse

Russia, Italy

Narayan Eric Waldman

$2,200

Peace Through Arts in Mantiqueira

Brazil

Arjuna Laerte Willmann

$3,600

Slovakian Outrach

Slovakia

Rahman Productions, The Netherlands

$1,700

Training in Sufi Zikr and Zikr Dance

Estonia

Silje Seppik

$1,015

Youth Dancing, year 4

Germany

Silke Alima and Michael Ali Stockel

$3,000

Zimbabwean Peace Summit and the DUP

South Africa

Tara Andrea Swierkosz

$600

Total Awards

 

 

$40,378

 

Linda moved to accept the grant awards as proposed; Steve seconded. Approved by consensus.

 

 

Trustee in Training Proposal

Steve said at OP’s long range planning retreat in June 2007 we looked at OP’s strengths, weakness, and threats to our operation (SWOT analysis). A major concern identified at the meeting was deepening the OP bench. Therefore, he presented the following:

 

Resolved that we nominate these four people as trustees in training: Katie Hamida Wiese, Mansur Kreps, Sandy Hill, and Pat Adams. Tony seconded.

 

The individuals named said a bit about themselves and their interest in Oneness Project. Then they left the room. The trustees discussed the proposal and the needs of OP at this time. With Steve’s consent, Phil modified the foregoing motion to:

 

Resolved that we accept Mansur Kreps and Katie Hamida as Trustees in Training. Linda seconded. Passed by consensus.

 

The candidates then returned and the results were presented. Phil said that Mansur and Katie were well known to the board and that we felt now was time to bring them into the trustee in training process. The TC wants to provide an opportunity to get to know Pat and Sandy better and for them to get to know us. He said, “With you Sandy and Pat, we’d like to invite you to continue to participate in our process by getting to know us more, attend our events and work on our committees. We want to ‘date’ longer for your sake as well as our in our functioning.” Pat and Sandy both said they were fine with this outcome.

 

In taking her leave from the meeting, N’shama Sterling said, “What a privilege it has been to sit here and experience your meeting, and how respectful you are of each other.” She also provided the following reflection. “It’s hard to set boundaries and be clear about decisions because you’re being so loving. I suggest you remind yourself why are you’re doing this. Have that as a touchstone. What I particularly heard is this double bind about bringing people in and they are unable to speak. Unless you’ve had other experience with them, how are you going to get to know them? Tajali and Michael brought up other concerns. I was watching the look on people’s expressions – when Patsy and Linda finally did offer their thoughts, what they said was very important and helpful to the group.”

 

Phil thanked N’Shama for her input, and for the wonderful board training day presented the day before.

 

Lunch

 

Communications Committee

H 2 – Recording Policy Proposal

 

Oneness Project events aims to create a safe and inspiring container in which participants can fully experience the sacred and celebratory power of the Dances of Universal Peace.

 

  1. Photos may be taken during Dance sessions – but only without a flash.
  2. No photos will be taken during Zikr by attendees or OP staff.
  3. Attendees will refrain from any video or audio recording during Dance sessions.

 

OP is conscious of the possible distraction caused by recordings, audio, video, or images, and will restrict the number of photographs it takes during Dance sessions to a minimum needed to reflect the flavor of the session/retreat for DUP promotional materials and newsletters.

 

Steve moved to accept new Recording Policy as written. Phil seconded

 

Discussion followed. The proposal first passed by consensus, but then after more discussion there was apparent disagreement regarding the provision differentiating between the zikr and the Dances. It was pointed out that the proposed policy did not alter the existing one in the policy manual, except to shorten it.

 

Tajali called for a Dance.

 

Additional questions were asked regarding the intent of the policy and the best way to achieve the desired outcome. Though the approved proposal was not withdrawn, the focus of the discussion shifted to how to bring the dancers and dance leaders into the problem of obtrusive recording so that it does not become a problem in the first place. This can be done by making appropriate announcements at the start of camps, etc. that asks for everyone’s cooperation. It seems that the policy itself needs additional committee work before it can be incorporated into the policy manual.

 

M 1 – Ad hoc Committee Proposal

Resolved: As advised by our attorney, Joel Kaleva, in order to avoid any possible legal ambiguity in the use of the term “Trustee”, it is proposed OP establish an ad hoc committee to develop recommendations for amending the language used in O.P. by-laws. In addition, the committee shall develop policy reflecting legal requirements for record retention and destruction and also whistleblower protection.

 

Linda moved that we accept the proposal as written. Tony seconded. Passed by consensus. The committee will be comprised of Mansur, Phil and Munir.

 

D 1 – Unity Council Report

Munir reviewed some background on formation of the Unity Council and briefly reviewed the written report. He sketched a differentiation of possible organizational roles for OP, PeaceWorks and the MTG Guidance Council discussed by the Unity Council. He then asked for some initial feedback from the group present.

 

He said, “PeaceWorks has asked OP if we want to have a representative from our board on serve on theirs. Nuria is our staff person and she is now the President of the PeaceWorks board. I don’t know that we can decide that here; Nuria could be our representative for now.”

 

Ellen proposed we schedule a telecon. She said she totally likes the direction proposed, but there are some things she’d like to bring up and we don’t have time to discuss now. She suggested that we take a brief period and list some telecom topics on this subject that the council would like to discuss.

 

The group generated the following list of topics brought up by the Unity Council Report:

 

  1. Issue of membership, where the money comes from, and recruiting individuals who support with time and/or money
  2. How NA is a player in that diagram; it isn’t just another region?
  3. Criteria we’re using to guide the process the Unity Council makes decisions from
  4. Sangha is a term used by a specific religious organization, and I’d prefer a non-specific one like community.
  5. Events – how would that work?
  6. Membership, what if we don’t have any members? Everybody’s a member. Let people know if you’re a dancer you’re a member of the community of dancers.
  7. NA is revising their website; should be up in a week or so – how does this all tie together? NA and INDUP used to be one thing and now it’s two.
  8. CGPP goal is to build an international resource of people working with children; don’t want to duplicate this.
  9. Tajali will be training people to work with children and how does this grow – under the MTG? Under OP?
  10. Roles or functions of each group – by what authority, blessing or sanction do they carry out these roles?
  11. Who has responsibility for carrying out the roles?
  12. Dances happen even if we don’t have an organization.
  13. There is a huge player that is missing – there is no one on the committee from Europe. There are some key people I am hoping are being consulted.
  14. Communication channels everywhere in the world

 

Staff will schedule a telecom for all interested parties in order to take up these questions.

 

Music Report

Michael Sheehan, Music Archivist, handed out a report of music projects underway. Munir commended Michael for the work he’s done for us over the years.

 

F 4 – Committee Assignments

Munir presented the list of current committee assignments. He described various needs in the committee areas.

 

Shahar noted that Tajali will be taking over the role as Chair of the Youth Committee now.

 

Steve said that some of these committee positions are up for change. Shahar has stepped into the chair of Communications Committee; the Braveheart Committee needs a chair, and so on. Part of our intention was to go into committee meeting time and have time to go into this today.

 

Steve said he would like to solicit Sandy to be on the Human Resources Committee. Sandy responded that he is interested in supporting the staff and having a role there, as well as support around camps.

 

Tony confirmed that Mansur is interested in the Finance Committee.

 

Patsy asked to serve in communications.

 

Narayan said he would like to spend some time with Events. He said “I’d like to appear under some guise. I’m already on the Music Committee, but don’t do too much there.”

 

Review of next meeting dates:

Fall 2008 Meeting: Nov 14th for the Grants Committee and Nov 15th and 16th for the regular board meeting in Hamilton, Montana.

 

Discussion followed regarding allowing an extra meeting day. Phil said he feels we should keep the fall 2008 to two days and consider a longer meeting in the spring 2009.

 

Spring 2009: Dates discussed were May 7-10, 2009 or May 14-17, 2009. Location yet to be determined.

 

The meeting then adjourned to watch Tajali’s video from the Children’s Global Peace Project.