NCA AGM Meeting Minutes, March 5, 2015

Chapala Project office, Chapala


President: William Harold Friend

Vice-President: Margaret Susan Johnson

Treasurer: Nancy Allan

Secretary: Amy Catherine Friend

Director Web Master: Douglas Friend

Director Special Events: Shannon Blair

Director at Large: Timothy Napier Whiting, M.D.

Director at Large: Lorraine Thelma Skoda

Board candidate: Nicole Jules Belinne (guest)

Sponsors:  Jack Carson, Lois Gowers, Michael Hodge, Niels Petersen, Wendy Petersen.

The meeting was called to order at 1:28 pm.  There being no quorum, the meeting was adjourned.  The meeting was called to order once more at 1:30 pm, and in accordance with Mexican law and NCA By-Laws, a quorum was declared of those sponsors present.

The Secretary

  • Amy read the Minutes from The Extraordinary General Meeting of November 7, 2013.  Moved by Lois Gowers and seconded by Neils Petersen that the Minutes be adopted as read.  Carried.
  • It is suggested that NCA run an occasional student success story in the OJO column, Amy agrees, and says the initiative is already underway.  The format of the column is being varied, to attract more interest.
  • The new logo “NCA, For the Love of Education,” created by our Web Master, will make its debut in the April OJO, together with a report on the Gala, big thanks to all, and a student success story.
  • The President introduced the members of the Board to the sponsors present.
  • Bill reported that an offer has been made by the “Needle Pushers” to sew uniforms for students. The precise method of launching this initiative  has not been decided.
  • It is suggested that for anyone who may not be able to sponsor a child, if they can sew, that would be a very significant contribution!  Perhaps those who don’t sew might knit….it does get cold here!
  • Lois Gowers wishes to introduce NCA to a ‘Foundation Building’ person who could make a presentation at the next NCA Board meeting.
  • Neils Petersen suggests that a regular NCA Newsletter would be welcomed by the sponsors.  Nancy says this could be attached to the quarterly financial report.

The Treasurer’s Report

  • Nancy has already circulated the year-end financials (Dec 31, 2014), and she asked if there were questions.  A question arose as to whether the report has been audited, and Nancy explained that IJAS audits NCA as required by Mexican law.  NCA finances do not permit a second audit.
  • Nancy has prepared a budget forecast, and this was discussed.  NCA’s financial position has greatly improved, and should improve further, when the expected Chili Cook Off donation is received.
  • An email from IJAS has been received, thanking NCA for all reports submitted, including the number of sponsors and students.  All reporting to IJAS is regular and up-to-date.  IJAS is very happy with NCA.
  • IJAS warned that NCA (like other charities) could be subject to random audit, and that all By-Laws, Protocolized documents and other records should be in place and available.  This is already done.
  • Back-up financial records are in the hands of our external auditor, and on the Montreal-based web server.
  • Nancy reports that NCA has a volunteer English instructor at the office Saturdays, offering free English classes, beginning around noon.  The classes are open to all students, whether NCA-sponsored or not.
  • Nancy suggests that instead of a Christmas Posada, NCA sponsor a Graduation party for students, their families and sponsors, plus the media.
  • Nancy reported that this is the first year when NCA has in place defined Policies and Procedures for the office, plus Guidelines for both sponsors and students (so that both parties know what is expected of them).  For example, what are acceptable purchases for sponsor funds?  Medical, food, transportation, school expenses?  She gives full credit to Lilia for instituting these.

Fund-Raising Report

  • Shannon reported on NCA’s first Valentine’s Day Gala:  it was an unqualified success, with rave reviews, and will now become an annual event.
  • Due to inclement weather, the Gala was held indoors, which worked out very well, next year’s Gala will be indoors again.
  • The ambience, decorations, food, entertainment, silent auction, music, all were enthusiastically received, and we expect many repeat guests next year.  The rock band, “Mike and the Suspects,” were particularly popular, it should be noted that they played for free.
  • NCA expects a donation from the Chili Cook Off;  all NCA Board members volunteered to work at the 3-day event to further its success.  “Mike and the Suspects” again donated their time and talent for a free rock concert at the CCO on Saturday night.
  • Several students spoke of their dreams and needs at the Valentine’s Day Gala, and all found sponsors!

NCA Bazaar

  • Lori reported that the Bazar averages a contribution of $8,000 – $10,000 pesos monthly toward the support of NCA overhead costs.  She is exploring different avenues to get the word out that the store really, really needs more donations for sale at the shop, and requests that “sponsors please take note, we need your help.”
  • The store employs four young Mexican women from the same family, honest and competent, Lori says they are “the backbone of the store,” and their brothers are called into service when heavy moving or trucking is required.
  • The Bazar has developed a very successful consignment business, only 20% for items priced $1,000 pesos and more.

Web Master Report

  • Doug reports that the student / sponsor database is up and running.  Sponsors can access their students’ report cards and progress online, plus the status of their financial account by using their specific password.
  • He is making increased use of the Word Press platform.

Lake Chapala Society / NCA Liaison

  • Susan Johnson has assumed responsibility to represent NCA at the LCS on a weekly basis, Fridays 10:00 am – noon.  Susan also teaches English at the LCS Wilkes Centre.
  • Susan elaborated upon the education system in Jalisco, that although officially education is free, the school and teachers are provided, there are supplies and parent association fees to be paid, and costs for extra-curricular activities.  Naturally, there is peer pressure for each student to be current with these, and many families have great difficulty in meeting these expenses, unless they have the support of an NCA sponsor.

2015-16 Board Slate

The President then introduced the NCA slate of candidates for the 2015 – 2016 Board.  The resumés of all were previously circulated among the sponsors.

President: William Harold Friend

Vice-President: Timothy Napier Whiting, M.D.

Treasurer: Nancy Allan

Secretary: Amy Catherine Friend

Director Web Master: Douglas Friend

Director Special Events: Shannon Blair

Director at Large: Margaret Susan Johnson

Director at Large: Lorraine Thelma Skoda

Director at Large: Nicole Jules Belinne

As required under Mexican law, Bill asked three times for nominations from the floor.  There were none, so the slate was declared elected unopposed.

Nicole Belinne is the newest member of the NCA Board.  Amy asked her to speak of her very specialized training with autistic children and Communicative Disorders, teaching language, as well as social and life skills.  Nicole’s work also involved educating foster/adoptive parents and facility staff with positive behavioral interventions, while developing and implementing programs  to reduce problematic behaviors, and stabilize foster and adoptive placements.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

A  meeting of the new NCA Board was called, we will meet next on April 7.

Meeting adjourned.


P.S. Note to sponsors reading these Minutes:

Your Board takes it as a compliment that you did not feel it necessary to attend the AGM, and that you must therefore be satisfied with how your association is being run…. however, we do miss you!  And we DO hope to see you next year!