On December 12, 2010, we conducted our annual board meeting by teleconference with Melanthia Peterman, the secretary, and I, Cheryl Hatch, the president in Seattle. Alice Anderson joined us from Corvallis, Oregon. Samanda Dorger was absent and I presented the treasurer’s report on her behalf.

Proceedings:

I called the meeting called to order at 12:05 p.m. We approved the Aug. 1, 2010 meeting minutes.

Old Business:

Oct. 12 fundraiser in Corvallis brought in $940.

Hatch hired Bev Brassfield, a Corvallis bookkeeper, to handle the record keeping for the account, starting with our current fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2010.

New Business:

Marathel Guinsayao is moving into her second semester of second year at Western Mindanao State University.

Leah’s mom had a stroke and has been unable to gather and update on Marathel. She plans to travel to visit her before Christmas and pay her board fees and collect her most recent grade reports.

Isis Initiative has until June to find a new candidate to send to university. If we miss the June deadline, our next deadline will be September 2011.

We plan to focus our efforts at LaSalle University Ozamis City. We were excited to offer a scholarship to Marthel, who is attending university on the Zamboanga Peninsula, near her family’s mountain farm. We have discovered that maintaining communications and monitoring her progress is difficult from a distance. We have chosen to recruit scholarship applicants who are interested in attending La Salle University Ozamis, the university Leah Mamhot attended and from which she received her diploma in 2007.

We discussed the possible uses for the raw video of Hatch’s trip to the Philippines for Leah’s graduation in 2007. We plan to turn it into a educational DVD and a potential fund-raising tool. Anderson suggested having a student volunteer cut the video and produce a short (three to four minutes) promotional piece. I will explore the possiblity of finding a student a University of Alaska Fairbanks, where I’m currently serving as the Snedden Chair in the Department of Journalism.

Website development: Isis board members will keep control of web maintenance until we have more material to showcase. At that point, Isis Initiative will revisit outsourcing development.

Fund-raising

My brother, J Hatch, has donated proceeds of sales from his CD. You can download songs at his website. (If you launch the music player after entering the site, you can listen to three cool original tunes while you browse.)  We will begin planning next Corvallis concert and intend for it to become an annual fund-raising event. The J Hatch Trio performance in 2011 will be the third annual concert. The trio played at Block 15 on Mardi Gras night 2009 and at the home of Beth Rietveld and Sam Stern on October 16, 2010.

Newsletter

Peterman will create our first newsletter and have it ready to mail to our donors and supporters in January 2011.

Our meeting adjourned at 12:50 p.m.

Procrastination and Paperwork

September 10, 2010

We have until Nov. 15 to complete our CT-12 form for the Department of Justice in Oregon.

I got a good start…and then I stalled. Of course, I resigned from my job, gave up my apartment and moved to a new state and a new job since I had started the paperwork. However, I will soon need to pick up the paperwork where I left off. I don’t want to be trying to finish reporting our income and expenses for our recent fiscal year at the last minute.

And there are penalties and fees if I don’t hit the deadline. I’ll give myself a deadline of Oct. 9 at the latest, a good month ahead of the official deadline.

The Oregon Department of Justice requires non-profits to file a CT-12 form. Of course, I wasn’t aware of this requirement until I received a letter informing me that I had failed to file the CT-12 form for our fiscal year 2008-2009.

I filled in the form and returned it as quickly as possible. There’s a penalty if we’re late. Since we’re a new organization with a small income base, every dollar counts.

I got a phone call from a nice woman named Vorano, who explained I had not filled out the form correctly. She walked me through the details. I took notes and she send me back the form with the areas I needed to complete highlighted in yellow. Like Dorothy, I did my best to follow the yellow brick road.

And I procrastinated something terrible. I needed to go through our files and doublecheck our donations through June 2009 and our expenses for the same time frame. It wasn’t a difficult task; however, I made it difficult by assuming I’d get it wrong again. My fear of failure had me paralyzed.

Then I got a registered letter from the Oregon DOJ. They were waiting for my form and there’d be an additional fee if I didn’t send it in pronto. Fear of fees pushed me right past fear of failure…where Isis Initiative, Inc. is concerned.

Today I spent the afternoon going through our files and completing the form. I photocopied it and slipped it in the pre-paid envelope. It mails out tomorrow.

Leah To The Rescue

October 19, 2009

I spoke with Leah at 4 a.m. this morning. I was expecting good news: that Leah had met Marethel and her family and had enrolled her in college.

After our conversation, I found it impossible to get back to sleep. The news wasn’t good.

The money we’d sent last month was not in Leah’s account. The funds were intended to pay for Marethel’s tuition, boarding and uniforms; she needed to enroll on Monday. (See my post on October 5.)

Leah spent the morning at Allied Bank in Ozamiz City. There was no money, no explanation and no one could help her.

Marethel had texted Leah from Molave on the Zamboanga Penisula, where she was waiting for Leah. She had traveled a significant distance from her home to meet Leah. They planned to go to the college and pay Marethel’s tuition.

Leah bought a bus ticket and made the four-hour roundtrip to give Marethel what money she had in her wallet as a downpayment on tuition. She promised to return in two weeks with rest of the necessary funds.

Leah sounded so tired when we spoke. It was 7 p.m. her time and she’d just returned home.

I realized later today that Leah has taken on an awful lot to help us. She’s never had a bank account. Never had to deal with international money transfers. Doesn’t have experience dealing with tellers and bank managers.

She has precious little discretionary income, yet she parted with all the money in her wallet without hesitation.

Leah wades right into the deep waters and finds a way. Even when she thinks she’s in over her head.

Thank you, Leah.

O Happy Day!

October 15, 2009

Cheryl Hatch received this letter from the Internal Revenue service, confirming that Isis Initiative, Inc. is exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The letter is stamped September 22, 2009 and all donations to Isis Initiative are exempt, retroactive to February 14, 2008.

Cheryl Hatch received this letter from the Internal Revenue Service, confirming that Isis Initiative, Inc. is exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The letter is stamped September 22, 2009 and all donations to Isis Initiative are exempt, retroactive to February 14, 2008.

After two weeks away, I headed to the counter at the post office in Corvallis to get my overflow mail. I chatted with Tom behind the counter about his recent hikes and my recent trip. He carried a package to my car.

As I sifted through the solicitations for donations, the promotions for cell phones and magazine subscriptions and a few bills, I discovered a fat envelope from the Internal Revenue Service.

Sitting in my car, I opened the envelope and read the letter.

“Dear Applicant: We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the Code.”

Fantastic!

I immediately called Senator June Gibbs in Rhode Island, a friend who jumped on the Isis bandwagon early, offering her encouragement and making donations. When I saw June in Middletown, RI recently, she asked if we’d received our tax-exempt status yet. I said I hoped the letter would be waiting for me when I returned to Oregon.

I can’t wait to share the news with my board members. And begin applying for grants.

Crossed Wires

October 5, 2009

We hit a snag sending money to Leah.

In the past, I wired Leah dollars from our OSU Federal Credit Union account to her dollar account in Allied Bank in the Philippines. She would then withdraw dollars and convert them to local currency.

The system worked well except we paid fees three times. And we’d rather see as much of our money as possible go to a young woman’s education. We tried a new system, using Vigo to transfer the money and paying only one $10 fee.

I was so thrilled at the significant savings and ease of transfer with Vigo compared to the traditional wire transfer.

Then Leah got a call from someone at her bank saying the money had arrived but it could not be deposited in her account, since she has a dollar account not a peso account.

We saved money but created some confusion and extra work for Leah. And we actually didn’t save time on this first Vigo transfer, since the money is somewhere in limbo looking for a home for pesos at the moment.

I asked Leah to determine if she can open a new account, a peso account, and have the money deposited in that account.

We’ll work out the kinks before we send funds again.

Third Time’s A Charm

September 17, 2009

Here is the elusive "confirmation copy" of our Articles of Incorporation. Note the all-important "filed" stamp in the upper right corner.

Here is the elusive "confirmation copy" of our Articles of Incorporation. Note the all-important "filed" stamp in the upper right corner.

Tomorrow I will call Mr. Eric Kaye at his IRS office in Cincinnati and confirm that he received the “confirmation copy” of our Articles of Incorporation.

This copy has the vital “FILED” stamp and the date in the upper right corner.

Now we’re cookin’.