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  • Email Minutes for GVT Flood Relief Vote August 6-9, 2017


Email vote request from Anuradha Bulusu:  

Dear Asha Atlanta vols,

This is an emergency funds request for assisting flood affected victims in Gujarat. Many of you may be aware that in the last week of July, Gujarat was affected by torrential rains leading to significant flooding, loss of life and property. Our long-standing NGO partner GVT has written to me requesting for funds to help support the victims of the floods. Asha Central has an 'Emergency Funds' set aside to help all Asha supported NGOs in such situations with a cap of USD 50K. Funds are already being disbursed this year for other such NGOs.

Please find attached budget from GVT for the same requesting funds for the amount of Rs. 16,89,000. This amounts to roughly USD 26,810 at ~ Rs.63 to 1 USD. 

I had a discussion with Central Projects Team members and they recommended that we think about how much we can support in comparison to our annual regular project support for GVT. They also recommended that from working with other NGOs, we request GVT to provide photographs and receipts for the purchases they make in this regard.

Asha Atlanta normally provides funds to GVT annually in the amount of USD 20K-21K. Hence, I propose that we vote on one of the following options.

Option 1: Request Central Funds assist to GVT for the amount of USD10,000 only with no additional funds from Atlanta chapter.

Option 2: Request Central Funds assist to GVT for the amount of USD15,000 only with no additional funds from Atlanta chapter.

Option 3: Request Central Funds assist for GVT for UDS 10,000 and Asha Atlanta covers the balance of USD 16,800.

Option 4: Request Central Funds assist for GVT for UDS 15,000 and Asha Atlanta covers the balance of USD 11,800.

Please get back to me with a (A) YES vote with Option # or (B) NO vote to approve the transfer of Emergency Flood Relief funds to GVT by EOD tomorrow, Monday, August 7th.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

Abhyuday Mandal: Yes with Option 1. (I think we do not need to commit Atlanta funds now, that we can do later as needed, so I did not choose 3 or 4. Between Options 1 and 2, since the central budget is 50K, I guess asking for no more than 20% of it is reasonable).

Matt Peek: I suggest option 4. That way the people in Gujarat get the full amount and it places the least amount of strain on the Asha GT budget. I would also recommend that we do am emergency fundraiser to help the people in Gujarat.  We could get some brochures from GVT and use them to let people in the community know how to help Gujarat. Maybe, we can get volunteers to set up tables at Global Mall to pass out these brochures. We would have to contact the management at Global Mall to get permission. I can provide transportation to Global Mall. I know it is hard for some who do not drive to get there. Also, there are other there is Gujarati Samaj Hall that we could contact. This is an emergency situation and we need to make sure that every person gets the help that they need. Please let me know what I can do.

Anuradha Bulusu: Thank you for your suggestions Matt. At this time we do have sufficient funds with Asha Atlanta to support either options so please don't let that be a deciding factor in your vote. The choice of options must be made on the realities on the ground such as (a) how will we keep track of the utilization of such a large disbursement (b) there are other NGOs on the ground working in the same area so we may not want to put all our eggs in one basket (c) we could disburse the funds in phases if need be (if GVT comes back for more funds) etc. Regardless, we must focus on fundraising efforts as you rightly pointed out and you can show case this effort at the upcoming Dusshera festival event hosted by Asha GT. 

Dhwanil Shukla: Yes, Option 1


Samarth Brahmbhatt: I vote for option 4. I can also help with the fundraising efforts.

Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee: Yes - Option 1.. with an imposed requirement of photographs of flooded areas where they are helping and proof of receipts.. 

Shashidhar Ravishankar: I vote YES for Option 1

Prasoon Suchandra: Yes to option #1.

Anish Mukherjee: I have a question before voting. What is the urgency of this fund disbursal? Since Asha has enough funds to support the balance right now, should we support only about 35% of their need or if the need is really urgent should we disburse the money right now? That said, paying 20% from the emergency fund to GVT is a good idea in anticipation of more requests coming in. I will be voting for option 1 or 3 based on the response to my question.

Arkadeep Kumar: After reading and re-reading Abhyuday and Anu's explanations, I am voting for option 1.  Honestly I had some concerns about this GVT budget requested about 1.5lakh for admin cost for 15 days project duration (maybe justified, depending on how many people they employ for this relief work. I might have lost touch with the realities of expenses in India) and some other budget items. 

Padmanava Sen: Wanted to add a bit of my thoughts. I used to coordinate disaster relief efforts Asha wide at one point of time. My logic is usually like this 

     A) release some funds from chapter right away anticipating General funds to balance that out soon. 

    B) usually the initial proposal is a bit worst case. govt support comes sooner or later and usually their requirement becomes less. It is better to support more in any rehab effort. 

    C) always support direct beneficiaries first.

That being said I will suggest option 1 and release the 10K funds asap expecting GF to come in due time. make sure that 10K is fully utilized before approving for any more funds. Given there is only one instance when we could not approve GF was a local relief in UIUC funded project (2010/11) and that was the basis of another ARC proposal to include local relief efforts too. 

Anish Mukherjee: Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts. I will vote for OPTION 1 then.

Bahnisikha Dutta: I agree with Padmanava Da and I will go for option 1 too.

Final vote tally:

Option 1: Request Central Funds assist to GVT for the amount of USD: 10,000 only with no additional funds from Atlanta chapter. YES votes: 11, No Votes: 0

Abhyuday Mandal, Anuradha Bulusu, Dhwanil Shukla, Samarth Brahmbhatt, Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Shashidhar Ravishankar, Prasoon Suchandra, Anish Mukherjee, Arkadeep Kumar, Padmanava Sen, Bahnisikha Dutta

Option 4: Request Central Funds assist for GVT for UDS 15,000 and Asha Atlanta covers the balance of USD 11,800. YES votes: 1, NO votes: 0

Matt Peek


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