Attendees : Ranga, Sowmya, Arvind, Mohit
Answer to earlier questions
1. How did Siddamma support herself in the past couple of years ?
Ans) Siddamma has not any fellowship support for the last two years, since Asha Austin discontinued her funding. Her son has resumed work in India and is supporting her personal expenses and her work at this point in time.
2. How much is the fellowship amount ?
Ans) Siddamma's Fellowship amount in 2009-2010 was Rs 20,000/month. In 2011, Asha Fellowship Program (link) revised the max cap to Rs. 25000/month. The chapter has the flexibility to decide what is the correct amount of fellowship. This should be based on the feedback from the fellow, project steward and the information chapter has about the cost of living in the geographic location etc. Since, Siddamma is now working with 20-25 new villages and is based in Chennai, Asha Austin feels Rs 25000/month is suitable for her fellowship.
Other Questions :
1) Has anyone done a site-visit ? Who will do the site-visit in future ?
Ans) Savitha met with Siddamma in Dec 2014 and the update on Dec 21st was based on that. Vikram or Sowmya plan to do future site visits.
Action item : Setup Poll
Mohit to setup an online poll to vote on Siddamma's Fellowship (amount Rs.25000/month).
Mathru Foundation - Update
1) What does the staff do? Roles and responsibilities.
b) Assistant to the cook.
c) Driver/care-taker- Driver to drop and bring them from school, and also care-taker for other work (pay bills , take them to doctor etc).
d) Accountant work for audit report.
e) Some work done by Malathi too.
2) Are children taught in the house?
No. Looking for a tuition teacher.
3) Corpus Fund - 10 lakh, General Fund - 1.3 crores. How much is being used for Construction ? What is the purpose of General Funds ?
- General Funds is mostly for building
- Most of the money gone for the building. Here is the approximate split-up to get a sense of money used:
- 21 lakhs spent for the land.
- little more than 1 crore on building.
- 3 - 4 lakhs per annum for core needs.
- Corpus fund is there to handle any shocks in funding.
- Malathi to send latest 2014 - 2015 details which reflects a more up-to-date balance sheet.
4) How are the students chosen ? Financial background ?
Almost all kids are from Rural areas. Malathi is in touch with Local health center of various small towns/districts. They ask for kids who are having disabilities. Then they go and contact the parents. They contact during summer holidays timeframe so that they get them for the next academic year. Mathru asks the parents to bring the child to the foundation and stay with them for a week or two, and does home-sickness counselling. Home-sickness counselling is done by Malathi ji. After that the parents are allowed to visit once a month, and call once a week. They prefer children who do not have the income to support the children.
5) What happens if the building is not finished ?
She is determined to finish the house by June 2015. Worst case, she is planning to extend the rent for another year.
6) Building update is as follows:
- 1st floor tile work is going on.
- Floor work,electrical and other utilities are pending.
- focus on ground and 1st floor so that they can move in. Shall worry about the second floor later.
- Ramp is there for going to 1st floor.
- Girls will be admitted once the second floor is ready.
7) How are parents involved in the children's life ?
First 15 days after they are enrolled into the foundation, they are requested to not call the foundation to prevent home-sickness from growing.
Then every Sunday they can call, and every month they can visit. Parents also spend time with them during summer holidays.
8) How many children have graduated ?
Totally 2005 - 2015 approx. 23 students.
3 graduated. Work in MNC companies earning 12-15k per month.
3 - finished 10th; completed ITI apprentenship which helps them getting jobs in mechanical tools. They now work in small scale industries.
2 - finished ITI apprentenship; lecturers in the same college.
1 - joined MNC as travel business assistant. Had issues going to toilet due to locate of his work place in the building; had to stop working.
Malathi found him a remote job for Christ college for taking textbooks and converting them to soft copies. Now he gets Rs. 4000 per month.
13 students currently studying.
9) Which schools do the students go ?
- 4 in english medium shcools.
- 4 degree holders: 10th,11th, 1st year bcom, 2nd year bcom.
- Rest in Government schools.
10) What is her plan for next 5 years ? How many kids, budget ?
Long term plan is to create a sustainable institution for 50 kids from rural community who cannot support these children.
11) How do the parents feel about having their children living separately from them ? Khushboo (a past project) had a school bus which dropped and picked children
3 local kids from Bangalore stay in the foundation. Feels uniformity is important, and so the kids are not sent home everyday. Parents do come and visit them.
12) Do children go home during summer holidays?
Yes. Sent home for summer vacation.
13) Other discussions:
- Vegetarian food served at home.
- Lower age students are brought in. Above 5 to 6 years. Lower the age, the more preferable it is as they are easier to integrate in the foundation.
- She left her bank manager job because she wants to be more dedicated to the foundation.
Action item : Further Questions
1) Why does the foundation prefer to have the children stay at the foundation home versus commuting daily to school for kids who are from Bangalore ?
2) If a child does not want to stay at the foundation, but wants to stay with parents, does the foundation offer school fees and support to the child ?
3) What activities do children do together after school ?
4) Are the schools disable friendly ? Do they have ramps, toilets, etc. for the disabled children ?
5) How are the schools chosen for kids ? Why are the children going to different schools ?
6) How does the drop off/pick up to school work ? It must be time consuming to drop each child to different school every morning
7) Elaborate on Long-term plan for sustainable institution.
8) How does the foundation pick its staff ?
9) What controls are in-place to make sure that staff takes good care of children ?
AfE - Change of Asha-wide Processes (Legal & Financial)
Asha for Education is making a big transition to improve the way we manage our financials after an external audit was conducted. There was a recent call to give us an update on that. The changes are discussed in this slide deck in detail - Link
We have a 'qualified audit' which highlights these deficiencies in our process that prevent the auditors from giving us a GAAP-compliant clean audit (as mentioned in the audit report) -
1. 'Inconsistent accounting controls exercised over collection of checks and cash at the chapter level' - The biggest concern auditors have had every time we have tried to get an audit has been the lack of a control over checks and cash at the chapter level. The move to the centralized lockbox will address the issue of checks and we plan to provide all chapters with a device such as Square to reduce cash transactions. We need your full cooperation to fully move to this so that we get a 'clean' audit starting 2015. All cash interactions should we reduced to zero with a maximum cash-on-hand at chapters of $500.
2. Basis of accounting is 'modified-cash basis' which is non-GAAP - To move to GAAP-compliant 'accrual basis' of accounting (as we also decided in the recently concluded ARC), we need to implement these changes -
a. Income must be recorded when there is a 'promise to give' rather than 'when the funds hit the bank'. This has big implications - especially for matching donations. We need to enter the 'matching donation' as income in our books as soon as we get a request for confirmation of donation from the companies. This means that Central Treasury will have to be involved with this process of confirming matching donations.
3. Estimates used in financials - Due to a lot of 'carry-over' of year-end financials and unclear notes in the TDB, we had to resort to estimates to present our year-end balance sheet. To prevent this in the future -
a. All accounts for year ending 2014 will have to be submitted to AWT by Jan 5, 2015. (and so on for subsequent years)
b. Communicate with AWT on all events to clearly delineate between donation income at an event, event proceeds, event expenses (and the categorization of these expenses).
Asha Austin communicated that we may plan Strides of Hope in 2015.
Asha Austin does not have the bandwidth to host Asha-24 conference.
Action item : Write Article
1. Ranga and Mohit to work on Article for Annual Report.
Moving Asha Austin Website to Wordpress
The development area is currently at http://ashanet.us. Completed sites ready to go 'live' will be migrated to ashanet.org.
Chapters can use website template - http://chaptertemplate.ashanet.us
Stanford Chapter website based on Chapter Template - http://stanford.ashanet.us
An independent Work-in-Progress at Chicago Chapter chicago.ashanet.us
To design from scratch
The site is on WordPress and the theme we use is called 'X'. It's documentation is here. It's pretty quick and easy. It has a 'Visual Composer' where you can drag and drop design elements and is very intuitive.
Project Pages Approach - template http://chaptertemplate.ashanet.us/our-projects/ is an overview page for Project with content read off the DB.
Documents are going to be uploaded via the same interface as before.
Project Pages Approach 2
Project Page Example http://ashanet.us/project/?pid=1112 (or similar, still WIP) will replace http://www.ashanet.org/projects/project-view.php?p=1112 (which will be an asha-wide change since that is linked to the main site)
Action item: Start creating the website
1. Ranga and Mohit to work on creating content once the website is setup.
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