December 2018 Board Notes
Board Attended: Andy, Kevin, Kim, Jay, Michelle, Robert, Tristan
Board Absent: Megan
Observers: Heather, Kale, Troy
Anime Twin Cities, Inc. Board Meeting December 11, 2018
Waterbury Building: 1121 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis MN 55413
- Open Session
- Coordinator Updates
- Anime Detour
- Media Relations
- Give to the Max Update
- Recap of Board Boot Camp
- Recap of JASM Fundraiser Gala
- Discussion on the Division between the ATC Board and Coordinators
- Discussion of Co-Branding: Anime Detour and ATC
- Finance Request
- Preliminary Discussion of Potential Future interaction with Mechadamia and ATC
- We are about 100 Registrations behind last year.
- Doing some brainstorming before the next staff meeting to allow any staff to give feedback or input.
- Had a conversation with the Millenium to get a proposal for theoretical program space in 2020 to check cost and square footage.
- 2021 date is on Easter and will collide with Minicon due to the NCAA flex contract with the hotel.
- Inventory is being moved to the end of February to allow for large purchases to be made prior to detour to make sure that they are covered in our insurance. Looking at getting the locker more organized and getting rid of older stuff that isn’t used or needed anymore.
- NAMI has some potential training opportunities for us to utilize.
- Looking to set up some community tables for detour, these are similar to the ambassador table. NAMI and JASM have both expressed interest in a table. Will touch base with Dave about possible programming opportunities for them.
- NAMI has some additional resources to reach out to school clubs that they work with. They also have support talks that we can direct people to if they are having a hard time.
- Just an FYI: 2020 Wrestlemania may fall on our weekend.
- Next big event is Steps of Hope in a couple of months.
- We had Santa Photos earlier and it went well! We had a better turnout than last year, we raised about $70 for the Education Fund.
- We did purchase a Santa Suit, so if we have trouble finding a Santa in the future we have the suit for use.
- Go Club meets at 10 prior to the next staff meeting.
- Things with the Tsuinshi Club are going well.
- Industry Contact lists that was sent to schools has been requested.
- Coaster club had their first official meeting last October at Valley Fair.
- The new MTG club has not reached out requesting any help, will be checking in with them.
- Materials on our recent Board Boot Camp
- The main takeaway was that we have a lot of ambassadors.
- Lauren received a template from Jen for the Business Cards
- Waiting on specific information from people for the cards.
- Had our holiday social recently, this was the first attempt at the new Kotatsu model. We had a solid turnout. Took in a few donations, and had ornament painting which was really popular. We will be hosting another event like this in February or March.
- Received confirmation for the space for the New Year’s Eve Party. It will be at the Hilton in the same space as last year. Minus the small room we didn’t use last year.
- The 4th or 5th year of Outpost Anime will be on January 26th. Putting out the preliminary email with information for this and getting people lined up to run events.
- Question from Andy: Did we receive any feedback on the Kotatsu replacement, did anyone compare or have any questions or concerns?
- Bank Accounts are looking good
- Checking: $249,803.91
- LEG Fund: $11595.88
- Education Fund: $908.59
- Based on our recent training, we should be more interested in our finances.
- We received our reminder to renew our trademarks, it’s been 5 years in May (Anime Detour) – ATC took a little longer and we are expecting that reminder soon.
- Filing happens between the 5th and 6th year of the trademark, it has to be completed by May 2020.
- The renewal fee is $890, this has not been budgeted yet.
- Will be asking for this fee to get this started before the next budgetary cycle.
- We had a deposit of $125 from the Mighty Cause Grant (givemn.org – Give to the Max Day)
- It is currently recorded as ATC income on our sheets, but will be moved to the Education fund now that we know what it is.
- Tax Time- Our 990 is due in February. Propel has informed us that they have changed their business model, so even though we have been with them for 10 years, we are not considered a recurring client as we do not pay a monthly fee. This means we will need to find a new option for our taxes.
- We do not think that they are currently taking on new clients, so they will not take us on as monthly clients instead of yearly.
- The person who has worked with us in the past has offered to do our 990 through her accounting firm.
- This company would only charge us $1025 vs the $1250 that we have been charged in the past with Propel.
VOTE 2018DEC11.1: Jay motions to approve this firm to do our Taxes this season. Tristan Seconded. All Approved.
- On Sunday will make the payment to GPS. Our last committed payment to GPS ends on April 30 per our Facilities Agreement.
- In the next couple of months will start planning negotiations for any future agreements.
Agenda: Give to the Max Update
- How did it go?
- All of the people who raised or donated money were from our staff. If this is something we would like to continue, we need to be posting about it earlier and working on it sooner. It is worth trying again next year, we should work to have everything up at least a month in advance
- We should improve on getting the word out, and utilize our contacts to encourage donations.
- There was some confusion about why people should donate to us, so we should clearly define what we intend to do with the funding and why they should donate. We should also explain our organization in more detail.
Agenda: Finance Request
- Received an email that Kale had forwarded on November 29th to the Board.
- Mark P, one of our Art Show Staff (meaning he is on Detour Staff) – Not eligible for the LEG Fund. His father passed away and he needed to travel out of town in order to help with arrangements. He was requesting assistance in covering costs from the loss of wages. The request was for 10K in order to recover travel, lost wages, food, etc…
- Looking into a GoFundMe in the future to further assist, looking for our web presence to boost this page.
- We have given $1-2k in the past for assistance, not for loans. More recently, we have donated $100-400 from the general account as well.
- Seem fine with donations, loans get more tricky and we haven’t had the best luck in the past.
- We have to consider a limit, our goal is to the help the community, we should look at a limit that we are able to assist a single individual, especially since it hurts us from helping others throughout the year.
- Kim- as of right now we are about $125k from hitting the black line.
- Andy- How much are you comfortable giving out?
- Kim- Since it has been several years since we have been approached could get behind donating the money for airfare (around $900). As it is an emergency flight.
- Troy- We have to be careful about what we have done in the past especially since we need to be able to find it acceptable today. Since this individual is staff it adds a small complexity, we should really discuss how we want to move forward.
- Andy- Whatever is given out here would affect AD Expenditures. Kim- This is money that people are giving us to run the convention, we have to be cognizant of that. Andy- Troy do you agree with Kim’s Assessment?
- Troy- I can be okay with helping staff to that degree. Would understand if the board decides that since this person is staff we also won’t do it.
- John- What makes this specific instance different than the one that will occur in 3 weeks, we have to make sure that we are comfortable saying no if we need to, what makes this one special vs. the next one?
- Troy- John is right here, we have to be okay with doing it for staff or not. The best answer is probably not a good idea to do it for staff. We have talked about staff not being eligible for giveaways, and they aren’t eligible for the LEG fund, it would be a bad precedent to set if we say that this is a benefit for staff.
- Kale: We have only had 2 requests in the last 7 years, the reason we said no to the LEG Fund was because we already had a policy that we help our own. The staff respects our limitations and only calls upon it if it’s an emergency.
- John- I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do this, but we need to ask these questions so that we can respond to those that asks in the future.
- Andy- All requests for the general fund is a case by case basis.
- John- our staff do give a lot for this convention and they really don’t get much back.
- Heather- the fact that being on staff makes you ineligible for the LEG Fund is cruel. Volunteering now hurts your ability to be given help during an emergency.
- Kale- this takes from the ATC Budget not the Anime Detour budget, in the long run it could take from Detour, but this doesn’t affect Detour in the short term. ATC tries to keep a budget surplus for incidents like this.
- John- at the end of the year we try to give donations to things that enrich our community. We should be giving more to staff. We should help out our staff for all the hard work that they put into the convention. Our staff is a part of our community; we just need to be thoughtful when we do this.
- Tristan- like the LEG Fund, if we need to do this in the future we should set a limit to not exceed. Whether that is a taxable limit or something else we set ourselves.
- The taxable limit is $5000 for additional tax reporting of our 990.
- Andy- we should consider a limit.
- Andy- would we be comfortable with the $900 that we had discussed earlier?
- Michelle- Troy is right we are stepping on a line here. Tristan is right we need a limit. In the past we have crossed this line. I am inclined to go forward once again. Our organization is fiscally healthy and this is unlikely to cause any damage. It is the right thing to do and we have the money at this time. If someone comes later and we can’t then, than we can’t.
- Troy- is this decision what’s best for our organization, or is it what feels best because he is a staff member, because we have the money, or is it truly the best fiscally? I want to see our decision be made for the best reason.
- Andy- this is what we were designed for.
- Kale- staff are people.
- Troy- we’ve had questions about our donations to staff, people are bringing this up.
- Jay- every month, every year, there will be something that we are growing from.
- Troy- is there a policy or procedure that is governing our decision or are we just making it up?
- Jay- we are coming together to write what we do and what we can do. We have a lot of gray area and we are trying to document and put our goals to ink. We are focusing on what we can do right now, and apply this lesson to our future decisions.
- Troy- we don’t want staff to apply for movie tickets, but we are okay with them applying for thousands of dollars? We are inconsistent.
- John- the difference is for the lottery, we don’t want to let people think we are running an unfair contest. It gives the illusion of a rigged system. We want to make sure that when an organization is giving us prizes that we are treating them properly. The money in this case is coming directly from us.
- Troy- 100% of the time we’ve loaned or given money it’s been to staff.
- Heather- non staff go to the LEG Fund.
- Robert- it’s hard to make a vote without putting a policy in place. If we make a vote on this, we should address these concerns or we will be in this situation again in the future.
- Andy- how about going with the taxable limit of $5000 while examining requests on a case by case basis.
- Kim- not comfortable going that high.
- Robert- this happens to be an emergency, we need more than just a monetary limit. We need to make sure money given away is the best use of the money that it can be. Would this be the best use?
- Kale- he made it only 1 day before his father passed. That is not a long time.
- Troy- normally we would pay an entity directly.
- Kim- we could pay the credit card company if he used one.
- Michelle- he managed to pay it, however he paid, we can pay that amount or whatever we decide as a reimbursement.
- Robert- much more comfortable that way, then just a blanket dollar amount. We can’t verify that due diligence has been completed with just a dollar amount.
- Jay- airlines often have assistance programs for families in emergencies. They will provide something back to the family. We could look into this with Mark?
- Kale- normally proof of death is due up front.
- Jay- still something to look into.
- Jay- what about other means of assistance with coordination of other assistance opportunities, there are more ways than just a GoFundMe.
- John- if we are going to delay a vote until after we set policies, it could be several months before we are done, and now he would have increased interest on his cards. Like Michelle said, this is out of his control and some people can’t afford a rainy day fund.
- Tristan- if we don’t make a decision today on the limit, then we should put a strict requirement that it will be made next month. The tree request from Anton was sitting around for 5 months.
VOTE 2018DEC11.2: Andy motions to approve the donation of $900 for reimbursement of airfare associated with the death of Mark’s Father. Tristan Seconded. Vote Approved by all members present.
VOTE 2018DEC11.3: Robert motions to set a limit for future donations at the next meeting. Michelle seconded. Vote Approved by all members present.
- Kale to attempt to get a receipt.
5 Minute recess at 19:55. Meeting resumed at 20:06
Agenda: Recap of JASM Fundraiser Gala
- Very Productive
- Met with leaders from JET alumni program and the Nagasaki Sister City, as well as the incoming president of JASM (who is very excited to work more closely with ATC)
- Andy forwarded introductory emails to those who would collaborate
Agenda: Discussion on the Division between the ATC Board and its Coordinators
- Still seems to be some blurring between the boundary between the board and the coordinators.
- Robert- much of this started due to the change in charities discussion, since we as a board made the decision instead of Anime Detour.
- Andy- in my opinion since it concerns financial matters it should concern the board.
- Tristan- where do we draw the line, for budgets we decided not to nitpick the decisions.
- Andy- it also affected the relationship between our organizations.
- Troy- all the work is done at the convention, and overseen by an AD department head. Yet all the accolades/rewards go through ATC. In there comes the disconnect, where does the coordinator and department head, and at what point does the board come in, get approval, a vote, just advise?
- Michelle- I never realized that Christina wasn’t invited in the past.
- Kim- I’ve invited every time.
- Troy- in what manner are people selected to attend events like this?
- Invites come via mail, delivered to the chairman.
- If you don’t get enough participants at the board/coordinator level, where does it go from there?
- Tristan- should staffers be involved?
- Troy- how do we dish out seats, between charities and charity auction?
- Robert- should be up to the appropriate coordinator to come up with that list.
- Troy- normally it starts at the board level.
- Robert- this might be hard to capture in policy, as a courtesy reach out to board and appropriate coordinator.
- Heather- for charities it should default to detour, but for JASM and others, there are a lot of coordinators involved.
- John- when I was on the board, an item came up regarding room parties and Gifford stepped up and said it’s his responsibility and if you don’t like it you can fire him. We hire our coordinators to do their job. Some things like cost we can use to guide policy, but day to day and year to year needs to fall to the coordinators. We can express our opinion, but a chairman isn’t a puppet we don’t want to run a convention by committee.
- Tristan- do we have a job outline for each coordinator
- Heather- we were asked to submit our own on this
- Andy- in the process of taking applications we created them, we have them for Community, MR, and SOS.
- Robert- the whole reason this came up was because someone came to you, to change our charity and it was brought to the board. And we didn’t have a policy on it. Things should be brought to us based on a decision process, but we should act as advisors. We could have said you have done your due diligence and built a policy on that.
- Christina- when I wrote the original email it was an advisory email.
- Troy- it started to feel like a hands-on board, and if the board is going to be like that I would like to know. Wants to know the expectations vs guessing.
- I will always share everything with you vs leaving something out.
- Michelle- maybe statements should start with “I’ve made this decision”
- Troy- at no time was the question asked of the chairman’s opinion
- Andy- we assumed it was implicit since you brought it up
- Diana- the board needs to reciprocate, not assume what people are saying. Listen to all sides.
- Robert- we don’t need to make decisions on everything that is brought to us.
- Troy- it can be hard to sort out if it’s a board member giving advice vs a staff member. Don’t want to create confusion.
Agenda: Discussion of Co-Branding
- At one point we have discussed the saying; “Anime Twin Cities presents Anime Detour” is this still the way we want to do things? Or do we want to adjust the statement to “presented by ATC”, or “ATC presents this event”?
- Do we need to pick one and stick with it? Sometimes different events utilize different verbiage to make things sound nice.
- Didn’t we also budget for some ATC/AD materials jointly?
- Also for branding both the chairman and president have letters in the program guide.
Agenda: Preliminary discussion of Potential future interactions with Mechadamia and ATC
- Andy- are there any objections for further contact?
- What do we need to know before making an informed decision to pursue further collaboration?
- Financial involvement?
- What the collaboration will be?
- Troy- from my understand the eventual goal will be for Mechadamia to be presented by ATC
- Andy- this is further down the line, still a goal.
- Troy- we would need to know if this is something that would take place over detour.
- Andy- also further down the line, as they still have contract time remaining with MCAD.
- Kim- these are questions that do still have to be answered no matter how far down the line they are.
- Tristan- is the end goal for ATC to run to conventions?
- Michelle- I felt it was more like, “ATC sponsors” much like we did with the AUSM event.
- Troy- My understanding is that our only involvement besides a table at their event would be our charitable giving amount.
- Michelle- there was some discussion of moving their event to within a week of AD.
- AD is about entertaining the aspect of it.
- Theirs is focused on an academic level
- We could team up to bring in guests that could attend both events with only a few days gap.
- U of Iowa had a writing conference many years ago that would bring in authors and then have them stay for a convention that weekend. Here we are opposite where we would be supporting the academic event.
- Troy- we should ask them what they see as a foreseeable plan moving forward
- Are we agreeing to donate funding to them each year? Or looking for an outside organization to increase their funding?
- Do we want them to move their event?
- Can we and they afford to move to a hotel setting instead of an academic setting?
- Troy- We are one of their largest, and close to sole contributor. From preliminary conversations, we were talking about taking over their organization financially. We were also discussing the possibility of holding both events on the same weekend.
- Michelle- we could put together a committee to sit down with Frenchie and her team to discuss possibilities. At this point we do not have enough information to move forward.
- Andy- from the questions we are bringing up tonight, I’ll distill them in an email to Frenchie. With the idea of potentially collaborating in the future and asking for an in person meeting. Then we can have this discussion with Frenchie and her team.
End of Public Meeting.