December 2013 ZA Board Meeting Minutes

Zimfest Association Meeting Minutes Synopsis
9 December 2013

Present: Jacqueline Fallon, Tsitsi Hantuba, Jennifer Kyker, Paul Mataruse, David Simon, Amy Robinson, Alex Weeks
Non-voting member in attendance: Claire Jones

1) Review of Nov. minutes and October synopsis—November minutes approved; October synopsis was unaccessible. Amy will try to upload it again for review and approval by the board.

2) ZMF Charitable giving—The board reviewed applications received for 2013 grants.  Savannah Arts has done god work and sent members to teach at Zimfest in the past. They do not have other funding sources. We will donate $1,500 total. The board agreed to disburse $500 to Savannah Arts and $250 each to the other four organizations that requested grants: MBIRA, Tariro, Ancient Ways (Jangano Club),  and  Chinhoyi High School Project.

3) Review of policies from last year—There have been some changes w/ workshop cancellation and concert ticket policies in the past 2 years. In fact, the concert ticket policy has changed almost every year. This discussion will continue within the organizing committee.

Aside–Budget data going back to 2010 is under review.  The carryover appears to have been trickling down over the past few years. Tsitsi, David and Claire are looking at options to increase revenues and rebuild our savings.

David notes that establishing policies at the board level might increase consistency from year to year.

Other discussion: we may institute a policy that concert tickets prices may be different based upon the cost of the venue and concert (which do in fact vary from year to year).  We should try to stop losing money in the various revenue streams. One argument for a festival coordinator is to increase oversight. Going forward we should also set up a better way to collect data about concert expenses. Claire will coordinate a subcommittee to look at concert expenses, revenues and ticket prices.

The Zimbabweans Free at Evening Concert Policy was also discussed—last sentence is in the policy as written is confusing—we may need for individuals from Zimbabwe to identify their heritage so that we can offer free concert admission.

We also discussed the $400 cap on travel reimbursement for Zimbabwean teachers—some performers have had expenses that they had to pay out of pocket.  Extenuating circumstances that contributed to this included not being able to cover the expenses or not booking the flight in a timely fashion. Paul suggests allowing an increase if the ticket is booked at least 21 days in advance but covering a coast to coast ticket. We debated whether to increase the cap. Paul suggests that we research the prices of tickets and include discussion of ticket prices, and we should encourage the Zimbabweans to buy their ticket. This will be part of the letter accepting them to teach.

Our current teacher selection process of guaranteeing that every teacher can teach at least one class causes us to lose money. Instituting a cap on the overall number of workshops may increase our ability to recoup costs.

Workshop cancellation policy has been controversial in the past. This will be reapproved for now.

What about classes with 2 teachers? Some workshops may require a paid accompanist. Should the festival be open to having two teachers for a workshop? For example, marimba and singing for the same song. Current consensus is that it would be better to have two separate workshops with one teacher each.

We also discussed the issue of paying each group in the evening $150. We cannot afford to increase this at present. The issue of reimbursement for travel expenses based on mileage for performers came up in the village meeting. Do we want to consider trying to better compensate for travel? One option would be decreasing the cost to $100 and spreading the reimbursement. We need to reframe this discussion in terms of the overall budget. If we have adequate resources we can have bands ask for additional compensation after the festival.

4) Volunteer coordination— Jacqueline offered to work with Lisa on this.

5) Zimbabwean forum at Zimfest—We received an email from Lucky about this. Perhaps a Skype call prior to the festival might be a useful way to prepare for discussion at the festival. We should consider what we want to accomplish/a vision. What if they came up with a theme that they felt we should know about? For example, how is music taught in Zimbabwe—an opportunity to bridge a gap in information and knowledge.  This may also be an opportunity to get feedback on the festival and our policies. We may need a forum for the Zimbabweans to put forth their own ideas to the board for discussion.  We might add 30 min. to the teacher’s meeting for a meeting with the board, because the teachers contracts do specify that they are supposed to attend the teacher meeting. Tsitsi and David will formulate a response to send to Lucky.

6) Review of financials for 2013—David and Tsitsi are still working on this and will present details of this with the 2014 budget at the next meeting.

7) Membership drive and fundraising update—We will send an email update to the membership explaining our goals to raise funds.

8) Zimfest 2014 planning update—Claire sent a summary to the board for review. The popular band Mookoomba will be touring the US during Zimfest and would be an amazing group to share. Claire and Paul will look into this. Paul will also look into Tuku’s availability as he may be on tour then also.

The “Save the Date” card is ready to go out.

9) Chipo Mkandla (who formerly worked with ZimExpo) is currently on the organizing committee and has offered to be a marketing volunteer.  Tsitsi will invite her to talk for 15 the next board meeting to discuss what she can contribute.

10) Update on payments to the festival organizer—Tsitsi and David looked for a payroll service to determine appropriate withholdings. After much research, they decided to utilize Paychecks. One way to reduce expenses by 50% is by paying every other month. First payroll check will go out next week.

11) Would we consider performers who are not teachers?—We have a precedent for this and agreed that this would be acceptable.

12) Semi-permanent site visits—Marian Grebanier found Univ. Portland unacceptable. PSU (Portland State University) was the site of Zimfest back around 1995. Claire posted a report and will do a follow up visit in Jan. or Feb. It is an urban site, so parking is limited but public transport is better.

13) Donations—David will send info. as to how we can send donations.

14) Final announcement, if anyone wants “Save the Date” cards for their community, send Claire an email.

Next meeting—January 12, 2014, 6-8 PST

Minutes and synopsis submitted by Amy Robinson