January Board Meeting
On January 12, 2019 the Louis August Jonas Foundation Board had a meeting in New York City. The Board focused on LAJF’s operations and Building & Grounds updates.
The meeting opened with the remarks of the President, Tim Conners. “I have commented in the past that we have experienced a great deal of change since our Founder started Camp Rising Sun. We have moved from one omnipresent leader of LAJF to a group of many that fill the role of leading and sustaining our organization and community. Today the CRS community is neither the product of nor the responsibility of any single individual. Every step the members of our community takes to sharing the burden is a step towards sustainability.
We made wonderful progress in FY18! We:
Continued to deliver a robust 4-week program
Made improvements to the Clinton Campus
Maintained the Red Hook campus and increased our leveraging of this resource in our program
Took steps to increase alumni engagement
Beat our target for fundraising
I could not have imagined a better year. Let’s again absorb this great news!!
We are in our third year of a five-year strategic plan, and remain quite focused on sustainability. Although we have made wonderful progress, we still have a gap to achieve our sustainability goal. A report on the overall operations was given at the meeting along with updates from each of the committee’s.”
Announcements Regarding Director Changes:
The good news was shared that Tim Wong will be the next President of the LAJF Board of Directors beginning in April 2020. For now he will serve as the President Elect and take leadership of the Strategic Planning Committee. Tim shared, “for those of you who do not know me, I was a camper from NYC ’78, ’79 and currently live in CA after working in finance outside of the US for 25 years, primarily in HK and around Asia. I’ve been a volunteer on the Board since 2011 all of that time in Finance & Investment, and Chair of that committee in recent years. It is an honor to step into this leadership role. I know I have done nothing to earn this honor. I also believe that there are many on our current board and certainly in our community that are more deserving and more qualified to be the next President of the Board. I want to serve with integrity and inclusiveness and ask that you join me in the effort to sustain the Foundation and offer the Camp Rising Sun experience to many generations to come.”
Tim will turn over leadership of the Finance and Investment Committee to assistant chair, Sean Campbell who will also become the Treasurer of the Board. Stephen Hoffman rejoined after a brief hiatus and Paula Souverign Eisenberg moved off of the Executive Committee due to time constraints but will continue to serve on the board. Sadly, Joe Riddle resigned from the board after years of executive service. We thank him for his many contributions to the community. Joe is focusing his time on local volunteers efforts in Utah and will continue to remain involved with the local alumni association.
Expenses are being well managed and spending is on track to budget for first quarter. The investment market is volatile, however, in the long term the current IPS will give us the returns we are seeking. The portfolio lost 5.5% in the last year.
The audit and 990 were completed well before the deadline, now for the third year in a row. We thank Larry Fried for his leadership of the Audit Advisory Committee and all members in volunteering their time and expertise. Tax exemption forms, completed exemption forms and sent by certified mail, were sent to the Town of Clinton and Red Hook.
The Employee HR Manual, last revision 2014, was reorganized, modified and updated to comply with City, State and Federal Laws. Especially the benefits section for all employees both FT and PT – Sick days’ policy, NY Paid Family Leave Plan and minimum wages increase $15 Dec. 31, 2018.
Starting in May, LAJF will host a social work intern from NYU who will assist with home visits, be available to campers during the summer, and conduct follow up with campers for one year post Camp.
Building & Grounds
At Camp various annual maintenance projects were already completed including tree removal and pruning, winterization of water systems. Cameron Rylance, Facilities Manager, and Michael Saratovsky, Building & Grounds chairman, reported on the work done at Clinton and Red Hook campuses along with giving a Building & Grounds update.
Handled unexpected problems at Clinton including flash flood in September and sink hole behind the main building in October.
Planned work to catch up on deferred maintenance includes installation of contemporary showers for staff locker room, painting of dining hall, basic improvements in the bathrooms on tent hill, extension of rain gutters to draw water further from buildings, replacement of a small number of windows in the main building, exhaust vents out through roof rather than into the attic, seal/fill gaps in concrete around main building,
Extensive list of future projects were researched and priced out with attention paid to how volunteers can help to off-set labor costs appropriately.
B&G Committee will lead a fundraising campaign to raise money to off-set costs of May Volunteer weekend.
Committee will review specific projects to maintain the buildings at Red Hook and the landscape. Reopen certain paths - clear trees on theater steps by the stream and from the fences around soccer field and tennis. The committee is discussing how to preserve the Old House and potentially create a mini exhibit on the history of Camp Rising Sun leading into the 90th anniversary in 2020. There is $37,000 remaining from Sprint 550 Funds, Red Hook Fun, for maintenance and renovation.
ACTION: Create a top 5 or 10 list of Highest priority projects to be used in fundraising.
Each committee briefly reported on current projects and one guest thanked the board and volunteers for their contributions in making Camp happen. The next meeting will be held on April 13th in Manhattan and will be followed by the Annual New York Alumni Reunion at the New York Society of Ethical Culture.