Estonian Foundation of Canada (EFC) held its Annual Meeting of Members on March 8th. The meeting was chaired by President Eva Varangu, who introduced the Board of Directors: Mihkel Holmberg, Lia Hess, Peeter Põldre, Toomas Kütti, Martin Weiler, Eevi Novek, Elli Kipper and Katrin Roop, and Foundation staff, Andrea Herrmann, the new Manager of Marketing & Development, and Liis Teedla, administrator.
Treasurer Toomas Kütti delivered a positive report. Though income had declined slightly in 2016 as both donations and investment income were down (due to fewer fundraising mailers and the absence of large community events), sound management of operations and a thorough review of administration costs resulted in decreased expenses. A small deficit from regular operations was easily offset by four bequests, leaving a year-end profit of $323,088. Total EFC year-end asset value was $3,884,128, which the Treasurer reminded members does not capture potential capital gains of $1.5 million or more on EFC real estate holdings, currently reflected at acquisition cost.
The 2017 budget anticipates donations and investment income to increase moderately. Anticipated support for Estonian-Canadian community activities is expected to increase, leaving a small budget deficit for 2017. Of course, generous donations from the community can help alleviate any potential loss.
In elections, members unanimously elected Lia Hess and newcomers Martin Pede and Maris-Ann Vanaselja to a three year term. Directors Eevi Novek and Toomas Kütti, who had served 3 and 10 years respectively, stepped down and were thanked for their many contributions.
2016 EFC scholarship recipients Miina Bergen, Teija Jõgi, Kristjan Naelapea and Kairi Vaikla sent letters thanking the Foundation for its support.
President Eva Varangu noted that the Foundation has supported the community for more than 40 years. Twice annually the Foundation receives requests for funding and follows a thorough process of assessment and evaluation prior to disbursement. EFC continues to support organizations across Canada, such as choirs, folk dancing, the Forest University (Metsaülikool), EstDocs, Estonian schools and other activities in Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal, Vancouver and Alberta. As thanks, EFC top donors were invited to a special reception with the Estonian Boys Choir (Poistekoor) and Hirvo Surva prior to their concert honouring Roman Toi’s 100th birthday. Much work was done in updating the database, streamlining office procedures and focusing on a new website that will better serve the community and the Foundation. The EFC’s mission statement was also updated in 2016 to: Estonian Foundation of Canada is a registered charity that supports Estonian cultural and heritage initiatives across Canada.
EFC 2017 objectives include expanding fundraising efforts and donor/membership programs; refining digital strategy; and increasing partnerships and community outreach to facilitate and enable the community.
Eva Varangu reminded members that the greater community is undergoing many changes and that our community organizations must find a way to achieve mutual objectives by working together. She invited attendees to the community town hall regarding the plan to create a new centre on Madison Ave. The EFC Board of Directors supports consolidation and a sustainable community centre.
The President thanked all donors and acknowledged tribute donations for birthdays and anniversaries, as well as memorial donations for those who had passed away in 2016 or before. EFC lapel pins were presented this year to Maimu and Tauno Mõlder.
Blades on the Donor Wall honour those whose cumulative donations total $2,500 (bronze), $5,000 (silver), $10,000 (gold), $20,000 (platinum) or $100,000 (diamond). New blades on the donor wall were: Platinum - Albert Saarna Estate; Silver – Leon & Sylvia Killen, Estate of Klimson, Peeter Kopvillem (In Memorium), and Harry & Karin Rannala; Bronze – Anne Liis & Väino Keelmann, Ivi Laurimaa, Ellen & Laas Leivat, Helgi Liinve, Maimu & Tauno Mõlder, Jaan Pallop, Ants & Lilian Puust, Elle & Mart Rosenberg, Eero Tamm, and Salme Vesi.
Thanks to their continued contributions, donors also moved into new categories: to Platinum - Heikki Kolga, Martin & Virve Reigam; to Gold – Maie & Edgar Lees, Peeter & Kathryn Põldre, and Els Greensides; to Silver -- Vaike Külvet, Andres & Eneri Taul, Väino Einola, Siiri & Jaan Lepp, Aare & Tiiu Kolga, Paul Hiis, and Kersti & William Covert.
Estonian Foundation of Canada is grateful to all donors, whether monthly, one-time, or continuing contributors and to EFC members who continue to provide insight and suggestions to the Corporation.