Sunday, June 29, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Originally posted by David Chen, June 12, 2014

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What does the partnership between BUF and C2C look like on a day-to-day basis and what are upcoming plans? 
Answer: A monthly blog detailing partnership activities and plans will be posted to the website.  Also included with be opportunities for the BUF community to be involved in the happenings.

What is Community to Community Development?
Answer: There is a section in the history posted on the partnership’s page on the website that summarizes C2C’s work and its connection with BUF in 6 short chapters.  Their web address is: and Facebook page is ___.  A brief description: C2C is a women-led, grassroots, Whatcom County organization working for social, environmental & economic justice and healthy communities.

How often does C2C use our space? 
Answer: We can't specifically answer this question, as it depends on what opportunities arise.  See the blogs for the history of how the partnership has used BUF’s space. What we can say is that co-sponsored activities will continue, making use of the meeting spaces, kitchen and occasionally the sanctuary and social hall. 

How does C2C care for our space and community? 
Answer: C2C members have been very accommodating in all building use negotiations.  They are trained to clean our Bamboo floors and have and will clean them when needed.  They have participated in deep cleaning of the kitchen, including ovens, cupboards, drains, refrigerators.... They have cooked for Community Night Dinners and are open to being on our annual cook rotation. They provide us with educational forums, workshops and have done an annual sermon at a Sunday service.

What does the partnership cost BUF financially? 
Answer: While the answer to this question is uncertain, as costs will be related to opportunities as they arise, we have decided to handle this uncertainty by placing a cap of $5000 on the in-kind type of financial contribution that BUF offers C2C.
         To give a better idea of how these costs will be calculated, we share the example of the first year.  In 2011, C2C used our kitchen for 46 hours which, if rented at our member rate*, would equal an in-kind donation of $690.  They also used our social hall for 40 hours which equals an in-kind donation of $1,600.  Additionally, they used our van for 9 days in the summer.  We don't currently rent out our van, rather, we allow our members to use it and we request a donation that directly funds the van maintenance line in our budget.  C2C uses our van at no cost to them and is covered by our insurance policy at no additional cost to us and poses minimal risk.   These kinds of space uses are likely to continue and increase some as time goes by.. 
         *Using the discounted member rate is a compromise of estimating value.  For any given C2C use, the space might have been used by a full paying group, which would be the same as a financial loss for us.  On the other hand, the space might not have been rented for another use, so then C2C's use costs us very little--less than the discounted rate.  So, the discounted rate is a middle ground for estimating value. 

Is there a language barrier issue? 
Answer: Most people who work or volunteer at C2C speak English fluently or well enough to have a meaningful conversation, so we haven’t seen a language issue when it comes to managing the partnership.  Many of those C2C serves, some of whom may be at BUF from time to time, may not speak English well.  Though this does create some challenges in building relationships, we also see this as a meaningful challenge which offers the opportunity to build bridges with people we might never have had in our lives.  Perhaps some of us will learn (more) Spanish?  Perhaps we might have a monthly service in Spanish?  Perhaps we could teach each other our languages?  The possibilities are many.

How long will the partnership last?
Answer: According to the Partnership Procedure document: if approved, partner organizations and sponsoring BUF ministry teams will be required to monitor, track and report the following for our annual (bi-annual after the first year) review:
a.  Dates, times and descriptions of projects and events
b.  Financial expenditures
c.  Any other resources/in-kind services
d.  Documentation of progress toward goals
e.  Description of future plans and changes in program
This information must be submitted every other spring, and the appropriate leaders will arrange for presentation for congregational approval at the May meeting.  This way the partnership is continually reviewed and re-established.

What has our involvement been with C2C in the past? 
Answer: Our past relationship was reviewed in detail in six chapters that came out in the mid-week updates in Spring 2012.  These are posted in the history section of our partnership page on the buf.orgwebsite.  After that, there are a series of blogs that describe the history of the partnership’s work.  Also, there is an annual report posted every year reviewing that year’s work.

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