Monthly Archives: October 2014

2014, October 8 – Minutes

Minutes of the BOARD OF TRUSTEES

October 8, 2014

A meeting of the Peninsula Endowment Board of Trustees was held at the offices of Brown Adams, 2600 El Camino Real, Palo Alto on October 8, 2014.

The meeting was called to order by President Kohler at 10:28 am.

Present: Mmes. Dunham, Tedrow, Wilson; Messrs. Fowler, Kohler, Margulies and Waud.

Minutes. The minutes of the April 29, 2014 meeting were approved as presented.

Treasurer’s Report. The bookkeeper has completed the books for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years.  The results have been accepted by Brown Adams.  Several legal referrals have been received and an application to attend a free legal clinic sponsored by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley on October 24 has been submitted. The donation of $75,000 has been made to Learning Ally.

Our account balance at the end of September was over $3,554,000. The allocation was 59.5% equities and 40.5% bonds as of September 30.

Brown Adams is prepared to do a review for FY 2013.  The review can begin once meeting minutes and any agreements with Learning Ally are provided.

A motion was adopted to have Brown Adams perform the reviews for FY 2013 and FY 2014.

It was suggested that we schedule a quarterly phone conference with Vanguard to review the account performance and hold this call outside our regular meeting.

Marcus Lerman joined the meeting via phone to provide an update on the Vanguard account.  Marcus indicated that the account has performed as expected for the current calendar year.  The bond portion of the account has been slightly below the benchmark through the first three quarters.

Marcus indicated that quarterly conference calls to discuss the account are possible.  He will be in Palo Alto on January 28, 2015 so can meet in person.

Vanguard is transitioning the Peninsula Endowment account to the institutional account management side of the company.  There will be better reporting and more possibilities for customization.  There will be no change in cost. The goal is to complete the transition in the next month or so.

Learning Ally Update. Learning Ally has signed a new lease for space in Menlo Park, 431 Burgess Drive.  The last day of operation in Palo Alto is scheduled for November 6 and the studio is scheduled to begin operation in the new location the week of November 17.

Relationship with Learning Ally, Tax Status & Government Documents. It was proposed that no funding decisions be made at the meeting but that we focus on understanding the issues. Plans for further investigation should be carried out before our next meeting.

Receipt of the petition from Learning Ally volunteers was noted. The first signature on the petition was from Claire Small.

Fred held a discussion with an attorney with extensive nonprofit expertise.  The goal was to get an assessment of our legal status and our tax filing status.

It was noted that the articles of incorporation were revised in the mid-1990s to allow support for Recording for the Blind or similar organizations. It was also noted that our current documents should be updated.


Our current tax filing status is as a type III supporting organization (public charity.)  To meet the requirements for this filing status the organization must donate 3.5% of assets to a single organization being supported on an annual basis.  Alternatively, a private foundation requires a 5% annual distribution and there is a 2% tax on investment income.

The feeling was expressed that we don’t want to completely stop funding for Learning Ally given that Claire Small signed the petition presented by the volunteers.  One possible idea is to investigate the possibility of funding a program that supports services in our geographic area, similar to the current effort in Denver.

It was noted that our past decision regarding funding Learning Ally was that we would not make any long term funding commitment.

The question was raised whether we could continue as a public charity and support more than one organization without paying tax.

It was suggested that one of our efforts before the next meeting be to investigate the custom services offered by Silicon Valley Community Foundation. A meeting will be arranged with Silicon Valley Community Foundation before our next meeting to investigate the services offered.

There was general agreement that we don’t want to stop all funding for Learning Ally. It was agreed that we would send a response to the petition to the studio indicating that we had provided $75,000 of support this year and would be holding discussions at future meetings regarding future funding.

Our next meeting was set for January 28, 2015.

Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:35 pm.

Respectfully submitted by:

Greg Fowler, Recording Secretary