Chairman’s Executive & Financial Report
January 1 – December 31, 2014
FLMCC had a very interesting third year of activities with respect to our goal to bring, as far as our means would allow, necessary and urgent living assistance to financially-strapped families with children and to elders in need, in accordance with our Articles of Incorporation and our mission. 2014 saw an important expansion of our activities in collaboration with Michael’s Diner Corp in Miami, Florida, in terms of providing assistance to the less fortunate in the local community and in our holiday Turkey and Toy Drives. Our support base of regular contributors from the area of Queens, NY and elsewhere in the country also increased thanks to the clientele of Michael’s Diner and also to the customers of Smoke Signal Gems, as well as the participation of many other new individual donors, volunteers and supporters from all over. We want to take this opportunity to once more express our sincere and profound gratitude to all of these extremely generous people who contribute to FLMCC’s activities from the goodness of their hearts. We also want to thank the people who donated their time for sharing information, organizing, contacting, coordinating, preparing and shipping, as well as our contacts on the reservations, who brought urgent cases to our attention and who made sure the items shipped were distributed to the families who needed them. Finally, we also thank the people who individually assisted by personally shipping out goods directly to the addresses on our contacts list or making direct utilities payments. Without everyone’s team efforts, it would not have been possible to help as many families over the past year.
In 2014, FLMCC’s income from donations came to a total of $21,198, compared to $17,813 in 2013 and $13,229 in 2012. We are pleased to say that the 2014 figure even exceeded somewhat the provisional estimates for our third year. $10,307 of this total was in the form of cash contributions, a considerable increase compared to 2013 and which represented for the first time almost 50% of all contributions. The other half of the income came as before in the form of non-cash donations of gently-used, and in many cases even brand new or hardly worn, winter coats, clothes, shoes, scarves and bonnets, household equipment, baby food and needs, toiletries, non-perishable foodstuffs, school supplies and toys, etc. The Fair Market Value of these non-cash donations amounted to $10,891.
As provided for in our Articles of Incorporation, the financial assistance FLMCC provided in 2014 was for the greater part in the form of urgent propane, electricity and other utility payments, as well as in emergency funds for groceries and transport assistance to medical appointments. 30 families were directly assisted in this manner in 2014. Our seasonal Turkey Drive and Toy Drive held in collaboration with Michael’s Diner provided holiday cheer to a great many families and children in the North Miami community, and 15 vouchers towards the purchase of turkeys were also sent to families and elders on the Lakota reservations in South Dakota and the Navajo reservation in New Mexico.
While non-cash assistance continued to represent an important part of our activities, there was little remaining stock at the end of 2013. The non-cash articles that were distributed in 2014 thus came almost exclusively from the items donated in 2014. There were considerably fewer local pickups by church or other assistance organizations in the greater New York area compared to the previous years. Therefore, over half of the contributions were shipped for distribution to the Rosebud, Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge reservations and the Indian Child Welfare Program in South Dakota, and to the Navajo reservation. A great part of the other non-cash donations was distributed in the form of assistance in Miami and also as part of the holiday drives.
Due to the increase in the volume of items shipped, the related shipping and postage expenses increased proportionally, to $3159. FLMCC now has the advantage of reduced prices per volume offered by UPS, which thus allows us to ship a few more large boxes for the same amount of money. Nevertheless, as such shipments can be expected to continue, the budget for this post must be increased accordingly. Transfer and other financial fees also increased, to $208. Other expenses included $177 for consumables (printer ink, paper, envelopes…) and $541 for thank you gifts. As of December 31 we had a cash balance of $167 and a stock of goods awaiting distribution for a FMV of $3800.
For 2015 we have already launched a School Supplies Drive in collaboration with Michael’s Diner and an ongoing Blanket Drive, and other projects are currently under consideration. New contribution initiatives have also been set up, in collaboration with Tony’s Transmission in Queens, NY (donation of used cars) and through AMAZON Smiles. However, we have also begun to receive increasingly more requests for urgent rent assistance in order to prevent families from being evicted, in addition to our financial assistance with heating propane and electricity which has continued even after the winter months, as we gain more recognition for delivering service. Therefore, we hope that the level of current cash contributions can be maintained as far as possible, and we are continuing to seek new donations as well as the grants or corporate sponsorship that will ease the burden of our operating costs (in particular the shipping costs which now weigh considerably on the budget) so that we can at minimum conserve our present level of activity or take on new requests or projects as the need arises.
Although much of the assistance provided is indeed in winter, urgent situations arise all throughout the year and FLMCC intends to be ready to assist whenever needed, as far as possible. Our focus will continue to be assistance to less fortunate elders and families with children, and we look forward to continued growth in order to be able to set up and / or implement new ideas for manageable projects so that our assistance efforts may at minimum remain stable at the current level, and if possible be further expanded.