The Minuteman Foundation
"Oh, give me a home where . . . ."
Almost next to God and Motherhood, there stands Sun City's The Minuteman Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to financially supporting our Community in a variety of ways and, most importantly, is the sole financial support for our Community Service Club, currently headed by Roger Cooper. That later group attempts to meet the more pressing counseling, travel, medical equipment and household needs of our residents who are truly in need of assistance.
Clearly, there is nary a sole who would want to challenge the real needs of The Minuteman Foundation. However, recent events at the March Board meeting makes one think that the space currently being claimed by The Minuteman Foundation was in serious jeopardy. Can that be true? Apparently Favil West thinks so. As the President of The Minuteman Foundation, Mr. West would not have prevailed upon the members of the SCACAI Board to support the Foundation's 11th hour resolution to cast in stone the Foundation's claim to a certain space.
What resolution was that? For reasons which were not divulged to the standing room only audience, President Favil West included an interesting and somewhat troubling item on the March agenda. That resolution, tabled and carried over to the April Board meeting, would grant The Minuteman Foundation the space it would like to occupy in the Community Services Building (CSB).
The purpose of that resolution would have locked in a nice but significant block of space in the CSB for the exclusive use by The Minuteman Foundation. Such authority might not be a bad idea were it not for a variety of reasons, listed below, including the fact other program efforts contained within the CSB had to cut back their space needs by almost 50% from what had been originally requested of Pulte/Del Webb. But the real issue here, however, is one of who shall exercise ultimate control over the allocation of space in the CSB, the Association or the MMF.
As crafted, the MMF resolution given to the Board to adopt would have two adverse consequences for the Association. Those consequences would:
- Take away the authority of the Association to control its own space within the CSB; and
- Deny the Association the right to determine how best to use any portion of the space being claimed by The Minuteman Foundation to meet future Association or service group needs.
What are the space claims of The Minuteman Foundation? According to Chuck Davis, the Treasurer of the MMF, who spoke on this and related Foundation issues at the March meeting, the MMF space includes two offices and a conference room, as depicted below in the architects rendering, for a total of 438 sq. ft.
To see The MMF space within the entire Community Services Building, click here.
While we all acknowledge the good deeds of The MMF, we are mindful that The MMF is a separate legal entity that has no legal ties to or connections with the Association. While it provides financial support to the Community Service Club, the MMF operates apart from and independently of the CSC and the Association. The Foundation's sole purpose is to raise money in support of the elderly. It has it own president (Favil West) and a board of trustees, including their own website where documents, tax and financial data are readily accessible for all to see, using the Link below.
In addition to welcoming The MMF generous support, the Association wants to provide the Foundation with the space that is necessary to conduct their operations. While our Community is more than willing to provide the Foundation with the space it needs, the Foundation's concerns and request of the Association presents the Community with some unanswered questions.
- What are the space needs of the MMF?
- What is the best way to meet those needs?
- Should the Association (or the MMF) retain authority to control the space now being claimed by the MMF? And,
- Should the Association relinquish its right to control the space in the CSB being claimed by the MMF?
These are not unimportant issues. Three of the current Board members are Foundation trustees, Favil West, Bob Berman and Roger Cooper, who have recused themselves from any action on this matter. This leaves the fate of the Association's authority in the hands of Dea McDonald, David Weil, Kay Dwyer and Elaine Berg.
While I happen to believe that the Association should retain control over its own space, the four non-recused Board members appeared eager to relinquish such control to the Foundation.
Are there any arguments to consider that might warrant the Association retaining control over 438 sq. ft. of space? I believe so. They include:
- A block of 438 sq. ft. of space is a considerable amount of space.
- The space is strategically located where it can readily serve alternative needs.
- There is little evidence that the space is used by the Foundation, except for a 2-3 hour meeting once a month. Except for that once a month meeting, the Foundation appears to exist as a phantom organization. A block of 438 sq. ft. of space is a lot of space for a phantom organization that comes to life for a few hours once a month.
- The Association can easily satisfy the monthly meeting needs of the Foundation at numerous locations. There is no need to tie up 272 sq. ft. of meeting space in the CSB for a brief once a month meeting.
- Since the Foundation's conference room needs are so limited, control over such space (272 sq. ft.) should be at the discretion of the Association and not the Foundation. The mission and business of the Foundation is raising money, not allocating space that may on occasion be used to meet the needs of other groups, such as the Community Service Club. Those space allocation decisions are best handled by the Association, not the Foundation.
- There is some doubt about whether the Foundation actually needs two offices in the CSB comprising 166 sq. ft. The larger of the two offices appears to meet the record keeping needs for the storage unit, or it can serve as a personal counseling room for the service club use.
- The "office" needs of the Foundation may be best met by only one office.
- If the 60 sq. ft. office in the CSB is not sufficient to meet the "office" needs for the Foundation, there is the 150 sq. ft. office space located in the abandoned Information building that can meet this need.
- If the Foundation should elect to move to the Information building, the Association would have an opportunity to make productive use of 438 sq. ft. of space being vacated by the Foundation.
- The Association may have other more pressing needs to consider, not the least of which would be to correct the deletion of a needed bathroom in the Community Services Bldg., which convenience Mr. West so readily dismisses when the issue is raised.
I would hope the Board has other more urgent issues to consider than locking up unused and unneeded space for the use of The Minuteman Foundation.
Ron Johnson, 30 March 2007
For further information on The Minuteman Foundation, Inc., use this Link: http://www.theminutemanfoundation.org/
P. S. I do not wish to appear that I am being at all critical of The Minuteman Foundation, an organization I have supported from its inception. While I donate a nominal amount annually, that small amount would be equivalent to 1 million dollars annually if each household would consider contributing an equal amount. Together we can make a difference.