March 27-28th Management Meetings with the GBC

Present: GBC members, INMV Board of Directors and ECOV (GEETA) board members.

The first day of meetings began with a progress report from Ramesvara Prabhu and Gaura Shakti Prabhu regarding the Palace renovations. A local architectural firm had been hired to prepare concept drawings, and expand them into construction documents and construction specifications. Due to the large scope of the project and the high cost of doing the work, the project has been divided into several phases, each with its own budget.

The discussion was focused on the first two aspects of Phase 1 renovation, both of which are meant to solve the problem of water damage. Several attempts have been made in the past to repair the roof but there is still major water leakage, both in the temple room and in the courtyard/gift shop areas. Although the overall project will cost over 5-6 million, and take many years to complete, the initial work to stop the leakage will cost approximately $400,000. The devotees spent considerable time discussing how to raise funds for this endeavor and whether to make the project a priority within the community. Included in the discussion was how the devotees themselves could do as much of the Palace renovation work as possible while maintaining a quality standard that will sustain Srila Prabhupada’s Palace well into the future.

The Palace discussion was followed by a brainstorming session on Community Vision and Planning. The New Vrindaban Community has immense potential and many aspects of the community are underdeveloped. The goal of the new Community Vision and Planning Team will be to involve community members, using their various skills and propensities, along with creating an overall integrated plan.

Chaitanya Mangala and Madhava Gosh Prabhus presented a compilation of quotes from Srila Prabhupada outlining his vision for New Vrindaban. The main points from these quotes were expanded into the following main categories: cow protection, agriculture and food production/storage, sustainability, education, outreach, new temple construction, the Palace, deity worship, land and housing for devotees, guest services, devotee care, economic development, asset protection, and art/culture.

Three devotees accepted the task of heading up this planning team. They are Daivirya Prabhu, Gaura Shakti Prabhu and Soma Prabhu. Since this is a very large undertaking the Board of Directors requests that devotees come forward to offer assistance to this start-up team.

The first phase of the Community Vision and Planning Team will be to interview all the community members to ascertain everyone’s personal realizations of how they want to see the community develop. By combining that list and filtering it through the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, they will be able to offer the community and board a prioritized list of projects for the immediate needs, mid-range (2-5 years) and long term goals. Included in the survey will be questions to determine what aspects of the rebuilding of New Vrindavan are of particular interest to each devotee and how they would like to be involved.

This first report by the Vision and Planning Team will be offered within three months with progress reports coming to the board every two weeks leading up to and following the initial report. The second phase will involve developing a plan to address the prioritized goals and to design a working but flexible model showing how New Vrindavan will look in the future

After discussing the financial needs of the Palace renovation project, a preliminary list was made of projects in the temple area that require immediate attention. This list was based on the realizations of those in attendance but requires the input of the community members before it can be completed. This includes the lodge roof, cabin remodeling, water infrastructure, temple renovations, lodge renovations, liability insurance, school upkeep and maintenance, tax case settlement, additional payments to the Palace architects and electrical infrastructure upgrades. All of these items when combined with the Palace renovations presented serious budgeting challenges.

There were also discussions of projects that could begin immediately as the monetary requirements were minimal. These included but were not limited to; a room in the temple for hospice, a room in one of the surrounding buildings for a clinic, an area in the upper garden for individual plots for those living around the temple that would like to have a personal garden.

Some of the meeting time was spent exploring the various legal corporate structures that could be utilized by both ISKCON and ECOV (GEETA) to insure continued tax exemption, legal compliance, and to protect the assets of the corporations. The board will be seeking legal advice before making any final decisions in this regard.

In conclusion, ECOV (GEETA) offered to sponsor a fund-raising capital campaign that would provide money for the Palace renovation. Both the INMV board and the ECOV (GEETA) board made solid commitments to work together and move forward to accomplish these challenging goals.

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