SAA Fiscal Year Budget Request

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Elizabeth Guerriero said: Jul 12, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Dear Suzuki Association of the Americas and CEO, Tonight in the annual meeting, you did not present the finalized FY20 budget nor did you present the proposed FY21 budget. Please present that to the membership so we may view it for accountability and transparency. Sincerely Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Jul 19, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

It has been one week and I am circling back with this formal request for a finalized FY20 and proposed FY21 budget. Please make these documents transparent and accountable to the membership as soon as possible. Thank you!

Sincerely, Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D.

Carole Kane said: Jul 20, 2020
Carole Kane
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Chesterfield, MO
16 posts

Why the delay? Surely these documents were ready at the Annual Membership Meeting. Dr. Geurriero’s request is valid and the membership would like to see the finalized budget.

Jennifer Hancock said: Jul 21, 2020
Jennifer Hancock
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Mebane, NC
5 posts

It would be great to have the budget, and also where can one find the minutes to the 7/17 board meeting? I did a quick search and the most recent minutes posted on the web are from 2011.

Thanks for making these documents available soon.

Warmly,
Jenn

MaryLou Roberts said: Jul 21, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

When my son was 5, a bunch of the neighborhood kids came over to our yard to play. It was fun, chaos, and my son fell on a tree root and broke his forearm, it was visibly bent. On our way to the emergency room, I grabbed a box of crackers because it was near lunchtime. On our way to the car, in a hurry, sobbing son in arms, a neighbor boy asked for some of the crackers. On any other day it would have been a fine time to share, but in this context, all I could quickly say was that my son was hurt and we needed to go quickly to the doctor.

It is legal to ask for budgets and tax information. The EIN is publicly available. The irs.gov web site can be accessed. They say they are behind in their processing and listing.

In the context of this time, is this the most important priority? I support the SAA in dealing with crucial issues at this time.

Esther Fellows said: Jul 21, 2020
Esther FellowsTeacher Trainer
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Mounds, OK
152 posts

Thank you MaryLou. Your remarks are appreciated!

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Jul 21, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Thank you for your email, MaryLou. Given the timing of the fiscal year, yes, yes it is. 

Ms. Fellows, 

I have reached out to you several times requesting the budget information and as you are Suzuki Association of the Americas Board Secretary, am asking again for you to please release this information to the membership for the FY20 and FY21 budgets in the name of organizational transparency and accountability. 

I have viewed the organizational 990s for the past several years. Here is the link for anyone who would like to see them: https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/222192686

**I would like explanation of the 2017 SAA TRAVEL EXPENSES: $231,054 (or 18.3% of the budget), a year in which just $928 was spent on staff development.*** That is the equivalent of 2,888.175 members dues spent on TRAVEL.

I would like to know how much of the FY20 budget was spent on travel and staff development and how much of the FY21 budget is planned to spend on TRAVEL, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) and other staff development.

It is imperative that these budgets are accounted for to the membership and key stakeholders,  for FY20 and FY 21, every penny. Every organization has a working budget, one that should be able to be sent with just one click. These are reasonable asks, per my conversation with Kay Collier McLaughlin last week. 

I support the SAA in dealing with crucial issues at this time, which is why I’m asking for the full organizational budgets, as I have previously asked for strategic and crises plans with no responses. Sincerely,

Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D.

Esther Fellows said: Jul 21, 2020
Esther FellowsTeacher Trainer
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Mounds, OK
152 posts

Hello to all on this forum. Thank you for your kind words MaryLou. During this time, when we on the Board are all receiving over 1,000 emails per week, kind words are deeply appreciated.

To Jennifer Hancock, either you have received misinformation, or you have a misunderstanding about committees. There was no Board meeting on 7/17/20, but rather a Tea with TDAC meeting. At the Annual Meeting, which is posted on the website along with numerous other Annual Meetings, we explained the different types of committees that exist. There are Board committees, SAA committees, and ISA committees. TDAC is an SAA committee. Again, you can get that explanation from the Annual Meeting, to which I refer you.

Also, during the Annual Meeting, Michael Bogomolny thoroughly explained where the SAA monies are going, what we are doing to meet the current needs of our members, to keep our communications open with our membership, and to continue to provide the services everyone has come to expect from the SAA. 

To Beth Guerriero and Carole Kane, regarding the finalized FY20 and proposed FY21 budget, Ms. Guerriero, you have mentioned several times in your postings, emails, and forums, that you have seen our 990s on Guidestar. Yes, they are available for anyone to see. I’d like to point out that on top of the first page of the 990 next to “A”, as well as on Schedule D-Additional Data, it states that the Fiscal Year is from August 1-July 31. The Fiscal Year under normal circumstances is not yet over. We all know that this has not been a normal year. Just to clarify, with Covid19, racial unrest, cancelling the Conference twice, institutes all over the country being cancelled or postponed until next year, putting Suzuki Online Seminars together and getting them online, establishing a scholarship for BPOC, the TDAC committee working to make a way for Teacher Training to be done effectively online and in the spirit of Suzuki, not to mention answering a myriad of emails, our work is not done. There is still money to be refunded to parents, students, and teachers who had planned to attend the Conference before it was cancelled. Negotiations with the Hilton are ongoing. Considering that we have had three video meetings with approximately 800 attending, did the first virtual Annual Meeting, have scheduled for Sunday a DEI training for members of the leadership, and are in process on finding a person for DEI training on a broader basis, as well as all that is listed above, our work for the last two months is stellar. 

We the Board have been over all the financials with Pam Brasch in the Board meetings. I can tell you that it all adds up. Every meeting is spent checking to see how our goals of the SAA are being reached. We study the financial figures and ask questions to find out where funds are going. Every time we have received financial paperwork, it has been in order. At this point, you have to trust the people who have been interviewed, shared their bios on the website for all to view, and then elected by the membership. You think that your demands are to make us more transparent. We are transparent. 

The SAA is incredibly fortunate to have Pam Brasch as CEO. She is a truly gifted human being, whose drive is to serve this organization with all that she has in her. I cannot speak too highly of her. She uses her brilliance and seemingly boundless energy to make the SAA function as it does, all with an attitude of grace and service. It has been my great privilege to be on the Board, working with her.

Carole Kane said: Jul 22, 2020
Carole Kane
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Chesterfield, MO
16 posts

Hello, Mrs. Fellows and SAA members,
Thank you for that explanation. I am wondering if it would not make more sense to hold annual meetings to coincide with the release of the fiscal year budget? We are not attacking, only looking for answers and transparency.
Carole

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Jul 22, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Dear Ms. Fellows,

HOW the money is spent is a core issue for WHY the Suzuki Association of the Americas is in a crisis of its’ own making regarding budget, continued deep racial inequity and online training. What is the SAA hiding? Without full transparency and accountability, supported by budget numbers, many of the members have little confidence in and will likely not renew memberships. Let me add, the ProPublica and Guidestars are out of date in that the most recent ones are 2017 (not 2018 or 2019). Please direct me to where I can find the 2018 because it is not up to date on those sources.

There are reasonable questions that the board has failed to answer for the membership. Again, these come from my discussion with trusted colleagues within the Suzuki community:

  1. Explanation of the the 2017 Budget: The 2017 SAA TRAVEL EXPENSES show an expense of $231,054 (or 18.3% of the budget), a year in which just $928 was spent on staff development (including Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access training). That is the equivalent of 2,888.175 members dues spent on TRAVEL. It is INSANE that that much of our dues go towards travel. Please explain that to the membership. 

  2. I understand that some of the FY 20 budget is not complete, but a working budget will suffice. How much of the FY20 budget was spent on travel and staff development?

  3. How much of the planned/projected FY21 budget is to be spent on TRAVEL, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) and other staff development?

  4. The FY 20 and FY21 Budgets MUST be released to the membership as soon as possible. 

Ms. Fellows, when you hold an annual meeting and don’t discuss Annual Budget with the membership, you are specifically NOT transparent or accountable. 

 Further, there are issues with the size, diversity, and functions of the board as it is, as have been discussed in other forums and with the board itself in previous communications. As has been noted in a previous discussion, the SAA has never had a Black board member since it’s inception in 1972 and just one Black teacher trainer ever. These horrifying statistics coupled with the recent events of Eric Davenport continue to make the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the training-granting institution for Suzuki education not just an unwelcoming place, but often, a hostile environment for our colleagues of color, many of whom were upset by a speech recently given by the Board president. On a daily basis, I continue to defend Suzuki pedagogy, philosophy and education with every breath of my being, but a distinguished music education professor and colleague recently said to me, publicly, regarding Suzuki education, “Teaching music exclusively by White classical composers may not make you racist, but if you’re racist and looking for a pedagogy, one that requires this might look appealing.” Asking for trust in the board right at this moment is absurd. Providing facts, however, is reasonable. 

Ms. Fellows, at the end of the day, I’d just like to know how the Suzuki Association of the Americas is re-appropriating the FY21 budget to support Black and Brown voices, especially given stories like that of the Parker Elementary Suzuki Strings, a group of public school Suzuki children who fundraised thousands of dollars twice to go to the SAA Conference whose students were marginalized to perform on the floor and as background music(Zoom Call 6/7/2020). Membership deserves to look at the entire organizational picture. It’s a basic request. Because, again, due to things like the SAA 2017 $231,054 TRAVEL expenditures, right now, Every Child Can Not.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

MaryLou Roberts said: Jul 22, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

Dear Dr. Guerriero,
I would like to call for honesty in communication as we as a group work through the many challenges that have arisen. Taking a new way of thinking about Black Lives Matter, we can and will become better.

Please be accurate. While it is true that financial information is supposed to be made public, your statement like this one contains many inaccurate and fear based accusations:
“HOW the money is spent is a core issue for WHY the Suzuki Association of the Americas is in a crisis of its’ own making regarding budget, continued deep racial inequity and online training.”

How the money is spent has been very frugal from what I have seen and continue to see. Is it travel costs? From what I know, the SAA covers transportation to Board meetings, TDAC meeting, some teacher trainers to Latin America, ISA meetings, clinicians, speakers…all things that support everyone in the SAA. I have witnessed several times these extraordinary members paying their own transportation as a gift to us all.

Continued deep racial inequity: we have a new committee to help with racial equity, so the SAA is doing something about it. The board just shared something about racial awareness training for many SAA leaders and staff; plus most of us are covering the cost ourselves. Online training is currently being planned and formed by the TDAC committee which I am a part of. Please be patient!

This guilty until proven innocent approach is disrespectful of all the members who have helped and worked so hard. In assuming the worst, you are being irresponsible. Insults are not an ethical way to work for any group, but especially Suzuki teachers who are supposed to be role models for their students.

Please be legal. The words “Every Child Can” are a core value of the SAA and it has a trademark which you are violating in the repeated use of “Every Child Can’t”. It is degrading to our goals, and sacrifices our beautiful statement which could be heard as inclusive and encouraging. Please use the term for what it was intended for: offering opportunity for the development of every child who works with the help of parents, listening to music and participates in community. If you want to create a program so that children without the income to support this opportunity have the possibility, then great! Do it! If you want to nominate a Black member for the Board, great! Do it! Whatever you do, do it constructively please!

Beth Cantrell said: Jul 22, 2020
Beth CantrellTeacher Trainer
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
212 posts

Indeed!
Thank you, Ms Roberts.

Beth Cantrell

Betsy Stocksdale said: Jul 22, 2020
Betsy Stocksdale
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Baltimore, MD
13 posts

Hip Hip Hooray, Esther! I am deeply concerned about the depths to which many Suzuki teachers have plunged lately. Very poor behavior has been exhibited, and it continues to upset and embarrass me. Honestly, I’m rather shocked.

Perhaps we need a course in ethics following our Every Child Can course. Even though the philosophy is clearly and strongly presented in the ECC course, and throughout all the courses I’ve taken, it seems to be necessary to reinforce it in a course of its own.

Hoping for better,

Betsy, Suzuki teacher since 1981 and zealous follower of Suzuki’s philosophy.

Jennifer Hancock said: Jul 22, 2020
Jennifer Hancock
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Mebane, NC
5 posts

HI Esther. Thanks for your speedy response, I did indeed use the wrong terminology and grateful to see that the Annual Meeting is posted. I look forward to watching and hearing about our current events first hand.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Jul 22, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Dear SAA Board President Beth Cantrell,

What is the SAA hiding? Release the FY20 and FY 21 budgets.

Ms. MaryLou Roberts questioned my numbers on the previous posting regarding the TRAVEL expenditures, calling them “inaccurate and fear-based” however they are directly from the public 2017 990s of the organization: p. 10 Line 17 TRAVEL: $231,054; Line 24C Staff Development: $928. That is the equivalent of 2,888.175 members dues spent on TRAVEL (or over 18% of the entire organization budget that year!). The membership is owed an explanation for this exorbitant amount. Link Here: https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/222192686/08_2019_prefixes_20-22%2F222192686_201807_990_2019080916559270

A call for transparency and accountability is reasonable, appropriate, and equitable. What does the SAA have to hide? How will the FY 20 and FY 21 budgets specifically be reallocated to undo the systemic racism occurring in the SAA? Release the FY20 and FY21 budgets. 

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

MaryLou Roberts said: Jul 22, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

I didn’t challenge the numbers, (I did the math)….the inaccurate and fear based stuff is what I challenged and explained briefly. You miss quoted me!

Sheryl Shohet said: Jul 23, 2020
Sheryl ShohetInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Waipahu, HI
14 posts

Bravo to our SAA leadership, and to Mary Lou Roberts who spoke so eloquently about their work. I don’t see any evidence that the SAA is in a “budget crisis” or any other kind of crisis. Ms. Guerriero, I looked carefully at the 47-page tax return and was not surprised by any of its numbers. This organization provides and supports training to many remote areas of the Americas and has Board members from all over the country who come together several times a year for very long and intense meetings, so I would expect large travel expenditures. Our Board members give generously of their time, resources, skills, and creativity. None of their actions need further explanation.

I have been a member of SAA for over 40 years and have seen our Board and our CEO consistently rise to meet every challenge with grace, impeccable timing, and good sense, all the while being transparent, accountable, reasonable, and definitely equitable and inclusive. I enjoy the journal, the training courses, the conferences and the leadership retreats that this organization makes possible. I have been positively impressed while seeing the Board in action many times, always enjoying their educational and well-organized presentations. I was once again impressed with the entire Board at our membership meeting last Sunday, when we learned of the wonderful training on racial awareness that has been planned by our new committee and is happening soon or even NOW. I was pleasantly surprised by the brilliant formulation of the SOS training courses so quickly after COVID-19 canceled institute training, and I loved all 4 courses I took as a result.

I treasure and value our SAA Board members, as does every SAA member I have met, and not one of us would ever consider attacking them. The many hundreds of Suzuki teachers that I know are positive, uplifting people. We prefer to focus on improving our skills, teaching our students, and making this world a better place.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Jul 23, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Dear SAA Board of Directors and CEO/Executive Director Pam Brasch,

The SAA membership is owed an explanation of WHO, WHERE, HOW and WHY over 18% of the 2017 organizational budget ($231,054 or equivalent of 2888.175 membership dues) went to TRAVEL. That year, just $928 went to staff development. 

The SAA’s continued refusal to release the budgets or explain these numbers is unacceptable. Why does the Board and senior leadership including teacher trainers and institute directors tell membership to “trust” with no reasonable explanation? Does the SAA want real institutional change, open communication and clarity? Refusal to release the budget to show allocation of significant funds towards Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEAI) work is performative allyship and a disservice to all members and the greater community.

This is a call for basic organizational transparency and accountability because the SAA did not provide their FY 20 and FY 21 projected budgets at the annual meeting, a standard for nonprofits. Release the budgets and answer the questions listed above.  Show in a positive way how the SAA is re-appropriating the insanely massive TRAVEL budgets or other budgets to better serve BIPOC members and all membership so that future generations can say every child can instead of every child CANNOT.

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

The Suzuki Association of the Americas said: Jul 24, 2020
The Suzuki Association of the Americas
Suzuki Association Member
22 posts

To: SAA Members

The following is information regarding the Travel expenses recorded in the SAA’s 2017 Form 990.

The 2017 990 reported the Association’s activities for the fiscal year that ran from August 1, 2017, to July 31, 2018.

“Travel” (Part IX, line 17) is a broad category, encompassing many of the activities in which our internationally-focused organization engages.

2018 was an SAA Conference year; our 18th Conference was held in May of 2018. The Travel category includes travel and travel-related expenses, meeting expenses including guest rooms and meals, A-V, equipment rentals, and all miscellaneous facility costs. In addition, the Travel expense category also includes all catered events, costs of all facilities utilized (in the case of our 2018 event—Orchestra Hall, Westminster Church, Minneapolis Convention Center, and the Hilton Minneapolis), as well as travel and associated costs of all guest performers and guest masterclass clinicians.

73% of the $213K Travel expenses were Conference-related costs. These costs were held to strict standards and carefully monitored to align with a limited budget based on modest Conference registration and participation fees. (It can be noted that Conference expenses were fully covered by Conference registration/participation fees and sponsorships.)

Overall breakdown of Travel was as follows:

  • Conference – 73%
  • SAA Board travel and related expenses—12%
  • Trainers’ travel expenses for SAA-supported Teacher Development courses in Latin America—6%
  • Travel and meeting expenses for other committees (7%)
  • SPA Trainer costs (2%)

The 2018 Form 990 for August 1, 2018-July 31, 2019 has been submitted to the IRS and should be released on Guidestar in the coming months.

—Pam Brasch, Executive Director

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Jul 30, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Dear SAA Board of Directors and CEO/Executive Director Pam Brasch,

Thank you for addressing the 2017 TRAVEL Budget. It is understandable that much of the budget is conference related. It is important for the SAA to be a healthy organization and to be able to grow financially, and in members. Having worked in the nonprofit sector as a development director, and currently as a strategic planning and development consultant for several nonprofits, follow-up questions remain: 

1)  Please clarify that Paragraph 5  in your above email is a typo and the SAA is referring to the $231,054 TRAVEL expense (not $213K). 

  1. Confirm the following in dollar amounts:
  •     SAA Board Travel and Related Expenses: $27,726.48 (12%) Please offer further DETAILED explanation of these expenses. 

  •     Travel and meeting expenses for other committees: $16,173.78 (7%) Please offer further DETAILED explanation of these expenses.

  1.      “To demonstrate their commitment to the organization, board members should volunteer their time, assist in ensuring external sources of funds, and give financially to the organization.” (The Colorado Nonprofit Association “Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado” document, on p. 40, No. 13) https://coloradononprofits.org/sites/default/files/attachments/PRINCIPLES%20%26%20PRACTICES%204th%20EDITION.pdf).  All SAA Board members should decline accepting any travel reimbursements from the organization, a best-practice among non-profit boards unless under severe financial hardship. For FY 21 and forward, SAA Board members should self-fund all travel and grow and diversify the board by profession, racial diversity and actual size (Colorado Nonprofit Association p. 41, No. 23). Money previously spent on SAA Board Travel and related expenses should be reallocated towards new Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion initiatives for the Suzuki Association of the Americas (Colorado Nonprofit Association, p. 42, No. 28). 

  2. Strategic Plan: “Nonprofit planning should be proactive rather than reactive. It should incorporate evaluation results and periodic analysis of community needs.” (The Colorado Nonprofit Association, p. 55, “Strategic Planning: Principles”).  I am following up to my previous request on June 10, 2020 for a copy of the SAA’s Strategic Plan. Please provide a copy of this plan. (p. 57 “Strengthening Relationships.” Demonstrate the SAA’s long-term commitment to Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEIA) to membership by releasing the Strategic Plan to the membership. 

It is expected and reasonable that the Suzuki Association of the Americas release the FY20 working budget and the proposed FY21 budget and Strategic Plan to demonstrate how the SAA is committing spending funds (Colorado Nonprofit Association p. 8, No. 8 “Open Communication”). “A nonprofit must openly communicate the annual reporting information contained on its Form 990 to constituents and others who request such information (IRC § 6104; 990). In addition, nonprofits should share, at least annually, an overview of data regarding sources of revenue, functional expenditures, and related outcomes. This is often presented within an annual report.” The last annual report received by the membership from the SAA was in 2006; a Strategic Plan has never been released.

Show the members that it is worth renewing our memberships. Present the FY20 working and FY21 proposed budgets with dedicated funds and Strategic Planning spent on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA). Such funds re-appropriated will deepen the organization’s commitment to DEIA work, and could even include hiring a part-time staff member or support expanded consulting with DEIA professionals.  This demonstrated re-appropriation of funds will support our Black and Brown colleagues, and encourage new colleagues to join Suzuki teaching, and the SAA, and strengthen our profession. Most importantly, build our trust with accountability and transparency. 

Sincerely, 

Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D.

Pam said: Jul 30, 2020
Pam Hatley
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Pittsboro, NC
15 posts

Dear Ms. Guerriero,

How marvelous you have tremendous gifts, abilities and experience to lend our SAA. As was mentioned before, perhaps you will consider joining them snd working in partnership? As a Suzuki teacher and former pastor, may I say, there is no need to spread words inciting divisiveness or insinuations. Please do not assume I or anyone else considers the SAA Board lacking in transparency. Again, if you feel it would be helpful, please do consider partnering with them, but not attacking them. If you truly feel there needs to he corrections, please contact them directly without posting to the entire organization. It is disheartening to read your accusations.

Blessings,
Pam

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Jul 31, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Dear Ms. Hatley,

It was lovely to see you on the Suzuki In the Schools session last night! There is a convenient, large gray button for you to click to Unsubscribe to not read messages to this post if it’s not to your personal liking. It was the SAA Board’s advice from the General Meeting (7/12/2020) to post to this SAA Forum.

Sincerely, Dr Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Dear SAA Board of Directors and CEO/Executive Director Pam Brasch,

Thank you for addressing the 2017 TRAVEL Budget. It is understandable that much of the budget is conference related. It is important for the SAA to be a healthy organization and to be able to grow financially, and in members. Having worked in the nonprofit sector as a development director, and currently as a strategic planning and development consultant for several nonprofits, follow-up questions remain: 

1)  Please clarify that Paragraph 5  in your above email is a typo and the SAA is referring to the $231,054 TRAVEL expense (not $213K). 

  • Confirm the following in dollar amounts:

  •     SAA Board Travel and Related Expenses: $27,726.48 (12%) Please offer further DETAILED explanation of these expenses. 

  •     Travel and meeting expenses for other committees: $16,173.78 (7%) Please offer further DETAILED explanation of these expenses.

  •      “To demonstrate their commitment to the organization, board members should volunteer their time, assist in ensuring external sources of funds, and give financially to the organization.” (The Colorado Nonprofit Association “Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado” document, on p. 40, No. 13) https://coloradononprofits.org/sites/default/files/attachments/PRINCIPLES%20%26%20PRACTICES%204th%20EDITION.pdf).  All SAA Board members should decline accepting any travel reimbursements from the organization, a best-practice among non-profit boards unless under severe financial hardship. For FY 21 and forward, SAA Board members should self-fund all travel and grow and diversify the board by profession, racial diversity and actual size (Colorado Nonprofit Association p. 41, No. 23). Money previously spent on SAA Board Travel and related expenses should be reallocated towards new Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion initiatives for the Suzuki Association of the Americas (Colorado Nonprofit Association, p. 42, No. 28). 

  • Strategic Plan: “Nonprofit planning should be proactive rather than reactive. It should incorporate evaluation results and periodic analysis of community needs.” (The Colorado Nonprofit Association, p. 55, “Strategic Planning: Principles”).  I am following up to my previous request on June 10, 2020 for a copy of the SAA’s Strategic Plan. Please provide a copy of this plan. (p. 57 “Strengthening Relationships.” Demonstrate the SAA’s long-term commitment to Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEIA) to membership by releasing the Strategic Plan to the membership. 

It is expected and reasonable that the Suzuki Association of the Americas release the FY20 working budget and the proposed FY21 budget and Strategic Plan to demonstrate how the SAA is committing spending funds (Colorado Nonprofit Association p. 8, No. 8 “Open Communication”). “A nonprofit must openly communicate the annual reporting information contained on its Form 990 to constituents and others who request such information (IRC § 6104; 990). In addition, nonprofits should share, at least annually, an overview of data regarding sources of revenue, functional expenditures, and related outcomes. This is often presented within an annual report.” The last annual report received by the membership from the SAA was in 2006; a Strategic Plan has never been released.

Show the members that it is worth renewing our memberships. Present the FY20 working and FY21 proposed budgets with dedicated funds and Strategic Planning spent on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA). Such funds re-appropriated will deepen the organization’s commitment to DEIA work, and could even include hiring a part-time staff member or support expanded consulting with DEIA professionals.  This demonstrated re-appropriation of funds will support our Black and Brown colleagues, and encourage new colleagues to join Suzuki teaching, and the SAA, and strengthen our profession. Most importantly, build our trust with accountability and transparency. 

Sincerely, 

Elizabeth M. Guerriero, Ph.D.

Carole Kane said: Jul 31, 2020
Carole Kane
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Chesterfield, MO
16 posts

Hello SAA Board and All,

I think this has been more than enough back and forth. As a paying member supporting the SAA Dr. Guerriero is rightfully entitled to ask these questions. She has been direct and to the point, not accusatory. The Board, however, has been deflective. If the budget checks out you have no reason to feel attacked. Just release the documents in detail so we can either move on or address any issues that arise.

Thanks,
Carole Kane

Kathleen Moser said: Jul 31, 2020
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Jeffersonville, PA
9 posts

Thank you for the info about the grey button! I had not noticed it before!!

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 1, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

I disagree with the following statement from Dr. Guerriero:
“All SAA Board members should decline accepting any travel reimbursements from the organization, a best-practice among non-profit boards unless under severe financial hardship”.

Some boards do not meet 4 times per year as ours does, and from great distances. One of those times is the conference/retreat, which if I remember correctly, is not reimbursed. Some members of the board do not accept reimbursement if they don’t need it as I observed, however, it is voluntary. I believe we risk having an elitist board if we appear to make it hard or awkward to get financial reimbursement for travel. The board donates so much of their time and energy already, only half the work is done at the meetings. It is a wonderful way to equitably support our hard working board.

I disagree with the command listed here by Dr. Guerriero:

“Demonstrate the SAA’s long-term commitment to Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEIA) to membership by releasing the Strategic Plan to the membership.”

Non profits have a right to operate differently, and respond to their unique mission. There are a myriad of ways to contribute. The SAA has the right to choose, and not be commanded to do so. Imagine how many students we would each have if we command them in such a way. Just as our teachers vary in their ways, the SAA should be allowed to follow a creative path.

This statement is misinformed: “Show the members that it is worth renewing our memberships.”

In every Journal, there is a last page indicating what the SAA membership provides. Just because it does not fit into Dr. Guerriero’s own self stated plan does not make it ineffective. We allow for differences in teaching, I believe we are better as an organization when we also allow for differences between non profits.

Finally, this Forum is a place for discussion of Suzuki ideas. Discussion involves exploring ideas, not commanding others.

Does the SAA need a moderator for the Forum? Do inappropriate posts need to be public in order to be open minded? Do we need to take down inappropriate and uncivil posts? Many forums have a policy about the ethics of their posts. That is my wish.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 1, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Dear Ms. Roberts,

I wanted to update this forum because it’s so important to our ongoing conversation, on behalf of the board, did reach out. Below is my response to her and the full board, as she did not respond in this forum. It responds and clarifies many of your points below, particularly about best practices as listed in the Colorado Nonprofit document, listed point by point. That is a well-researched document that is frequently updated. The Suzuki Association of the Americas is a member, however the association has not received special recognition, something the association should be considering.

Ms. Roberts, all I have asked for is FY 20 and FY21 budgets, strategic plans and and annual report. These are best practices and standard procedures for nonprofits of any size, from $30,000 to $300 million. As an aside, I looked up the Guitar Foundation of America and see that their Board travel budget is reasonable, clearly explained on the 990 and transparent. :

Hello Beth, and all, 
It is understandable that with true financial hardship board members receive a reasonable reimbursement. However, nonprofit best practice dictates board members do not accept large reimbursements, as a key function of the board is to fundraise for the organization (Colorado Nonprofit p. 40 No. 14). If a board member fundraises just enough to cover self-travel, how does that serve the membership?  The SAA Board should work to reallocate most of the money currently being spent on travel to benefit the growth of programs, furthering the mission. These programs could be DEIA, Suzuki in the Schools, or other worthy endeavors.  A truly more inclusive board would include board expansion (expansion of profession, race, size (p. 40 No. 21)) beyond teachers with more diversity of incomes. Your board should include doctors, business people, homemakers, Suzuki parents, and others. It should grow in size and members. 

Beth C, your response is confusing because no answer has been provided regarding points 1, 2 and 4 to my email and requests for more information. Please clarify them: ” The only item that is comped by the SAA is event registration for retreats and conferences, a small portion of the expense of attendance.” So, in the 2017 Travel Budget, the $27,726.48 refers to conference registration fees only? It is confusing because the original response from the CEO/President seems like those conference fees were covered under the conference budget. My original questions require an answer. 

It is imperative that the FY20 and FY21 budgets and Strategic Plans be shared with the membership via a comprehensive Annual Report as per best practices in the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado (https://coloradononprofits.org/sites/default/files/attachments/PRINCIPLES%20%26%20PRACTICES%204th%20EDITION.pdf). A look through that document illuminates many other key elements in this document the SAA appears to be missing including succession planning (p. 40 No. 11) and communications (p. 12-13).

I care deeply about the Suzuki philosophy and pedagogy, and how it can impact many. The SAA as the training granting organization cannot continue to take small steps in performative allyship. How the means are enacted makes a difference in our ends. 

As I emailed Beth C and Winifred a few weeks ago, at this juncture, I believe the absolute best action the SAA can take is to be in contact with Madeline Crouch Inc, the fantastic consulting group based in Texas for outside support. I’m sure you’re aware that they manage the American Viola Society, the International Society of Bassists, NAMM and 30+ other international and national arts and music nonprofits in similar size, scope and scale as the SAA: https://madcrouch.com. Perhaps it’s worth reallocating some of your travel money there for peace of mind? Make the investment for outside support. 

Sincerely,

Beth Guerriero

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 1, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

Dear Ms. Guerriero,
Organizations operate differently. The GFA only has one in person meeting per year, during their annual Competition and Convention.

My point is that this is a Forum for Suzuki ideas on better teaching. the place for your requests is not on a public forum in my opinion. One would never call out to a student during a recital “Where is your assignment chart, did you practice every day?” and paste their name in public with these questions. While we might say this in private during a lesson, but in much more open terms, like “How many times did you listen this week? How did practice go this week?”

I understand your good intentions, however, one of the things I learned recently is that good intentions aren’t good enough. They can be just as harmful even if inadvertent.

Esther Fellows said: Aug 1, 2020
Esther FellowsTeacher Trainer
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Mounds, OK
152 posts

I am writing as a member of the SAA, not a Board member.

Before I joined the Board, I opened the Governing documents of the SAA, on the Board and Staff page of the SAA website. You could do this also, if you really wanted answers. 

Numerous people have tried to speak to your requests and help you to understand the structure of the SAA, which is a hybrid of a nonprofit. We function philosophically, which as a Suzuki teacher you ought to know. However, the only result of those discussions, emails and letters has been more public posts, designed to create division and discontentment among people who may not have the correct information. And you haven’t given correct information. The correct information can be found, if you want it.

It is not your job to tell the Board and CEO how to spend the money that has been garnered. Nor is it your job to tell us whether or not we should have our transportation paid for. Nor is it your job to say that money should be spent here or there. Only someone who is working in the accounting office can say how monies should be spent. If all of our approximate 7,000+ members decided to tell the CEO how to spend each dollar, nothing would get done. Pam Brasch has done a fantastic job for 30 years. As I have said before to you, there comes a point at which you must trust the Board and CEO if you are a member of the organization. 

Where is the evidence of your desire to build up the organization? Many people have responded to you, endeavoring to answer your questions. If you truly want to help, be constructive! I’ve never found help to come in the form of constant, reckless, and relentless attacks.

I am a member of the SAA.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 2, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Dear Ms. Fellows, Ms. Roberts, and All,

Respectfully, membership was asked by the Board (7/12/2020) during the Annual Meeting—an annual meeting which did not address the budget (Annual meetings, see Colorado Nonprofit p. 12-13, “Communication.”https://coloradononprofits.org/sites/default/files/attachments/PRINCIPLES%20%26%20PRACTICES%204th%20EDITION.pdf) *to post in this forum. Many members expected the board to address the budget at that meeting.  If a board member fundraises just enough to cover self-travel, how does that serve the membership?

This is a continued call for the SAA Board needs to release the FY20 and FY21 budgets and the organizational Strategic Plans to the membership at large.  Membership rightfully is entitled to this information. 

Ms. Fellows, I read through, yet again,  all the documents on the SAA website, so am requesting, to you member-to-member, to post here, explicit links to the documents I’ve requested: 1) the FY20 and FY21 Budgets, 2) the organizational Strategic Plans. Thank you. 

Ms. Roberts, There is no place in this forum that dictates topics are only regarding teaching and pedagogy. Does it serve the membership to “tell members” what topics can/cannot be discussed? It is titled “Suzuki Forum.” There is no better place to ask legitimate, well-researched and meaningful questions relating to specifics about membership dues, the board allocations for travel, and the lack of transparency for the FY20 and FY21 budgets. These are straightforward, reasonable questions vetted with senior Suzuki leadership before posting them here and sending them to the board.  Though I may sign these responses, I am voicing concerns of a significant portion of the membership.  

$27, 726.48 (still not confirmed by Ms. Pam Brasch, CEO/Executive Director) is about 2% of the organizational budget of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and is the equivalent of 346 membership dues. The unexplained $16, 173.78 (travel and meeting expenses for “other committees”) is another 202 membership dues. Two to three percent of an institutional budget is a tiny amount to be be allocated to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access programming and support. Perhaps the SAA Board should meet just once per year (like Guitar Foundation of America, the board Ms. Roberts serves on), and then shift to online, and re-allocate the funds. There are many ways to solve a problem.

Why would anyone give a single penny of donation to an organization that refuses to show stakeholders and membership annual reports and basic fund allocation, thoughtful and logical? More importantly, dedicate those funds, and membership dues to moving Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion work forward, best practices as dictated by the Colorado Nonprofit Association (p. 57). 

Why is the SAA so defensive; why does the SAA refuse to release the FY 20 and FY21 budgets? Where is the 2018 990 form (a violation of IRS guidelines)? Where are the organizational Strategic Plans? When will there be follow-up regarding Eric Davenport?  Ms. Fellows MEMBER, when will Ms. Fellows BOARD SECRETARY SHOW UP publicly and bring the board to answer the questions or command the CEO/executive director to do so?  Ms. Fellows, what in the heck is the shady terminology of a “hybrid of a nonprofit”?  Is this why the SAA is refusing to release the budgets and other information???

You can personally attack me for naming the misfires of the SAA all day long, but it’s a diversion to the ends, means and Policy Governance Model (Carver) failing the membership. As persons in Suzuki leadership, why not spend your energy rebuilding towards a better SAA to be more inclusive, more diverse and more equitable with 2-3% of the budget allocated towards better programs?

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero


Email response to the board, 7/31/2020
Hello Beth, and all, 

It is understandable that with true financial hardship board members receive a reasonable reimbursement. However, nonprofit best practice dictates board members do not accept large reimbursements, as a key function of the board is to fundraise for the organization (Colorado Nonprofit p. 40 No. 14). If a board member fundraises just enough to cover self-travel, how does that serve the membership?  The SAA Board should work to reallocate most of the money currently being spent on travel to benefit the growth of programs, furthering the mission. These programs could be DEIA, Suzuki in the Schools, or other worthy endeavors.  A truly more inclusive board would include board expansion (expansion of profession, race, size (p. 40 No. 21)) beyond teachers with more diversity of incomes. Your board should include doctors, business people, homemakers, Suzuki parents, and others. It should grow in size and members. 

Beth C, your response is confusing because no answer has been provided regarding points 1, 2 and 4 to my email and requests for more information. Please clarify them: ” The only item that is comped by the SAA is event registration for retreats and conferences, a small portion of the expense of attendance.” So, in the 2017 Travel Budget, the $27,726.48 refers to conference registration fees only? It is confusing because the original response from the CEO/President seems like those conference fees were covered under the conference budget. My original questions require an answer. 

It is imperative that the FY20 and FY21 budgets and Strategic Plans be shared with the membership via a comprehensive Annual Report as per best practices in the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado (https://coloradononprofits.org/sites/default/files/attachments/PRINCIPLES%20%26%20PRACTICES%204th%20EDITION.pdf). *A look through that document illuminates many other key elements in this document the SAA appears to be missing including succession planning (p. 40 No. 11) and communications (p. 12-13).

I care deeply about the Suzuki philosophy and pedagogy, and how it can impact many. The SAA as the training granting organization cannot continue to take small steps in performative allyship. How the means are enacted makes a difference in our ends. 

As I emailed Beth C and Winifred a few weeks ago, at this juncture, I believe the absolute best action the SAA can take is to be in contact with Madeline Crouch Inc, the fantastic consulting group based in Texas for outside support. I’m sure you’re aware that they manage the American Viola Society, the International Society of Bassists, NAMM and 30+ other international and national arts and music nonprofits in similar size, scope and scale as the SAA: https://madcrouch.com. Perhaps it’s worth reallocating some of your travel money there for peace of mind? Make the investment for outside support. 

Sincerely,

Beth Guerriero

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 2, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

Many Forums have stated rules and respectful inquisitive questions can be stated without the accusations, assumptions perpetuated by Ms. Guerriero. In the context of yelling text language, assumptions of suspicion, demanding proof of past posts is unproductive. Instead of dealing with the real questions, fear causes harm and confusion.

The basis of your “inquisition” is that you demand proof that the SAA will allocate 2 to 3 % of the next fiscal year 2020 budget to DEIA endeavors, yet it is already started. The lack of trust being displayed might be appropriate for the police brutality, it is not of that scope in the SAA from what I have seen. All organizations are committing to DEIA efforts in the future all over our country, including the SAA. The scope is enormous. It could be a time of renewal, clean-up and positive change. It could be that you are helping with resources and information sharing, idea sharing, and giving excellent examples. It could be that you highlight what other organizations are doing in different situations, not as a demand, but with the intention to help.

Board Linkage would be a wonderful addition to the SAA Forums page. The rules need to be present, because even Suzuki teachers tend to not use the Philosophy with other teachers (an area I would like to see explored). When you ask questions, I can see your point, but when you accuse, I see accusation first. If you have good points and information, then you don’t need to cajole the board and CEO in my experience. I find this group very good at seeing and listening to positive-intention ideas. Even in this emotional, changing time, we can do that if we think respectful, inquisitive communication is the goal.

I cannot find any requirement for non profits sharing budget proposals publicly for debate. I do think it is good to communicate more often, and I thought the recent newsletter from the Board was a god start. I would like to encourage more of this good communication.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 2, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Ms. Roberts, Ms Fellows and the SAA Board of Directors,

“Budgets are a moral issue.” I urge you to read and spend time carefully considering why releasing the FY20 and FY21 budgets to membership and allocating significant funds is important. This article is a start. (https://hyperallergic.com/577899/the-persistence-of-structural-racism-in-canadian-cultural-institutions/?fbclid=IwAR1XCNHaEjwMoBR-iuTcNgt7-SOXLyhDtfQ6Kdg1DCn95HcrPW_TSPr-7Y4)

Ms. Roberts, your statement: “lack of trust being displayed might be appropriate for the police brutality, it is not of that scope in the SAA from what I have seen” is deeply troubling as it silences the voices of our BIPOC colleagues and the very statements they made in the forums, online and over the past two months. I would argue that transparency and accountability from the budget, or “putting money where the mouth is” is a gigantic step in the right direction towards showing society how and why the SAA is taking appropriate significant meaningful steps and not just another arts organization showing performative allyship for a few key leaders. 

As per the Principles & Practice for Excellence in Colorado (https://coloradononprofits.org/sites/default/files/attachments/PRINCIPLES%20%26%20PRACTICES%204th%20EDITION.pdfp. 12-13, No. 17), the guiding document for best practice from the state of Colorado, from the organization that oversees nonprofits, communication needs to happen regularly with stakeholder (members) from the organization. Annual report content should include “overall financial information including income and expense statement, balance sheet and functional expense allocation, an explanation of the organization’s mission activities and impact; an explanation of the organizations’ outreach efforts and ways in which constituents may access the program and a list of board members, staff, volunteers, and when appropriate contributions.” Membership has not received an Annual Report since 2006. Strategic plans should be posted to the organizations website and public for all. These best practices help an organization to receive funds and increase successful programming.  

In the Annual meeting, 7/12/2020, membership was asked multiple times by Board members to make contributions. Why would members, stakeholders or anyone give to the SAA without a reasonable and meaningful accounting of the money? 

This is a continued ask for 1) The FY 20 and FY 21 budgets 2) the SAA Organizational Strategic Plan to be shared with membership. These documents need to reflect increased significant financial DEIA commitment to support our current and future Black and Brown colleagues. Our colleagues need support.   

Thank you. 

Dr. Elizabeth Guerriero

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 2, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

Not at all to silence important voices in the SAA by BIPOC members. To quote John Lewis….”When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”

— Lewis on seeking truth, justice, and equality

Please don’t put that comment in a “box” that doesn’t belong. I just see something that is not right, fair or just in the assumptions being made. I see that your idea is financial. Mine is Justice in communication.

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 2, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Ms. Roberts, and all,

“I see your idea is financial” is an assumption. The request for the budget to be released to membership is a reasonable request for accountability and transparency to further a more inclusive and equitable SAA, and actually relates to communication, finances, and a host of issues. Please further clarify your comment about the differences between the SAA and police brutality. What is not right is to ask for dues, donations and continued trust without clear explanation—an annual report—as to where the funds are going.

By having clear communication and not hiding, the SAA Board and CEO/executive director Pam Brasch can demonstrate commitment to DEIA progress and programs. This is a continued request to release the FY20 and FY21 budgets, publish the 2018 990 forms (under IRS guidelines) and share the organizational strategic plans. These are basic and necessary best practices as demonstrated in the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado, the guidelines for Colorado nonprofit associations (https://www.coloradononprofits.org/resources/principles-practices).

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth M. Guerriero

Carole Kane said: Aug 2, 2020
Carole Kane
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Chesterfield, MO
16 posts

Dear SAA Board Members,

Are you saying you refuse to release the financial documents Dr. Guerriero has requested? If not, then why the deflection, excuses, and defensiveness? All of the semantics back and forth from the SAA Board is only making the membership wonder. What is really going on?

Certainly, these are trying times and it’s understandable the SAA budget may have taken a hit due to the COVID cancellations. Just share with us where we are so we can help. It will be easier to support the Board if you are honest and transparent. Be accountable. Stop trying to hide the financials.

Dr. Guerriero seems to be just getting started in her pursuit of the truth. It’s all going to come out eventually. Why hide the documents from the membership? Let’s not forget why we are all here. Your lack of transparency is hurting Dr. Suzuki’s mission.

Sincerely,
Carole Kane

Kelly Williamson said: Aug 3, 2020
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
311 posts

First I would like to express gratitude to the moderators of this forum for not shutting down a difficult discussion. Sometimes the truth is not easily seen at first, but with time and careful examination it seeps through the cracks between people’s words.

Personally I have been watching this exchange and have been uncertain of what I could add that would bring any further clarity. I have heard several colleagues express discomfort at the tone of the discussion. I must say that for myself, any discomfort with perceived abrasiveness in the tone of Ms. Guerriero’s queries about expenditures is nothing to the extreme discomfort that I feel at seeing the actions of the SAA compared here with police brutality, or the words of Rep. John Lewis being quoted as they are above.

I don’t have ready words to explain those feelings. This is why I am looking to SAA to provide its leadership (especially) with the tools to engage in these discussions. With the tools to examine our own words and our own conduct and look for ways in which we can grow and contribute to the growth of the association. I believe that the following article sheds some light on what I would like to be able to say about this discussion. Additionally I can only say that I welcome the suggestion that SAA look at how funds can be reallocated so as to provide DEIA training for our entire membership, as soon as possible. We need this education, and society needs us to be thus educated.
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/martin-luther-king-jr-s-true-radical-legacy-being-whitewashed-ncna960756

Kelly

Esther Fellows said: Aug 3, 2020
Esther FellowsTeacher Trainer
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Mounds, OK
152 posts

Please see the About page of the SAA website; click the Board and Staff button. On the right hand side are the SAA Governing Policies. Policy 1.0 and descending points are the Ends of the SAA. The following policies are how we go about reaching those Ends and how the board monitors the work.

Carole Kane said: Aug 4, 2020
Carole Kane
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Chesterfield, MO
16 posts

Thank you, Kelly Williamson, for your thought-provoking yet subtle response.

It saddens me to see the Suzuki Association of the Americas’ attempts to hide and whitewash the systemic racism that has persisted in this organization for far too long; not to mention the clandestine activity surrounding the SAA budget and refusal to allocate adequate funds for DEI training for the Board and the entire membership.

“…too often the power of that legacy is used by white voices to minimize the systemic violence of racism, sow complacency and resentment at majoritarian sacrifice and to characterize the work of his life as complete rather than abandoned. Rather than shine a light on the ways our society has fallen short of its incredible promise, past and present, the brilliance of Dr. King’s aspirations are used to make invisible the perpetrators of common violence, the silent disapproval of white moderates and the disparities in income, housing, justice and mortality that have become no less acute with time.”

I’m sure Dr. Suzuki is silently weeping for the children and his legacy.

Carole Kane

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 4, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

Let’s come up with practical doable ideas moving forward.

To whitewash is a metaphor meaning “to gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data. 

Asking for respectful inquisitive and hard hitting questions is not the same as your fears of whitewashing.

The purpose of the Board meeting was decided upon by the Board. It did not include Ms. Guerriero’s agenda as stated:

“the annual meeting, you did not present the finalized FY20 budget nor did you present the proposed FY21 budget.”

This assumes that the Board did not follow this advice, yet, that is the right of the Board to do so.

Negative conclusions are stated as fact when they are not fact. This is untruthful, even if you want to explore the hard-hitting truth.
Ms. Guerriero stated:

“HOW the money is spent is a core issue for WHY the Suzuki Association of the Americas is in a crisis of its’ own making regarding budget, continued deep racial inequity and online training. What is the SAA hiding?” 

There are so many things wrong with this statement. There are multiple issues occurring all at the same time and that is our time. Crisis of its; own making? Deep racial inequity? Crisis about online training? Hiding things?

And by disagreeing with this loaded statement, or asking for civility is equated with whitewashing? Silencing? It is one tool that has been used to silence and make excuses, is that really the context here and now?

See the need for Justice, and do something about it. The budget is only a small part of this big picture. Ignoring actions being taken because of fear of downplaying problems is not the whole picture either. Suggest solutions.

Being proactive is the request: Which DEI training would be most relevant to the SAA? What needs to be tailored to our teaching? Why is practicing Justice not enough?

Is conflict management equal to whitewashing and downplaying a systemic race issue that is bigger than the SAA? To point this out is absolving the crisis?

A call for cooperation, understanding and “allyship” is needed.

To turn this around, let’s focus on tangible doable practical changes.
Let’s not repeat the same things over and over with no new light on the subject. Any one solution is not an end all solution. It will take multiple angles.

Right now, the load on the SAA is enormous: Online training, Pandemic, Racial tensions, Financial accountability, Listening to members in special meetings, Technology…the list goes on…what is needed is helpers!

And now, time to teach!

Betsy Stocksdale said: Aug 4, 2020
Betsy Stocksdale
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Baltimore, MD
13 posts

I am so distressed at this whole exchange. I do NOT believe that Dr. Guerriero represents a majority of the Suzuki teachers who are members of the SAA or even the majority that are on this forum. People who are as distressed as I am are quite unlikely to speak up.

These exchanges (excepting MaryLou Roberts calm and measured responses) are about as non-Suzuki as it gets. Dr. Guerriero is inciting much turmoil, and I am hereby calling for her to cease and desist, to take her issues offline.

The Board is tasked with enormous challenges right now, and I support them wholeheartedly. I believe strongly that our membership is NOT racist, that any perceived problems are minimal at best and can be addressed at the appropriate time and in a loving and kind way which provides all with comfort.

I do not believe the Board is hiding anything, nor do they wish to. They are overwhelmed. They are Suzuki teachers—do you not find being such as a full-time job? It astounds me that you have the time and energy left over to be so adamant and forceful. Truly.

Can you not let it be? Can you not wait patiently? Is there no way you can stop stating the same thing over and over like a petulant child? You have made your point. Sit back and watch it come to fruition in the fullness of time! You are corrupting this forum, which should be addressing issues that build us up as teachers, not take us down this ugly path!

Elizabeth Guerriero said: Aug 4, 2020
Elizabeth Guerriero
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Lawrence Township, NJ
25 posts

Ms. Roberts and Ms. Stocksdale,

In an effort to have a more productive and clear communication, I have written you each directly via your SAA email. Sincerely, Dr. Guerriero

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 4, 2020
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
303 posts

Here is an idea of what I am talking about. There are many others. If we study, could we come up with something designed for Suzuki Teachers? I think we can!

http://www.sphinxmusic.org/sphinx-call-to-action/

Thanks to everyone for your patience and willingness to be uncomfortable. This has been a long thread!

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