The meeting was called to order by ESK President Eva Varangu. The first order of business was to ratify the minutes of last year’s AGM. After minor changes, the minutes were approved and the meeting was turned over to ESK Treasurer Toomas Kütti.
He explained that donations fell 30% in the 2016 calendar year vs. 2015 ($96,746 vs. $136,921), investment income fell 38% ($206,564 vs. $127,780). For these reasons, ESK’s annual loss has increased to $166,937 (from $126,011 in the previous year). The shortfall has been covered by dipping into ESK’s capital reserve. Because of its suboptimal fiscal performance, ESK’s monetary support for Estonian activities decreased to $255,787 (from $313,777 in the previous year). The decline in donations is partly a consequence of ESK’s diminished fundraising activities in 2016, as well as a reflection of the ESK board’s time spent on the Estonian House renewal project. ESK’s financial picture is hopefully expected to improve this year due to four forthcoming bequests totaling approx. $500,000. ESK has also hired a full-time marketing manager, Andrea Hermann and ESK will be revamping its long-neglected website. Toomas Kütti assured those present that ESK’s capital reserve is sufficient to sustain the present negative fiscal trends for the next 10 to 15 years.
Eva Varangu announced the 2017 recipients of ESK scholarships. This year, the recipients are Miina Bergen, Teija Jõgi, Kristjan Naelapea, and Kairi Vaikla.
A moment of silence was held for donors who passed away in 2016.The meeting then elected Martin Pede and Maris-Ann Vanaselja as new directors of ESK and re-elected long-time director Lia Hess, all three by acclamation. Martin Pede and Maris-Ann Vanaselja replaced Toomas Kütti and Eevi Novek, who chose to not seek re-election. Toomas A. Koger was re-elected as the external auditor.
Responding to a question, Eva Varangu informed members that the current board has no plans to recruit people to the ESK board from Estonian communities elsewhere in Canada, even though ESK members have raised this subject repeatedly at ESK general meetings, primarily by representatives of the Montreal Estonian Society. It should be noted that donations are accepted from across Canada and ESK members can seek office regardless of their place of residence.
The ESK board then thanked all its workers, volunteers, former board members, and large donors.
New “Bronze” level donors Tauno and Maimu Mölder, who were present in the audience, were awarded the ESK donor pins.
A “Platinum” level plaque (the Platinum level is for those who donate $20,000 or more) was unveiled for the Estate of Albert Saarna.
New “Silver” level plaques were affixed for the Estate of Oswald Klimson, Sylvia and Leon Killen, In Memoriam Peeter Kopvillem (1954 – 2016), and Karin and Harry Rannala.
New “Bronze” level donors were Anne Liis and Väino Keelmann, Ivi Laurimaa, Ellen and Laas Leivat, Helgi Liinve, Maimu and Tauno Mölder, Jaan Pallop, Lilian and Ants Puust, Elle and Mart Rosenberg, Eero Tamm, and Salme Vesi.
There were no questions from the floor regarding other business.
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