Category: Board Reports

FY2016 Financials – Income & Expenses

The EEFC closed our 2016 fiscal year in September. These charts summarize the EEFC’s FY16 operating income and expenses.  Scholarship donations and other restricted income are not included.



Our FY16 operating surplus was $4,571. We ended FY16 with assets of roughly $176,000 compared with $160,000 in FY15. We received scholarship and nest egg donations of approx $22,500 – restricted income that is not included in the operating budget until it is awarded.


Prior year FY2015 charts are here. FY2014 charts are here. FY2010-2013 charts are here. Inner rings have more detailed categories, outer rings are summary categories.  Inner ring colors are intended for comparison with prior charts. Changes in categories are a result of changes in EEFC’s budgeting and accounting procedures. Questions or suggestions can be emailed to the board liaison at

Income chart

  • Operating income includes scholarships awarded in FY16.  Prior to FY15, scholarship awards were included in the Tuition slice. 

Expense chart 

  • Work Exchange and Tuition Waivers are not expenses, they are included in Camp rent & food

EEFC 2015 Fall Board Meeting Report

The Board of Directors met in New York City on October 16 & 17, 2015.

Election of Officers, Committee Chairs, and Task Force Leaders

By consensus:
President – Corinna Snyder
Vice President – Helen Marx (this year, VP will create board agendas and take board meeting notes)
Secretary – Noel Kropf
Treasurer – Barbara Uhlemann

Committee Chairs
Marketing – Elena Erber
Finance – Barbara Uhlemann
Development – Amy Mills
Program – Demetri Tashie
Scholarship (co-chair) – Barbara Uhlemann
Administration – Corinna Snyder

Ad Hoc Task Forces
Technology – Noel Kropf
Planning Committee for Strategic Planning – Helen Marx, Corinna Snyder, Elena Erber
College Credit/Relationships – Helen Marx, Elena Erber
Kafana Succession – Helen Marx
Instrument Library – Corinna Snyder

Marketing Committee Update

(Elena Erber, Chair)

Accomplishments since last meeting

  • Regular newsletter consistently published with better range of communications (Facebook, EEFC listserv, email)
  • “Ripple Effect” is a good concept. Look for more ways to use it

Goals for coming 6 months

  • Ensure a secure workshop registration page and forms
  • Document and follow an advertising/marketing calendar
  • Work more closely with Programming and Fundraising Committees

Goals for next 12 months

  • Shopping: complete an online store
  • Add a page that lists all teachers that we have in the database
  • Add class descriptions to 2016 workshop information
  • Complete migration of content from the old to the new website

2015 Camp Recap

(Rachel MacFarlane, General Manager)

General notes

  • Lower enrollment this last year
  • Consistent high-quality teaching and general camp experience

Improvements for the coming year

  • Increased teacher honorarium
  • Posting of Iroquois Springs B&B info (how it works, cost) at the same time as general registration

Goals for coming 6 months

  • Put in place a new evaluation system (something better than Survey Monkey) so workshop data can be pulled and aggregated in more useful ways

Program Committee Update

(Demetri Tashie, Chair)

Accomplishments since last meeting

  • Added interns who may later join the committee as full members
  • Teachers listed publicly sooner than in the past

Goals for coming 6 months

  • Interns – design a system for evaluating our interns
  • Work with Marketing to post class descriptions on the website
  • Work more closely with Marketing so that information about upcoming workshops can be published earlier and to a wider audience

Goals for coming 12 months

  • Evaluate interns
  • Complete a succession plan for committee personnel
  • Begin planning for the following year prior to camp
  • Work with the board on planning the future of children’s and young adults’ programming, with the goal of improving our sustainability with future generations of campers

Finance Committee

(Barbara Uhlemann, Treasurer and Chair)

Accomplishments since last meeting

  • Significant amount of cleanup of current and past fiscal years’ data in QuickBooks Online
  • Balance Sheet accounts created for Scholarship and Nest Egg funds

Decisions at meeting

  • Created new board cost budget line item to cover total cost of board activities including board meeting travel, food, space and supplies
  • To better track and document the operational costs of Board meetings and other Board expenses, board members agreed that they will submit requests for reimbursement for board meeting expenses. Board members will then, within their ability, donate the reimbursed amount back to the EEFC
  • Agreed to reflect board member tuition waiver in the books
  • Agreed to increase teacher travel expense budget by 4% (cost-of-living)
  • Agreed to raise workshop tuition rates 3% (cost-of-living)
  • Agreed to raise teacher compensation by $50 per class
  • Agreed that committees can come to the board to request increase or trading of budget amounts
  • Draft budget approved by consensus

Goals for coming 6 months

  • Finalize the 2016 budget (1 month)
  • Finish cleanup in QuickBooks and decide if we should continue using QuickBooks Online (2 months)
  • Clarify budget items and return to the board for review (2 months)
  • Calculate a “total cost” average (3 months)
  • Calculate true cost of a scholarship
  • Establish an investment vehicle for the Agin Scholarship gift, future gifts (3 months)
  • Decide about a potential vehicle for cash on hand

Goals for coming 12 months

  • Integrate Salesforce shared database with QuickBooks Online


(Amy Mills, Chair)

Accomplishments since last meeting

  • Added new members to the committee
  • Worked on streamlining and improving fundraising activities at camp
  • Collaborated with Marketing on fundraising messaging


  • We need to plan for what our development goals are, to build a fund of money that makes us more sustainable. We cannot just bridge gaps on a year-to-year basis.
  • Need better access to data to do effective fundraising
  • We are not looking for grants. We aren’t in the right position and there aren’t many available
  • Clarification of the board’s role at camp in fundraising
  • Does the board add any value to the auction process?
  • Can the board have a brighter presence at camp, acting more as leaders in the charge to raise funds?
  • Membership: is it working to have the levels that we have?
  • How can we best get the message out that the best and main way to grow our community is for the community to bring new campers to camp? The board’s role is to drive the fundraising that supplements the funds we take in via tuition, and which do not cover the total cost of running the organization.

Improvements for the coming year

  • Work with the auction team to share our goal for the amount of money we need to raise at auction every year
  • Keep the scholarship amount raised at camp separate from the auction cash total
  • Initiate large gift asks at camp

Goals for coming 6 months

  • Year-end appeal (6 week)
  • Define Membership (6 month)
  • Initiate Direct Ask program by Board (6 month)
  • Identify and assess potential donors from our current lists
  • Clarify the pitch
  • Support for operations because that is what we really need now
  • Donations do not need to be for any particular use unless donors specifies
  • We are (for now) covering a $30,000 deficit, which can be broken down in a variety of ways
  • Face-to-face asks are best. Askers: Barbara, Helen, Noel, Corinna, and Demetri. Amy to ask Craig Kurumada for ideas for West Coast volunteers
  • Elena to help with the message, Rachel with identifying possible givers
  • Identify how to work more closely with Marketing

Goals for coming 12 months

  • Institutionalize the process of regular appeals (12 month)

Scholarship Committee Discussion

One year ago it was decided that the Scholarship Committee would not require a board member as chair. Over the past year, it has become clear that scholarships are a significant part of our fundraising efforts, and can and should be thought about more strategically, in terms of helping us establish new community connections and supports.

It was agreed that going forward the committee chair should be shared: one person from the Board, and one committee member. Corinna will discuss these changes in the committee organization with current chair, Ann Norton. The board member’s responsibility is to define the strategic direction of the committee and align it with the strategic efforts of the Board and the organization as a whole. The board agreed that Barbara will serve as the Board co-chair. Her next steps are to learn the criteria for each of the scholarships, and communicate the amount of money to be given this year in scholarship funds.

The board agreed to make $10K available for scholarships this year.

Goals for future discussion by Scholarship Committee:

  • Address drop in child attendance at camp and potential ways to support longtime child campers who are now young adults and aging out of the “kids” category
  • Identify a variety of Scholarship categories

Ad Hoc Tech Task Force

(Noel Kropf, Chair)

Salesforce Presentation

  • Martie Ripson gave a presentation showing some of the things SF can do
  • Can it help with rotating memberships? Yes
  • Comes with 10 users, with customized permissions
  • Researching if SF can send automatic letters (ex: donation confirmation)
  • Wide range of filtering for creating reports
  • Timeline: by 2016 move over to Salesforce
  • Integrate with MailChimp
  • Map forms from website to SF
  • Map from SF to website
  • Eventually map SF to Quickbooks

Goals for coming 6-12 months

  • Move operations from FileMaker Pro to Salesforce (6 month)
  • Integrate workshop registration into Salesforce (6 month)
  • Create and have operational an online document archiving and creation platform (6 month)
  • Integrate with MailChimp (12 month)
  • Create plan to integrate with QuickBooks Online (12 month)
  • Collaborate with Finance relating to decisions about QuickBooks Online (12 month)

Administration Committee

(Corinna Snyder, President and Chair)

Accomplishments since last meeting

  • Redefined General Manager role and compensation; hired Rachel MacFarlane to fill the position

Goals for coming 6 months

  • Complete the Administrative Assistant job description/search/hire (3 months)
  • Create a working organizational bylaw proposal. Noel Kropf to co-chair effort (6 month)
  • Have a 6-month check-in performance review conversation

Goals for coming 12 months

  • Up-to-date, reviewed and ratified organizational bylaws

Strategic Planning Conversation

Two consultants joined the board to talk with us about strategic planning. They:

  • Summarized the goals and outcomes of a strategic planning exercise
  • Clarified what is needed to successfully engage in the process. The following were discussed as part of the process: significant information gathering (documents and interviews/surveys/focus groups) and data analysis, setting of clear roles and responsibilities, providing realistic assessment of what can, in reality, be accomplished by the organization we have now, how to define goals with objectives and progress points that can be measured
  • Identified the pitfalls that organizations face when they decide to create a strategic plan
  • Explained the difference between a strategic plan and “planning to be strategic”
  • Emphasized that such planning needs to begin with a delineation of the questions that need to be answered toward goals
  • Explained the different roles board members, outside consultants, community members and staff can and should play in the process
  • Illuminated the value of a plan “champion,” the person who promises to make the plan happen, and implements it.

Over the course of the discussion the following realities became clear to the group:

  • We have a beloved and important program (our two camps) and as a board and a community our core goal is to assure its sustainability
  • We do not currently have the capacity (resources/staff/infrastructure) nor an immediate need to implement a significant strategic plan
  • Our current need is to develop a more immediate plan (18-36 months) to make the EEFC sustainable–financially solid with a strategic fund development plan in place.

We agreed that our goals are to have:

  • A fund development plan, a secure income stream and a solid base of funds well invested to provide returns over the long term
  • A clear understanding of who current members/camp participants are, and a clear understanding of who our future members/camp participants might be, and a plan for turning them into campers
  • The right amount of staff, infrastructure and resources for us to be sustainable, with the goal of having the capacity to grow in the future in response to board and community goals.

We agreed we need to spend the next 36 months focusing on:

  • Raising money, including investing in an outside resource to help us figure out how we can best accomplish it
  • Looking systematically at the current programs and making adjustments to keep attendance at a sustainable level
  • Understanding changing demographics in the community and larger forces that impact our membership and camp attendance, both now and in the near future
  • Exploring potential future categories and sources of members and camp participants, and strategic marketing strategies for populations that are currently underrepresented at camp (e.g. immigrant communities, music students, dance students, college students, elders, etc.

We agreed that we need help knowing what questions to ask, how to find answers and what data will help illuminate the questions. We identified two skill sets that we need to bring to the effort:

  • Funding development. An outside consultant who has experience helping organizations like ours (small, arts-based, community-focused, committed to its current state of programming, no current capacity to grow) develop plans for fundraising
  • Program assessment and refinement. A consultant who will help us understand the changing demographics within our community and identify strategies for increasing members and camp participants, including an assessment of how our current approach to programming might be impacted by such changes.

We established an Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Committee: Corinna Snyder, Helen Marx and Elena Erber volunteered, with support from Rachel MacFarlane, to create a plan for spearheading this process.

6 month goal:
Deliver a timeline-based project plan with major tasks and milestones, roles and responsibilities, and resource needs (people, money, technology) for creating a sustainability strategy and plan for the EEFC.

Spring 2015 Board Meeting Summary Letter

From board member Nancy Leeper

Hi all,

Thank you so much for our productive meeting! It is a joy to work with all of you, and I am continually impressed with everyone’s dedication to our “cause” and passion for putting the effort into “getting it right.” We all want the best for EEFC and each other, and, to me, this meeting really laid that commitment out on the table—both the easy stuff and the hard stuff—and we dealt with it. I, for one, can see some clarity in our path forward and, through this in-person gathering, I am reassured of our collective commitment to doing what is right for our organization.

This meeting was particularly special (for me, anyway) because we were able to touch in with significant members of our Bay Area community in a highly meaningful way. We managed to attract an almost perfect demographic of founders, medium-timers (I consider myself in this group, at about 27 years of connection with the community), and relative newcomers. Everyone in the room had something to say, sometimes with widely differing opinions on the way forward, but without rancor and with positive intent from all participants.

As always, we have a lot of work to do in the wake of our meeting. Amy is compiling our resulting to-do list today and/or tomorrow in the cracks of time in her work day, and we can review that list and continue to chug forward.

It was particularly good to have the technology to conference people in via skype or other means. We are all very busy people, and we all have personal, professional, and family issues that we are dealing with. I am so grateful that no one had to completely forego participation, while still attending to “real life.” Thank you all for your patience and willingness to adapt to our dispersed meeting style this past weekend. Meeting in person is, of course, optimal, but sometimes that simply can’t happen. Thank you Noel, Corinna, & Demetri for hanging in with us. It would be great to find a different platform that would allow a stronger technical connection and offer the ability for remote participants to, at the very least, visually indicate their interest in speaking/responding to each other and those at the table. It’s reassuring to know that these solutions exist and that we have the technical expertise on the board and within our community to implement them. Our adoption of this technology internally will go a long way toward hosting virtual forums effectively.

And thank you Rachel and Traci for joining us! As we are currently a more or less working board, your knowledge resulting from immersion in operations is a keystone of our conversations regarding sorting out our respective roles (board and admin staff), and how we can most effectively move forward on expanding our human resources structure to include volunteer resources. Thank you so much, Noel, for stepping up to organize and launch a volunteer coordinator position and system.

Once again, thank you all for a great meeting. We had a perfect space (thank you Elena, for organizing it!), fantastic food (thanks Eva for taking the lead!), and even managed so celebrate Pi Day with the appropriate pastries (thank you Trader Joe’s)!

Now—back to work! Please review Erin’s notes from the forum, the meeting minutes, and Amy’s action list. In my estimation, we’re in pretty good shape, so let’s continue to develop and maintain our very special organization.

Best to you all,


Note. Community Forum, Ashkenaz: Attendance included 6 board members, 2 staff, and (at my count) 15 other community members, with input from another member via letter to the board, which Craig read in full at the beginning of the meeting.

Read the Spring Board Meeting Report.

EEFC 2015 Spring Board Meeting Report

March 13 – 14
Berkeley, CA

Ann Norton
Amy Mills
Nancy Leeper
Elena Erber
Eva Primack
Biz Hertzberg
Rachel MacFarlane
Traci Speed

Corinna Snyder, Demetri Tashie, and Noel Kropf were unable to attend in person. They Skyped in when available.


  • With the help of our accountant, the finance committee and staff have worked hard over the past year to get our accounting to match nonprofit best practices. The committee is working on pie charts of expenses and income, which will be put on the website with 3-5 years of info, formatted to standardize the information.
  • The new website needed to be up and running for registration and not all of the financial and cultural information is there yet, but it’s coming
  • Biz estimates that we need to raise $80,000 – $100,000 in donations annually


The committee opted to increase its size last year,which proved to be too big to work effectively.

Accomplishments in the past 6 months:
Pared back the committee to 5 working members

  • invited Corinna S to be part of the committee, increasing our number to 6
  • Put the Workshop slates together earlier than last year.
  • Complete the Workshop Slates In time for Registration opening in March

Goals for the next 6 months:

  • Identify experts we can consult with for recommendation on teachers and performers in their particular areas of expertise/knowledge/passion (i.e. genres, regions, offerings)
  • Form our committee earlier than the usual September to September term
  • Identify other individuals who could work well on the committee that we could recruit
  • Begin the process of programming this Summer for 2016 Workshops

The current group works well, and swiftly together, while still maintaining healthy debates on disagreements. We realize the needs of the committee are for individuals who can work well together ; have a collective broad base of knowledge and experiences; have a familiarity with both Workshops and their needs; can commit to often lengthy — and frequent — conference calls;


Accomplishments in the past 6 months:

  • Organized and produced fall fundraising campaign: mailing coordination, design & printing
  • Created workshop promotional postcards [printed] & flyers [digital]
  • Distributed workshop promotional materials
  • Placed print ads in BNNW, Chicago Spring Event, Boston Balkan Night; web ad: Dance Flurry
  • Organized EEFC presence at:
    Golden Festival, with a table (slideshow, swag, postcards, email sign-up sheet, banner and volunteers to talk to)
    Saratoga NY Dance Flurry (banner & postcards). Tables were staffed by Board and Community Members
  • Swag: design and fabrication of stickers, t-shirts, tote bags, water bottles
  • Moved email service providers [easier to use platform] and instituted monthly newsletter mailings beginning January 2015 . Coordinated content for monthly e-blast newsletters.
  • Organized the Golden Festival Drom AfterParty: profits were put into scholarships for Cocek Nation
  • Redesigned website: phase one: design, develop & launch.
  • Completed brand and marketing consultation with Catch A Fire volunteer.

Goals for the next 6 months:

  • Continue camp promotions
  • Continue development of the new website
  • Fill out the marketing committee roles [descriptions & people]
  • Create a “relaxed” timeline/production schedule for creating the monthly enews; assign roles.
  • Swag: promote orders for delivery at camp
  • Begin work on Spring Mailing Drive
  • Documentation: finish creating a marketing calendar


Activity and accomplishments:

Reviewed and streamlined membership program

  • Membership appeal sent out November 2014, raising $19,630 in memberships and other donations. This means that we are at 50.5% of $25K budget goal for memberships.
  • Plans for the next 6-9 months
  • Identify 1-2 new Development Committee members
  • Review and update at-camp fundraising
  • Provide community with easy-to-use community fundraising ideas and info
  • Work with to set a process for tracking goals against regular financial reports
  • Review how we acknowledge giving
  • Work with rest of Board to provide tools and information, so that they can easily assist in development


Working with the Marketing & Communications committee to work out web hosting details


Board members rolling off this year:
Departing members will start working on recruiting new members.
Information on board service and an application is now on the website.


  • Update Bylaws
  • Community relations plan
  • Work to continue community forums, probably with audio &/or video conferencing
  • Define roles of the EEFC reception and lunch with the board
  • Redefine General manager & Administrative Assistant’s roles
  • Fundraising strategy & plan

East Coast EEFC Community Forum in Boston

The EEFC board and staff, are looking forward to continuing the conversations at our 5th community forum, happening in Boston Saturday, March 21. These forums are an opportunity for our community to come together and share their thoughts with each other and the board about where they want to see the EEFC, and our workshops, in the future, how we imagine our community evolving into the future, and what can be done to help make our hoped-for future a reality. Come and share your passion, love, questions, and constructive energy with us!

Boston Community Forum

Saturday Saturday, March 21, 2:00 – 4:00pm
8 Wright St., Cambridge, MA

This is a private home on a very small street, with the usual Cambridge parking restrictions. Mass Ave is right around the corner, tho, with metered parking available. We will provide tea and coffee — it would be very nice if you brought a snack to share.

Can’t be there?

If you can’t join us, please feel free to share you input with us through our “contact us” email or at

EEFC 2015 Community Forums

In the fall of 2014 the board set about to create occasions for us all to talk together about what camp means to us and what we think the future holds. What brings us to camp? What do we most love about it? What do we think needs to be changed? Who do we think will be coming to camp 5, or 25 years from now? Who do we want to be coming to camp? What will camp look like then?

We are a community that wears lots of different hats, often at the same time—members, founding mothers and fathers, staff, volunteers, teachers, current and past board members, grew-up-at-camp campers, new campers, lapsed campers, family campers, East Coast, West Coast, Middle Coast. We want to make sure that all these different perspectives are brought to the table.

Five forums were scheduled (Boulder, Brooklyn, Seattle, Berkeley, and Boston) for the first quarter of 2015. Invitations shared via the EEFC newsletter, listserv, website and Facebook—come and share your passion, love, questions, and constructive energy with us!


Summaries of the Forums

Boulder Community Forum January 11, 2015

1 Board member (Biz Hertzberg) and 3 community members got together to talk about the future of the EEFC.

How can the EEFC provide more tour support?
  • some sort of online community repository for what venues and/or folk dance groups in what towns are receptive to touring Balkan oriented bands.
How can we get more college kids to come to camp?
  • Facilitating college credit.
  • Talking to music/ethnomusic faculty.

Brooklyn Community Forum January 17, 2015

4 Board members (Corinna Snyder, Eva Salina Primack, Noel Kropf and Elena Erber) joined Rachel MacFarlane and about 12 community members in the back room at Freddy’s Bar to talk about the EEFC and its future. The major topics and ideas discussed were:

How the EEFC can support bands:
  • Fiscal sponsorship for grants – noted how helpful this is for bands looking for grants given only to not for profits, clarified that this is not a money maker for the EEFC
  • Talked about using the website to publish a list of Balkan-friendly venues, gigs, bands around the U.S., to help bands and musicians plan tours.
  • Use of membership list more to get people to shows.
Using non-EEFC events to promote the EEFC
  • Discussion of partnership with ZU and our role at Golden Festival in terms of how much EEFC publicity we do and how much is acceptable/appropriate. Rachel affirmed that it really is ZU’s festival.
Board communications
  • Community is looking for more particulars about how things work organizationally/ programatically. What is on the website, and in our monthly newsletters do not do enough. Board should be talking more about how programming happens, what are the complications/limitations insofar as advance hiring is concerned, what criteria come into play when creating a full slate of teacher/performers, constraints teachers have.
Collaborating with ethnic and émigré communities
  • Talked about how valuable it is for us to collaborate more with ethnic/émigré communities in North America, and performing artists in the Balkans
  • Talked about how we balance and bring together music, dance, and community from disparate cultures, and manage the tensions that sometimes arise.
How can we grow camp attendance:
  • Rachel pointed out that we’re not always sure as to what affects attendance. Many different factors. Group conclusion: Word of mouth still best way to get people to camp.
Confirming current staffing approach for ED
  • Confirmed that Amy is pro bono and focusing her continuing efforts on development, and that we don’t know yet what the ED role should look like in the future, and when/how we will staff it.
Importance of scholarships in expanding our community.
  • Discussed scholarships at other camps — KlezKanada is +/- 25% scholarship, thanks to a large donor base — and what we have done to grow scholarship. Local scholarships are a great and viable option. Also personal scholarships (similar to Biz’s pay it forward arrangement and what Diane Montgomery has done for years).
How can we bring young people to camp?
  • How can we harness the excitement of Golden fest and get these people to EEFC events?
  • Important to have an option that’s open for newcomers, and good transportation support/options.
  • Idea: 1-day intensive midweek workshop at camp that would bring a charter busload from New York — arrive for or after lunch, attend a dance class, a primer on music and dance in the Balkans, and maybe an instrument or singing class. They have dinner with the week-long campers, go to the dance party and even an hour of the kafana and take the bus back to NY.
Noted that the B&B option at IS is a great way to try camp out. Idea of a van that drives people up to camp (IS) for overnights.
  • Implications of that, however, are the additional admin work.
  • Noted changing demographic (younger musicians vs. recreational folk dancers). We rely on an aging dancer-heavy group for our donations and financial support.
  • Noted that the “thrashers/noodle dancers” will eventually join the line. Have patience.
  • Many said that personal connection is what works to raise awareness. Not sure if Balkan Shout out achieved the goal. The EEFC website should be THE online resource for Balkan music in the U.S.
  • Trying to get young people to come to folk dancing is tough—local dance scenes are very different from Golden Fest (implying they are much less appealing to young people).
  • Once people get into the scene, through a festival or any such event, they will hear about camp.
Power of volunteering
  • Crucial to the operation of both our workshops and our organization.
    Important to mentor the next wave of volunteers.
Community building
  • Need for a “real” development plan and a strategic plan, a re-assesment and a clarification of our story
  • Need that process to be very inclusive of community engagementIdea: a 1-day facilitated retreat for planning and conversation — Berkshire-Taconic Foundation ( — they assist groups with their organizational needs.

Seattle Community Forum February 21, 2015

Berkeley Community Forum March 14, 2015

Boston Community Forum March 21, 2015


West Coast EEFC Community Forums Announced

west-coast-mapThe EEFC board and staff, are looking forward to continuing the conversations at our 3rd and 4th community forums, happening in Seattle (2/21) and Berkeley (3/14) respectively. These forums are an opportunity for our community to come together and share their thoughts with each other and the board about where they want to see the EEFC, and our workshops, in the future, how we imagine our community evolving into the future, and what can be done to help make our hoped-for future a reality. Come and share your passion, love, questions, and constructive energy with us!

Seattle Community Forum

Saturday February 21, 1:00 – 3:00pm
University Heights Center, 5031 University Way, NE

Our Seattle gathering, which coincides with Balkan Night Northwest, will take place at the University Heights Center, 5031 University Way NE, Seattle, WA, 98105 from 1:00 – 3:00pm on Saturday, February 21.

A note about parking: there are a few parking lots available around the building. Only use unreserved spots. There will be a farmers’ market happening until 2pm in the parking lot. Many of the classes in the building end at noon, and some parking spots should free up at that time.

Berkeley Community Forum

Saturday March 14, 11:30am – 2:00pm
Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave

Our Bay Area forum coincides with the Spring meeting of the EEFC’s Board of Directors, and will be held at Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA from 11:30 AM to 2 PM on Saturday, March 14th.

We will meet in the back studio. No food or drink will be available at Ashkenaz during our meeting, so please eat lunch before, or bring a non-messy lunch/snack with you, and bring water also! If you are planning to attend, please send an RSVP to so that we can let Ashkenaz staff know an approximate number of chairs to set up.

Can’t be there?

If you can’t join us, please feel free to share you input with us through our “contact us” email or at

Update from Executive Director Jay House

It has been a busy summer, with two wonderful camps, and the June launch of Kef Times in its new, easy-to-share format, as well as its expansion to a thrice-yearly publication (look for a new issue on or about Sept 15). Now, as I see back-to-school pictures spread across Facebook, and prepare to send my own daughter to kindergarten here in NY, in just about a week, it begins to feel like Fall.

There is something about the change of season and new start of each school-year that makes me feel like renewal. With that in mind, I am excited to get back into the swing of giving you all monthly updates about EEFC news and accomplishments.

We have a lot of fresh energy in this area, inspired by the board’s commitment, made in our Spring 2014 board meeting, to an active role in fundraising for the organization. I am also really happy to be working with a strong chair of the development committee, board member Amy Mills, who has recently signed on in this capacity. Here are a few highlights.

  • Amy, along with board and fundraising committee member Nancy Leeper, and I are about to start working on the end-of year donation/membership renewal letter. Please stay tuned for that in November (and as a reminder, if you are a member, memberships all run on a calender year, and therefore are up for renewal as of December 31, 2014).
  • We are pleased to share that the spring fund drive generated $6,000 in donations. Our goal was $15,000, but we learned a lot from our first time out, and will come back in the spring of 2015 to reprise the effort.
  • Even more exciting, we are very happy to share that an anonymous donor has committed to a two-year gift of $10,000 per year for general support. We learned this while at Iroquois Springs, and are very excited about the support from the community this shows.
  • Finally, I am delighted to share that between the two camps this summer, we raised $13,000 in scholarship money. I will work with the board and the scholarship committee to determine the best way to use the money, with an eye towards leveraging an unprecedented amount of scholarship money for long-term benefit.

There is also quite a bit of financial work going on right now, as Traci and Rachel reconcile camp expenses and income, all of which is necessary for developing a 2015 budget in time for the start of the EEFC’s new fiscal year on October 1. That takes a lot of focused energy, and means that we don’t yet know the full picture of the year, financially speaking, but we are dedicating our energies there now.

This month, in advance of the fall board meeting (Sept 18-20, in NYC) I will be developing the 2015 budget, which the board will review at the meeting. In the past, we have struggled to have this ready, due to the tight turn-around between the end of the East Coast Camp, and the end of the fiscal year.

None of this could have happened without the support, both in terms of volunteer effort, and memberships and donations, that you, our community contribute. Thank you for your part in the work we do.

Next month, look for my update in the next issue of the all-new Kef Times which will now be appearing three time each year.

Thanks for reading, and please keep in touch with me if you have questions, comments, or concerns about what’s happening with the EEFC.


Posted By Jay House, Aug 29, 2014

Fall 2013 Board Meeting Summary

by Corinna Snyder, EEFC Board President


The Board posts our Board meeting notes on the website — here is a link to them. We agreed it would be good to also provide a summary of our meeting outcomes, so I’ve written one up, and here it is. It’s lengthy – as you can see we have a lot to do!

First and foremost on our to do list is fundraising. As you’ll read below, while we exceeded our fundraising goals, we still ran at a deficit this year, and we have run at a deficit for a few years now. We need to turn this around, and we will do so – and we will need your help!

Please reach out to me, or any other board member, including Jay, if you have questions – any one of us would be happy to hear from you.

Fall 2013 Board Meeting Summary
We confirmed the Strategy and Goals for the EEFC that we developed at the spring meeting:

  • Transition the Board out of operations: Our goal is to have our staff to take on the day-to-day operations of the organization so the board can focus on long term planning, fundraising, and governance. We are calling this Chart the Course.
  • Demonstrate our reach beyond the workshop programming: We want to bring the joy of Balkan music, dance and folkways to more people that we can reach just through our two workshops. Examples might be publications, online resources, educational programming. We call this More than Camp.
  • Raise the profile of the EEFC: We want the EEFC to be recognized as a significant resource for those interested in Balkan music, dance, and culture. We call this EEFC = The Source.

We agreed that to help the organization achieve these goals, we need a fourth goal: Improve our financial, technological, and organizational capabilities. We are calling this Build the Base.

Our realities:

  • Workshop costs are rising
  • Fundraising needs to grow
  • All staff are part-time and hours are limited
  • We depend on work exchanges and volunteers
  • Camp attendance at the Mendocino camp is lower than we want it to be
  • There is both opportunity and need for other revenue generating program offerings to offset workshop deficits, and
  • We need more consistent communications to our community.

Looking forward we want to:

  • Do more of what we do well
  • Better support people’s desires to help
  • Work better as an organizational team
  • Experiment with partnerships
  • Expand our reach beyond camp
  • Develop a fundraising plan, and
  • Continue to improve communication and transparency.

What we have accomplished this year, and our goals for the next 6-12 months

Financial Update
The finance committee and our intrepid staff have transitioned our books to conform to the Unified Chart of Accounts (UCA) protocols, a standard for nonprofit bookkeeping and accounting with categories that align with those on Form 990, our annual report to the IRS. By using this format, we can demonstrate to others that we are responsibly managing our finances. Now we can see our financial position in real time, and can compare our estimated costs and revenues to our actual costs and revenues with greater ease. In addition, our budgeting process is now integrated into our bookkeeping system, making the process easier, and letting us run scenarios. This is a huge and positive change: in the past, when I was asked to authorize an unexpected cost, it was difficult to determine the potential impact or what we needed to do offset the cost elsewhere. Those days are over! Lastly, this change puts us in a much better position to apply for grants from foundations, who like to see the ability to follow UCA protocols as a sign of good financial responsibility.

HUGE thanks to the finance committee (Biz, Jay, Doug, Nancy) and Traci for making this happen, and thanks to previous board members and staff who worked hard to keep us fully in compliance with the IRS, and our books clean—we are building on what you all started and/or stewarded for so many years.

Going forward we will be developing a multiyear budget to better plan for financial need, we’ll raise tuition a small amount annually to keep pace with rising costs of workshops, and we’ll continue to keep a close eye on our expenses at Iroquois Springs.

Financial FYI: Our camp at Iroquois Springs, as it is currently structured, does not break even. The cost to rent the facility (including food), which is the vast majority of the total cost, is fixed. We don’t want to pay our staff less or diminish the quality of our program, and we want to continue to provide as many work-exchange opportunities as possible to make it easier for more people to attend camp. Jay and I are analyzing different scenarios that we hope will result in a balanced budget for IS. Your ongoing support via the annual campaign, membership, and auction/donation/volunteering will help.

Technology Update
Jay and community volunteers have cataloged the different systems and software packages the EEFC uses to manage documents and data. Long story short—many systems can’t (or won’t) talk to each other and we have lots of documents floating around, with too much resident on local hard drives.

This year, a community-sourced tech team will recommend a technology infrastructure that gives staff and the board easy access to up-to-date, comprehensive, and accurate financial, membership, and other operational data and documents. Thank you in advance, tech team!

Board Operations Update
We need to update our bylaws to reflect recent changes (e.g., the new position of Executive Director), and to allow our community be a more active part of our committees by opening up committee participation to non-board members. Our new secretary, Ann, will lead that effort. We will also update the Policies and Procedures document to reflect the new roles and responsibilities of the ED and the organization. Nancy will lead that effort.

Fundraising Update
This year we raised more than we forecasted, which was great news. Congratulations to everyone who participated in that effort. Going forward, we will improve the membership program, and build relationships with individual donors. The EEFC will ask new programs (publishing projects, children’s education programs, etc) to help raise funds for their own efforts, including pursuing outside funding for support.

Marketing/Communications Update
New board member Elena Erber has begun creating a marketing and communications plan for the organization. This will help us produce regular community updates, provide an effective push to sell spots in both of our workshops (which has the potential to have a serious impact on the EEFC’s bottom line), and help us develop effective outreach to new organizations and individuals.

Workshop Update
We know it takes a village to create our two villages every year—but just how much of a village? We want to better understand what it takes to make the workshops happen. This year we’ll be asking the board, staff, work-exchange and volunteers who does what, what skills are needed, and how many hours does it take, to make it all happen. We hope this will help us find a way to better manage the cost of producing the workshops, and better recognize the contributions many of you make to create our workshops.

New Programs
We have community members who want to lead two pilot programs:
In-school program in NYC to teach Balkan repertoire, by ear
Cocek Nation, involving multiteacher rehearsals outside of camp, two or three performances, and a recording.
We raised $2,400 total at the IS auction for these two new programs, and there was very positive community support. These are also likely grant proposal candidates—expect to hear more in the future. Thank you IS campers for your support – you showed remarkable generosity, and just as importantly, you showed us you want to support the next generation of musicians, and you understand the value of bringing music education to children who may not have access to any arts education.

EEFC’s current resources include:

  • · Forum Folkloristika, the songbook, Kef Times, FAQs, and the listserv archives.

We discussed possible future programs, such as edited online discussions (similar to what happens now on the listserv on an ad hoc basis among recognized experts), an online resource center, and a YouTube channel. The publications committee will lead this effort, including developing a plan to pursue grant funding.

The Board agreed that the scholarship application and selection process needs to be better defined and communicated, and that if that is done well, the board will not need to have as much (or any) representation on the committee. This is a great example of our “Chart the Course” goal. Ann will lead that effort.

Scholarship FYI: Crum/Kef Scholarships are funded by donations to the EEFC scholarship fund. The average awards each year are three full positions per camp, with some awardees receiving full scholarships, some receiving partial scholarships, usually half or three-quarters. Stefni Agin Scholarship averages one full scholarship per year, and is funded by Jerry Agin and an anonymous donor. The Balkan Night Northwest Scholarship is a half or full scholarship for a resident of the Pacific Northwest and is funded by Balkan Night Northwest.

Workshop Programming
The committee is transitioning to longer range planning to allow us to coordinate workshop programming with other EEFC efforts, such as publications, and fundraising efforts, and to make it easier to program for more areas of interest on a more regular basis. It also will let us hire teachers who may need more lead-time to commit to teaching at our workshops.

Our goal is to have 1, 2, 3 and 5 year plans running concurrently, and to have “guest curators” who will work with core workshop programming committee members to recommend a full compliment of teachers for a particular slate that they are steeped in ( i.e Romanian, Bosnian, Sephardic, etc).

Summary by Corinna Snyder, EEFC Board President

Six-Month Update from Executive Director, Jay House Samios

Six wonderful months have passed since I began as executive director for the EEFC! What an amazing experience thus far, full of meetings with new people, putting faces to names long-seen on the listserv, and learning about the truly incredible contributions made by so many. As a great number of you know, I have been lucky to visit both Chicago and Seattle for their local Balkan festivals, as well as to spend time in both the NYC and the SF Bay areas (I currently split my time between Queens and San Jose). Any time I am at a Balkan event, I am eager to balance my love of dancing with my desire to talk, and more importantly, to listen to your stories.

What have we done in the last six months? Let me briefly summarize for you:

  1. We hired a great administrative team – After going through a rigorous search process and speaking to candidates from around the United States, I was so pleased to welcome Rachel MacFarlane back to the EEFC as a staff person in February. Holding the title of workshop manager, Rachel brings her deep knowledge of the community and Balkan culture, as well as a certain tirelessness required to make “camp” happen; Traci Speed transitioned last fall from a temporary role as the EEFC’s office manager to a permanent position as administrative assistant, dealing with all the EEFC’s daily bookkeeping, donation processing, workshop registration, and web edits, among other things. Traci’s scope of work is increasing, and her efforts are essential to keeping the organization running. I am so glad to be working with these talented and dedicated people.
  2. We published a second edition of Forum Folkloristika – If you haven’t read it yet, please take a few minutes to check it out. The EEFC has received high praise from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts for our work on Forum Folkloristika. You can read the current issue here. The first issue is available here.
  3. We are well underway to planning a successful and vibrant 2013 Workshop season – I don’t think a lot has to be said here, other than the fact that Rachel, along with the Program Committee, and our dedicated site managers, Helen Stuart for Mendocino, and Nancy Butowski for Iroquois Springs are working very hard to produce the unique and high-quality Balkan music and dance workshops the EEFC has become known for.
  4. We have improved the EEFC’s books – Driven by the EEFC’s Finance Committee, we have transferred our organizational chart of accounts to a format that is recognized by the IRS and greatly streamlines the process for filing taxes as well as reporting for funders. This is one of those hidden improvements that, while it may not appear to directly benefit the community, it actually allows us to do our jobs better, and also represents a significant step in the direction of building the infrastructure needed to bring more Balkan music and dance to the world.
  5. The EEFC’s Board of Directors has begun the transition from being primarily operational to a body focused on leadership and governance – The Board has cataloged the administrative work they do for the organization, and together we have developed a plan to shift that work to staff. This will allow the board to guide the organization through a significant strategic planning process, as well as new program development, and increased/diversified fundraising. Such a major step places the EEFC  in a position to grow our mission to promote, celebrate, and educate the public about traditional and traditionally based music, dance, and cultures of the Balkans.
  6. I have met with members, Balkan music and dance lovers, and others – Since joining the EEFC, I have spent a considerable amount of time focused on talking with, and really, learning from so many of you. This has happened on the community outreach trips to Seattle, Chicago, the Bay Area, and in New York, not to mention via phone and email. I am always excited to hear from people who have been involved in various capacities in making the work of the EEFC happen. This is, in many ways, the most important thing I can do, and I invite any and all of you to contact me at any time to share your stories. Similarly, I’ve also met with organizations that are aligned in some way with the work we do, and hope to continue that mode of learning as we develop new programs and initiatives.

Always close to my heart is the shared love of Balkan culture—the music and dance specifically—that has such deep importance to us all, and all for such multifaceted reasons. I am delighted to be at the helm of an organization dedicated to sharing the kefi we feel!