Friends of India

Financial Report

Financial Report for the year ended 31st December 2016

As treasurer it is my duty to report to you on our activities in 2016 and propose a budget for 2017.  We started the year with CHF 96’000 in the bank and 3 active projects being: The international school for giving Dalit children access to education, The Friendship Home giving love and a new life to HIV AIDS orphans; and The Richard Walsh Music school giving a new dimension to the lives of blind children.

During the year we raised CHF 75’000 for projects and using some of our reserves, spent CHF 111’000 on the 3 projects above plus help to flood victims, paid for a water purifying plant and desks for the tribal children in the Jawadi hills, toilets at a school for the stone quarry children in Bangalore, provided scholarships for furthering the education of children in Kovolam and helped a few individuals. Net administration costs in the year totalled CHF 17’000.

And so we turn to 2017 and a budget. We are entering a phase in the life of FOI when we want to streamline our operation to match the progressively un-streamlined energy of those who run it. As treasurer I want to simplify the administration and bookkeeping to match the state of my brainpower and to continue to support the self sustainability of our current key projects.

My first proposal concerns membership. A membership that has been steadily dropping for several years. Partly our fault for not chasing up supporters at the beginning of each year; partly a lack of enthusiasm for anything Indian, but often simply because there is no benefit from being a member! What perks or special treatment do you get for being a member? None! In fact, it’s a negative benefit! If you donate CHF 110 you can deduct it for tax purposes, whereas if you pay CHF 110 membership fees you can’t! SO Simplification number 1 – no more subscription fees. Anyone who makes a donation is automatically a member!

But just a minute you say – didn’t our subscription go towards administration costs? Yes, but that is where streamlining comes in. We have closed our Indian office, have reduced our Nyon based admin to a minimum and thanks to a generous donor, who gave explicitly for admin, we had a reserve at January 1st 2017 of CHF 22’695.

My second proposal concerns donations, but I am going to tell you about that later in the evening.

We are required in the statutes to propose a budget which I will give you verbally: We started 2017 with earmarked and general reserves of CHF 20’000, have budgeted donations of CHF 60’000 making a total of 80 and budgeted project expenditure of CHF 80’000. Administration costs are budgeted at CHF  7’000 & relate almost exclusively to supporting trips to the projects.

Ted Talbot
FOI Treasurer


Financial Report for the year ended 31st December 2015

Another year full of gratitude for the fidelity of many donors and the wonderful generosity of some individuals and foundations, receipts totaled CHF. 209’662 compared to CHF. 231’839 in 2014.

Most of our funds raised are for specific projects and we are very grateful for the donation to operational support costs that enables us to still exercise our policy that every franc given – gets there. Membership at CHF 8’480 was down to 2013 levels after an increase to CHF.10’110 in 2014. Of the funds received, we distributed to projects CHF 147’374 and spent on operational support CHF.28’243.

The receipts and expenditure analysis in the accounts shows the detailed breakdowns, but as you have no doubt guessed, the major portion (CHF.70’450) of the education total is for the BCV International school. It should be brought to your attention that the money advanced for driveway and sports field was a loan to the Brothers and converted into scholarships. It paid for 38 children to receive a full or partial scholarship for the 2015/16 academic year and CHF.22’480 remains for the 2016/17 year.

Last year I reported on the success of the self-sustainability initiative at The Richard Walsh music school for the blind and the scholarship fund which at the year-end stands at CHF.4’200.  The Friendship Home is also almost self-sustaining, where the book-binding business is almost covering the costs of 40 children. The special needs fund continues to grow thanks to our BCV or ex BCV friends. In 2015 CHF. 3’450 was used to buy special medicines and contribute towards a 16 seat transport. At year-end the fund stands at CHF.5’200.

A word about operating expenses. Thanks to a generous donor all costs totaling CHF. 28’243 for 2015 were covered. Local Nyon expenses were CHF12’688 of which CHF 10’898 was the cost of trips to, and within India. Chennai costs totaling CHF 15’555 consist primarily of Advitya’s salary and travel costs. There was no movement on permission to raise funds locally.

Ted Talbot
FOI Treasurer

Financial Report for the year ended 31st December 2014

While 2013 was a bumper year for receipts, 2014 was dominated by some tough decisions on spending and spending wisely. We received a total of CHF 230’000. In general, people are becoming more and more specific about what type of project they want to support. We spent a total of CHF 315’000, CHF 213’314 of this being in education. The major portion of the education total is the BCV International School. Building to revised standards costs money and FOI injected CHF 188’000 into the project in 2014.

The accounts give a detailed breakdown of all projects, but two highlights are the success of the self-sustainability initiative at The Richard Walsh Music School for the Blind, where the pig farm covers all costs of teachers etc. We have opened a separate bank account for the scholarship fund, which stands at CHF3’150 thanks to a faithful donor. We await eagerly the first candidate to win a scholarship for further musical education. The Friendship Home is also self-sustaining, where the book-binding business is covering the costs of 40 children. We have also opened a separate bank account to hold what we call a fund for ‘special needs for girls’ funded by our friends working at the BCV after their visit there. On a less positive note I have to report that the Eden Home dairy farm project for self-sustainability through milk sales did not work out.

A word about operating expenses. We started the year with an accumulated deficit of CHF 15’000, but for 2014 and 2015 to date, we have a generous donor who is covering all our operating support costs. Local Nyon expenses were CHF14’674 of which CHF 12’277 was the cost of trips to, and within India. This is higher than in the past because there were three of us travelling and looking after the BCV and unfortunately we can no longer afford to pay our own way! Membership was CHF 10’119 – up from only CHF 8’900 in 2013. Chennai costs totaling CHF 13’491 consist primarily of Advitya’s salary and travel costs. Unfortunately we still do not have permission to raise funds locally. Our application is sitting on an official’s desk awaiting, we are told – yes a bribe – to approve it. We are not heading down that track so while our aim is that Chennai be self supporting, we are not there yet!

Ted Talbot
FOI Treasurer

Financial Report for the year ended 31st December 2013

What a year 2013 was! In the asset management business I think it would be described as ‘an exceptional vintage’. Receipts totaled Chf. 360’000 – by far the highest ever and we are already assured of Chf. 100’000 in 2014.

I looked at my 2012 report where I suggested that dropping income was due to the European economic crisis and changing attitudes to giving to India. This, I believe, is still probably true, at the macro level, because if we analyse the source of donations in 2013 we find that over Chf. 200’000 of that total sum came from just a handful of very generous donors. As you heard from Pam, we also had a wonderfully successful Bollywood by the Lake event, thanks to the Lions Club of Geneva,and the BCV success story where we will be the recipient of a total of Chf. 150’000 spread over 2013 and 2014, to build a school for Dahlit children.

While it is nice – but also a bit scary – to be responsible for the wise and proper use of these large donations, the real strength and backbone of FOI is our faithful band of ‘Friends’ of Friends of India who give what they can whenever they can, support all our events, organize bike rides, forego Birthday presents and are happy to know that a child’s or woman’s life is being changed somewhere through shelter, education or skills training. Thank you.

So how have we allocated these funds? Firstly we have started building the BCV International school, with its inauguration set for June 9th ; we are implementing our self-sustainability programmes, the fruit of which we hope to see in 2014; via SUEB and Chilasa we have been identifying, selecting and training women entrepreneurs; providing solar lamps to tribal villages; helping the sisters of the sacred heart complete a rural orphanage and helping protect abused girls and women via an India-wide organisation called Thulir. A total of Chf. 275’000 spent on 14 projects. But the exciting thing is that after commitments, we still have some Chf. 30’000 of free funds for new projects going into 2014.

Finally a word about operating expenses. Nyon costs were Chf. 9’800, of which Chf. 6’000 were contributions towards the cost of trips to India and Chf. 2’000 for IT and our website ( for which we received a donation of Chf 1’000). Membership was sadly only Chf, 8’900 but, with membership fees, profit on sale of goods, and a donation, we covered our local expenses. What we did not cover, however, are the essential but very reasonable costs of running the Chennai operation under the expert supervision of Advitya. FOI is Advitya’s full-time job – more than that – it is his passion and so he needs to be adequately rewarded for that. The total cost of the Chennai operation was Chf. 14’000 in 2013 and while I am happy to say we have had a donation in 2014 for operational expenses which will cover this, we have a challenge ahead. Going forward, it is our objective that all Chennai costs will be covered locally in India from donations, membership and the reimbursement from projects of direct identifiable expenses. It is still our mantra that ‘100% of what you give gets there’ So Advitya’s challenge is to raise money locally and our challenge here is to help him achieve that. Together with him we are trying to think out of the box about methods of creating sustainable income. Meanwhile, to cover Nyon expenses we aim to raise the number of members and thus subscription income, and promote sales of goods. From 2014 we are accounting separately for subscriptions which remain at Chf.110  (170 for a couple), and will no longer consider any part of a donation as covering membership unless specifically requested – so please sign up as a member and speaking of product sales – we have also have cards and bottle bags – please buy them! Thank you.

Ted Talbot
FOI Treasurer

Financial Report for the year ended December 31st 2012

The year 2012 has been one of change and consolidation. We have cut back on the number of projects with which we have been involved and as Pam said, ‘self-sustainability has been a key factor in our project financing decisions.

Last year you may remember I reported that income had dropped and suggested that the reasons for this were the economic crisis across Europe and the changing attitudes towards India. I believe those influences still to be true, but am happy to report that in 2012 income increased to CHF 158’000 from CHF 96’000 in 2011. Of this sum, however, nearly 50% came from just 3 donors for specific projects, and 30% from two outstanding events: our wonderfully successful gala dinner and its sponsors and benefactors and CHF 4’000 donated by Simply Theatre from their show Christmas with the Stars . Only CHF 21’000 was received for general project support. As a result, we have been involved with five major projects during the year, the Friendship Home for the HIV AIDS orphans; the orphanage brought to us and sponsored by Noelle and her family; the Eden Home for girl orphans; the Mercy Home for mentally challenged women and girls and the supply of solar lamps to tribal villages. In addition we have continued to support Kovolam with the granting of 2 scholarships, the Richard Walsh music school and some learning support gifts.

In 2013 we are continuing and completing the above major projects, and the really exciting part is that we are making investments into sustainability infrastructure. In practice that means setting up a dairy farm at Eden Home, a Book-Binding unit at the Friendship home, a Piggery at the Richard Walsh Music School for the Blind. These may seem strange ways to use donations, but we have created a slogan – A one-time gift buys a life-time’s dream – self sustainability. We are also really pleased to be making a CHF 10’000 donation towards one of Chilasa’s first projects – the identification and training of women entrepreneurs.

Speaking of Chilasa, I think it is appropriate to say that we have now separated Chilasa from Fiends of India both legally and financially. We of course work very closely together, especially in Chennai where Advitya is wearing two hats and in 2012 was paid by FOI. That brings me to the expense side of FOI. Total administrative costs in 2012 were CHF 21’000 compared to CHF 23’000 in 2011. Nyon costs were CHF 8’300 down from CHF 14’000 largely due to the amazing team of volunteers and especially Louise. Chennai costs have increased to CHF 13’000 from CHF 8’000 because we have increased Advitya’s salary to something nearer a market rate. In the last 12 months he has developed into a really proficient hardworking and effective operations manager and now monitors all new and existing projects, is setting up local fund raising campaigns and will be getting involved with the website.

Finally a word about membership. Membership income slightly increased in 2012, but numbers of members dropped from 109 to 99. We would like every ‘friend’ of FOI to automatically be a member. This not only helps us stick to our mantra of ‘100% of what you give gets there’ by fully covering administration costs from membership dues and product sales, but gives us more opportunities to get people to events and donate. Membership rates for 2013 are maintained at CHF 110 and CHF 170 for a couple. Speaking of product sales – a big thank you to Diana for her ‘card’ initiative. Please buy them, they are beautiful and for all occasions.

Ted Talbot
FOI Treasurer

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