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Formation of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club Foundation

The team of Nick Dale, Bill Pierce, Bill Trempus, Nicha Trempus and Roger Lindley worked at setting up Room 208 at the Royal Peninsula Hotel as the foundation office. Formerly, it has been the storage room for the paraphernalia needed to conduct in-person Rotary meetings at the hotel. This small team succeeded, or so we thought, in making the outer room of the two room suite look like an office, one of the requirements for having a functioning foundation, and neatly organizing the paraphernalia in the inner room.

We continued to work with the lawyer on creation of documents required by the Thai government in the forming of a foundation. The officers for the foundation have been identified: President – Roger Lindley, Vice President – Bill Trempus, Secretary – Bill Pierce and Treasurer – Nancy Lindley. We had a document signing "party" in our new office, with each page of a stack of documents over a foot tall being signed by at least one member of the committee.

The lawyer deemed that the office didn't look professional enough to pass government inspection and thus Roger and Nancy made an emergency trip to several stores to locate suitable office furniture that could be delivered the next day in time for a photo opportunity, so that the photos could join the foot tall stack of documents. This furniture cost over 13,500 baht (donated by Roger and Nancy) -- money that could have been put to better use to help people in Northern Thailand.

Signage and legal stamps have been created in line with requirements of the Thai government. Now we can stamp documents with our official seal. No document is official in Thailand without at least one stamp.

So, we were ready to go to present our bundle of documents to the first government office needed to approve our foundation application.

Two days after the document signing party and a day after the office furniture delivery, the four person team met the lawyer and his staff at the local Amphur, or district office to submit the stack of documents to the mayor's assistant in charge of digesting foundation applications. We all showed appropriate respect, i.e. the guys wore long pants and real shoes. Bill T even wore a tie.

We knew we had one little shortcoming, described in the next paragraph, and as she carefully looked through the stack of documents, actually knowing what she was seeing, she provided some valuable advice.

The little shortcoming was with our criminal background checks, i.e. FBI reports. No problem with the actual FBI reports, but according to "the rules", the FBI report should have been deemed authentic by the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. and then legalized by the Thai Embassy in the U.S. The problem was that our FBI Reports hadn't been authenticated by the U.S. State Department, but rather had received an Apostille stamp from that same Department. Somehow we thought these were the same, but the Thai Embassy doesn't and clearly states so on their website. The Thai Embassy had refused our legalization requests. And it meant that we were going to have to start from the very beginning since the U.S. State Dept's Apostille process puts a big binding ring in the FBI report. We couldn't reuse the original FBI reports.

The nice lady at the Amphur office said we could simply go to the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai and swear an Affidavit that we don't have criminal records, attach it to the flawed FBI reports with the Apostille stamp and they'd accept the U.S. Consulate's notary stamp. Voila! She even showed us an example of an American who had done this recently and let us take a copy of his U.S. Consulate Affidavit, with identifying information blanked out. Whew. The earliest Consulate appointments are for the end of July. Meanwhile the nice lady at the Amphur office can digest our application and let the Mayor know if he should approve it. That's the first step in the many government agencies that have to approve the application.

Why are we forming a foundation, anyway? It's not as if we like paperwork and frantic trips to buy office furniture just before the stores close. In the eyes of the Thai government, Rotary clubs are social clubs and, as such, the banks don't permit us to have bank accounts in the name of the club, just individual members. We've encountered problems where donors or sponsors have been reluctant to contribute money because we don't have a bank account in the name of the club. Also, since we're not a legal entity, it's not possible for CMIRC to be remembered in someone's Final Will or named as a beneficiary in a Life Insurance policy. All that will change once we have a foundation for the club.


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