The goal of creating a foundation to support the club in the near to the longer term first appeared in the CMIRC Strategic Plan for RY 2021-2022. The vision of Nancy and Roger Lindley, the founders of the CMIRC Foundation, was to offer those who have lived in Thailand, and those who wish to give back to the country, the opportunity to financially support the club’s efforts in improving child safety, health, and education in Northern Thailand. Many of us have bank accounts and own condominiums or homes in Chiang Mai. These things can be passed onto a foundation to help the children in Northern Thailand. Often these Thai assets are not easy for loved ones from overseas to repatriate without considerable expense.
In January 2021, the exploration began to find a Thai law firm to work to create this foundation. Rachan Maneekarn, a Past President of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai West, and a friend of Roger Lindley suggested the law firm of Thanarat Law Office. Preliminary meetings began in January 2021 with Lawyer Joe on establishing the Foundation. Lawyer Joe has extensive experience in setting up foundations in Northern Thailand.
Afterwards, we identified an office location, ordered FBI fingerprint cards for background investigations of foundation officers, routed FBI checks to the United States Department of State for verification, bought furniture for the proposed office and held numerous meetings, followed by subsequent meetings with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, the municipal government and the provincial government. This has resulted in a mountain of paperwork, some requiring signing every page of every document multiple times.
The Foundation Officers are:
Chairman: Roger Lindley
Vice-Chairman: William Trempus
Treasurer: Nancy Lindley
Secretary: William Pierce
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on everything globally, including the Thai government and the United States Government, the foundation creation process did drag on longer than expected. The Chiang Mai Provincial Governor issued the CMIRC Foundation certification document in August 2022.
In the process, there were some missteps. The validation of FBI checks by the State Department was not completed properly, which made it necessary to secure legal backup affidavits at the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai. The Foundation bank account was initially set up with a local bank for the convenience of internet banking, and investment, but later turned out that the bank would not permit a foundation with U.S. citizens on the Board to make investments or to have accident insurance policies that named the Foundation as the beneficiary.
The Foundation finally settled on Bangkok Bank for conducting business. As it turns out we can do online banking with Bangkok Bank, invest in various funds offered by Bangkok Bank, and have the Foundation named as the beneficiary for Bangkok Bank Personal Accident and Life Insurance policies. Unlike the other bank, Bangkok Bank has no problem complying with the financial reporting requirements of the U.S. government.
As a Thai foundation, CMIRC Foundation can:
Inherit real property, including residences and land.
Retain that property for rental income.
Purchase property, such as condos, as a source of rental income (best if managed by a Thai property company).
Purchase land that can be rented to foreigners who wish to build a home at their expense on that land, i.e., create usufructs.
Be named as a beneficiary for Thai and foreign bank accounts, including investment accounts.
Be named as a beneficiary for Thai Personal accident and Life Insurance policies. (Checking if it is possible with foreign policies)
The foundation documents are in the English language, with the bank account's name in English, facilitating the donation process.
Firsts for a Foundation in Northern Thailand
Have the name of the Foundation established in the English language
Foundation authorized to do internet banking at Bangkok Bank
Foundation allowed to hold electronically based remote board meetings
Costs (to date) for setting up the Foundation (no funds contributed from the club)
Legal expenses 340,000 Baht
Sinking fund 250,000 Baht (not touchable and not investable)
Working Admin Fund 20,000 Baht
Total 610,000 Baht
Note: There are no excess funds presently available.
Operations of the Foundation
Each year the Foundation Board is legally required to meet in February to produce a Financial Report for the Thai government. At that time, the CMIRCF Board will decide how much money can be released to CMIRC and for what purpose if earmarked donations have been received. This February date meshes well with the budgeting cycle of CMIRC.
During the year, CMIRCF may receive earmarked donations that can be released outside of this schedule, as needed by CMIRC for the purpose intended by the donor.
Foundations do not pay taxes on donations, but they do pay taxes on the sales of items. This is why Lawyer Joe recommended that the Golf Ball Drop is organized in the name of the club and not the Foundation. If the club were to donate the net proceeds of the GBD to the Foundation, then there would be no tax liability for the Foundation.
Challenges for CMIRC Foundation
Regular short-term annual transfer of funds to CMIRC as expected by the Thai government to demonstrate the Foundation performance of the charter.
The trade-off of short-term funds versus retention of funds to grow the foundation.
Acquisition of donor funds.