After much research (notes below)
the COGC board met last night in a special meeting to determine whether or not
it was in the club's best interest to accept the grant funds from the
NRA. By unanimous vote, we decided to decline the NRA grant funds and put
the women's shoot off for about a year. We also discussed other ideas for
putting on women's shoots on our own.
Additionally, the board moved, unanimously, to pay the invoice to Hinkson Development for dirt trucked to the range to fortify the backstop.
In the name of full disclosure, following are the notes from my research and conversations into the grant funds:
Women On Target Grant Discussion Notes
7/10/10 submitted grant request to NRA on behalf of COGC
WOT information states that we CAN use grant funds received through FNRA for range improvements as well. States also that they will provide, free of charge, ear protection, eye protection, safety vests for volunteers, hats for volunteers, and visors for guests. On 12/9/10 received the following from the WOT Director in VA:
Yes. The eye and ear protection comes with the material for the attendees. The instructors will still have to provide their own. Some directors choose to keep the glasses with the club, others let the participants keep them. It’s your call. I do want to stress what the cover letter states; the visors and material sent are for the attendees only. The hats and safety vests are supplied for the clinic staff so that they are quickly recognizable in an emergency at your event.
Nov 2010 received verbal confirmation from John W. Nelson and Patti Cattoor of Montrose FNRA that we were awarded the grant request of $15,000+ for a Women On Target Shoot
I registered the shoot with the NRA. Their paperwork stated that they would provide vests and hats for volunteers, along with visors and swag bags for the attendees, free of charge.
1/31/11 received the following email from the CO Chairman for the FRNA:
Ma’am: your 2011 grant request has been funded in the amount of $15,605. After your grant has been reviewed and approved by the NRA Foundation HQ, you should be contacted by the NRA Grant office before April. I have attached our official State FNRA confirmation memo and the NRA Foundation final report you will need to file after you have received items you requested or used the funds you received. If your organization is tax exempt you must submit a 2011 tax exempt certificate to the NRA Grants office. Thank you Richard Gandolf Colorado State FNRA Grants Coordinator.
At this time Gandolf made no mention of the oddity of the size of our grant funding.
o/a Dec 2010 the COGC WOT committee met. We decided that it was necessary to make adjustments to the grant budget. Having had no help putting the grant together, I had too much ammo in the budget, wrong guns, and was missing several items. The biggest concern was the lack of a decent/safe backdrop at the range, for which we’d need more dirt to cover up the rocks.
o/a May 3 2011 @ Friends of NRA BQ meeting in Montrose. Spoke with Patti Cattoor (FNRA member in Montrose who advocated for our grant in front of the committee) about the grant. She stated that we needed to account for everything we spent in the final accounting.
o/a May 4 2011 began further research into what needed to happen to make adjustments to how the grant money was spent. I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t get into any trouble for making changes. Emailed the WOT Director for the NRA with the following:
>Good morning Diane,
>I have a couple more questions for you. As an FYI, Ive also copied
>Debi Harmon here. She is from the Black Canyon Friends of the NRA and
>was instrumental in getting our grant through. Would you mind copying
>her on your reply as well?
>We did receive our grant for the Women On Target shoot (yay!). With
>regards to the grant funds >I, of course, had to submit a budget when
>we applied for the grant. If I can save money on any of the items on
>the original budget, may I use the savings for other items? For
>example, one of our NRA RSOs recommended a deeper backstop for safety
>reasons. If I can purchase any of the needed items for the shoot at a
>lower cost than what is on the original budget, can I use the savings to purchase a better backstop for the shoot?
>Additionally, since inputting the grant request, weve discussed
>switching out a 12ga for a 20ga shotgun for the shoot. If we do that,
>is that going to be a problem as far as the grant money goes?
>Finally, we were originally going to offer the clinic free but someone
>brought up the fact that we need preregistrations so we know how many
>people to plan on and how many to prepare lunch for. If we now charge
>a small entry fee in order to get a more accurate account of how many
>women will attend, will this be a problem?
>I want to make absolutely sure that this is allowable with grant funds
>before we do something of this nature.
o/a May 11 Hadn’t heard back from WOT so resent the above email to the Montrose FRNA. Received the following reply from John W. Nelson:
>Do we have an answer for her? I don't think I have the authority to
>make that decision. If I did, I would advise her to make the change and
>then be prepared to account for it.
5/11/11 Still not having a solid answer from anyone, I called Gwen Chermack (Colorado Field Representative for NRA). Discussed our proposed changes from the original budget. She stated that “she was sure it would go through and didn’t see any problems with our changes – would just need for the chairman to review.” Also spoke with the Grant Allocations Center at NRA HQ in VA. Additionally, spoke with the distribution center at HQ in VA. The woman I spoke with in Grants (Sandy Elkin) also stated that there shouldn’t be any problems with the changes. Just needed to get it to our Field Rep and the State Chairman for approval.
Emailed the following to Gwen et al to be passed on to the chairman. Copied Montrose FNRA and WOT director on email.
This email and attachments are in regards to Grant Number 11CO03 for the Chief Ouray Gun Club.
I have copied Diane Danielson, NRA Women On Target Coordinator; Gwen Chermack, Colorado Field Rep for the NRA; Debi Harmon, Mark Harmon, and John Nelson from the Black Canyon Friends of the NRA.
I thought it might be easier to get down in writing what I’m looking for and send the budget along as well.
We’ve been meeting as a committee for the Women On Target shoot since learning of the grant award back in November. Of course, once you get many heads together, everyone has new ideas. I must admit that I didn’t have any help when I put the grant request together so I used only my own ideas. Now that the grant has been awarded, there are better suggestions.
The gist of what we want to do/changes we want to make:
1) We realized that we needed training guns (this is an addition to the original request)
2) One of our NRA RSOs pointed out that we need a deeper backstop (more dirt) for this shoot for safety reasons (also an addition)
3) We would like to provide lunch for the attendees (also an addition)
4) We need to take registrations in advance. To make sure registrants show up the day of, it was suggested that we charge a small ($35) entry fee. This is a change to the original request. We were originally going to offer the shoot free of charge.
5) We would like to swap out some of the larger caliber guns for guns with less recoil as these will be newer shooters and we don’t want to scare them off!
Please see the attached worksheet. The second tab shows how the money was originally to be allocated. The first tab shows our proposed changes. We realize that there is a deficit on the revised sheet. We are NOT asking for additional funds. The Chief Ouray Gun Club will pick up the additional cost.
My question to you, however, is CAN WE make the noted (above and on the worksheets) changes in how we spend the grant money. This is all, of course, still going to be utilized to put on the Women On Target shoot as originally planned, and will not be used for any purpose other than that.
The event is scheduled for August 27 from 8:00 – 6:00.
I also want to reiterate that NO grant funds have arrived, thus none of these changes in the budget have been made as of yet.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
After speaking with these folks, I felt comfortable that no one at NRA or FNRA would have a problem with our proposed changes.
5/18/11 received check to COGC for $6,495. The remaining $9,000+ was held by the NRA for purchase of items originally covered in the grant that would go through the NRA store. Having not yet received anything in writing from anyone stating that our changes were okay, I started researching and making calls again.
Also sent the following message to COGC Board and WOT Committee:
How exciting! We just received a check from the NRA for part of the grant funds. The check is for $6,495. The balance of the $15,000 (the portion we didn’t get) are being held by the NRA. These were for items that, at the time I submitted the grant request, I had to input to order through the NRA. Those items are a whole bunch of ammo, a few guns, the safe, etc. (have to look at the original budget again to see what else is on there).
When I spoke with our NRA State Field rep, she said that she could get that adjusted (in other words, take off the portion of the ammo that we don’t need, some of the guns since we changed them, etc.).
What I propose we do is wait to deposit this check until we receive the written notice from the NRA that the changes we’ve made as a committee are okay. The following people have already told me that they’re okay with the changes to the budget but I’d feel more comfortable with the written notification in hand before we move forward:
NRA Grant Allocations center at NRA HQ in VA
Women On Target head at NRA HQ in VA
Gwen Carmack, our NRA State Field Rep
NRA Distribution Center at NRA HQ in VA (this is who will ultimately ship the items we order through the NRA, like the safe)
Montrose Friends of the NRA Grant Allocations Committee: Mark Harmon, Debi Harmon, John W. Nelson
Finally, Gwen has spoken to her boss
I’ve attached an Excel spreadsheet here that shows the original budget on one tab and the most recent revision on the other. When I had to submit the revisions to the NRA last week, I took out the income of $3,500 from entry fees for the shoot to leave it showing a deficit.
I also received an email from the NRA asking me to click their link to finalize the NRA portion of our expenditures (the safe, etc.). I have not done this yet because, again, I want that written approval before we make the changes. This link is void after 90 days.
Let me know if you have ANY questions. Some of this seems confusing so I might be able to make sense of some of it for you.
We should get together as a committee pretty soon as well. The check does say “void after 90 days”.
Spoke with Gwen again. Still didn’t see any problems. Asked her to continue kicking our request up to the right people for written/final approval.
5/23/11 received a call from a Richard Gandolf. I believe he is either one or two steps above Gwen. He proceeded to tell me the following, which is in total contradiction to what others have told me and in contradiction to the email he sent in January:
1) WOT grants historically have not been awarded for more than $5,000. I asked why then did we get it. He replied that “well, someone must have really wanted you all to have that money”. I asked if this was okay. He indicated it might be troublesome. We maybe should do two WOT shoots this year to use up all of the money.
2) Told me that “we don’t need that much money to put on a WOT shoot and started picking apart the following from the ORIGINAL AND AMENDED budgets. He said:
a. We shouldn’t be asking for money for guns – usually clubs use loaner guns
b. Didn’t need that much ammo
c. Shouldn’t be paying the 4H Hall a fee. I stated that that’s what they required. He demanded to know who owned the 4H hall. If it was the 4H, he would “make them give us the hall for free because the NRA has given a lot of goods to the 4H”. (Side note: this makes me uncomfortable that the NRA feels they can tell other organizations what to do when they’ve given them money. Is our club going to be dru! g around by the nose later because we’ve accepted such a sizeable grant?)
d. Said the club should pick up the insurance fee – not the NRA/WOT shoot
e. Shouldn’t provide lunch for the women
f. Wouldn’t get eye protection, ear protection, vests (safety), hats, or visors from the NRA. (Note: the WOT people told me that they WOULD provide these items free of charge and it is in their paperwork as such and I have an email reflecting this). I asked why they would tell me we would get it and now he says we won’t, he said that “the gal is new and kind of knows better but doesn’t really know better”.
g. Gave examples of how the NRA later got tee’d off at other clubs and asked for guns back, which had been provided under grant. (Note: This says they view the guns and other items) as their property even after they’ve been legally transferred to a club/private party.)
h. Told me that “with this much money, we’d need to put on TWO WOT shoots this year”.
i. Said that “if any of the items in our proposal were available through the NRA store, we HAD to buy them through the NRA store. So if a .223 rifle were available through the NRA store, but it was cheaper at Cabela’s, we would have to buy through the NRA store anyway. Or risk giving the money back if we didn’t buy through NRA. This was NEVER mentioned to me by anyone at any point in the process until his call this day.
j. No one in grant allocations at HQ had reviewed our budget prior to approving it. Said that “the gal who approves them wasn’t allowed to see it”. When I asked why, he didn’t know.
k. I asked why no one along the way at the NRA had told us any of this until after the grant was awarded. Apparently there has been too much changing of positions at the NRA and it got missed. The field rep is new, the WOT director is new, etc.
l. He said we “didn’t need what we had in the budget for advertising and should be able to do it all free”
m. I asked him what the resolution was to this and he couldn’t give me an answer. He nixed several things from the original budget as well as the revised budget but still seemed to think we could keep all of the money but didn’t know how or where we could spend it!
Conclusion: One hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing at the NRA and we seem to be stuck in the middle. They are overly large and bureaucratic. I might as well be trying to get a resolution from the DMV. I am deeply concerned that if we accept the NRA’s money we may be at the mercy of the NRA now and into the future. This last person’s attitude was one of “ownership” over everything we do (reference the taking back of another club’s guns years later). I am concerned that if we purchase anything outside the NRA store (even though some of the non-NRA items that are on the original budget ! are available through the store and they sent us the check accordingly) we could be in trouble.
My feeling is that we should graciously decline the NRA’s money and either skip the WOT shoot or put on a women’s shoot on our own on a shoestring budget. After much reflection on the various conversations I’ve had with the NRA folks, and the lack of a solid answer and one in writing (and whose written word would we trust – everyone has a different story), this puts us at risk as a club.
Finally, we could fight this but do we want to spend our time and energy fighting an organization the size of the NRA? I personally don’t have the time or energy at this point to fight with these folks.
We also need to address the dirt that was trucked to the range.
Gayle Buske, Secretary
CHIEF OURAY GUN CLUB
Director/President: Bob Morss 970.729.0571
Director/Vice President: Mike Ardoin 970.626.5313 email@example.com
Director/Secretary: Gayle Buske 970.325.9923 or 608.692.7815 firstname.lastname@example.org
Director/Treasurer: Sue Williamson 970.626.3211 email@example.com
Director: Dave Coleman 970.325.4867 firstname.lastname@example.org
Director: Bob Cole 818-314-7610 email@example.com
Director: Mike Fedel (970) 318-1423 firstname.lastname@example.org
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