All posts by AA SF/Marin Intergroup

The Buzz | October 30, 2020

Follow-up from last week’s Special Intergroup Meeting

The Intergroup Board of Directors hosted a special meeting on Wednesday, October 21st to discuss the Special Projects Fund and the bequest that was accepted to create the fund. All members of the Marin and San Francisco fellowship were invited to participate.

Background information about the bequest, the slide deck from the meeting, minutes and more can be found here. If your home group does not have an Intergroup Representative, we encourage you to elect one so that your group has a voice and a vote and stays up to date on all matters concerning IFAA. Our next orientation and general meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.

Marin Outdoor Meetings Guidelines and Q&A

Earlier this week, Marin General Service and the Public Information/Cooperation with the Professional Community (PI/CPC) Committee held a Town Hall and presented guidelines for hosting outdoor meetings, provided information on the parks involved, and answered questions. All of the details are here – please take a look!

Sanity and Simplicity Event is Tomorrow!

Don’t forget to OMMM. The virtual meditation event hosted by the 11th Step Wholly Together Meditation Meeting of A.A. is happening tomorrow @ 9am PST! See our website or click on the flyer below for details.

Pax West 27th Annual Men’s Dinner (Virtual) Next Friday!

While dinner will, unfortunately, not be provided this year, the Pax West Men’s Dinner & Meeting will be on Friday, November 6th @ 6pm PST. There will be 3 speakers and a Sobriety Countdown. Zoom info is located in the flyer below! Men, let us dine together and let sobriety shine together.

Gratitude Month – It’s coming! How will your group celebrate this November?

What’s Gratitude Month, anyway? 

In November, we set aside time to express thanks to the fellowship. Gratitude month dates back to the 1940s when the General Service Board hosted gatherings to express personal gratitude for sobriety and appreciation to our professional friends for their articles, books, radio and T.V. interviews relating to A.A. over the past year.

In the Bay Area, Gratitude Month is traditionally practiced by passing the Seventh Tradition basket a second time, with the entirety of the collection from the second basket being contributed to Central Office.** However, groups around the country and around the world each have their own customs for celebrating Gratitude Month, including holding Tradition discussion meetings in place of the regular format, or by making “gratitude” the discussion topic during the month.

You may have heard that our General Service Office in NY has drawn down from their prudent reserve this year, largely due to a decrease in revenue from literature sales. Your group may want to consider supporting GSO with Gratitude Month collections this year as they build their prudent reserve back up.

Groups are encouraged to come up with their own imaginative ways to foster an attitude of gratitude among the fellowship. Box 459, the GSO’s newsletter, put it so well: “How about trying something new, something your group has never done before, which will make the members’ gratitude more tangible and real?” Here in the Bay Area we’ve always been good about finding new and inventive ways to do things, so let’s be creative!

**Treasurers: Please note “Gratitude Month” along with the other necessary identifying info on your group’s contributions so that they may be properly recorded.

Service Please!

Upcoming Service Committee meetings for the coming week:
  • Technology Committee is at it again, having their monthly meeting this upcoming Monday.

  • Marin General Service is having their monthly Twelve Concepts Study Meeting on Tuesday

  • Intergroup will be holding their monthly orientation and meeting on Wednesday:

It’s Yummy Season, Y’all

For the love of CANDY, please share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

Your IFAA Intergroup | Central Office

Special Intergroup Meeting: Response to Questions / Comments

Thank you to everyone involved in the discussion around the decision to accept the bequest and set up a special projects fund for our fellowship. We are blessed to have been given the opportunity to be of service to our fellow alcoholics from the beginning of the process. The founders of A.A. were clear from the very beginning that every voice should be heard. One of our greatest challenges is making sure every voice gets heard. Luckily for us, the founders also did a great deal of the heavy lifting in this regard and we have an organization with a service structure that supports this goal.

At the Special Projects Fund Meeting on Wednesday, Oct 21 we heard from over 20 of the roughly 80 participants and compiled their questions/comments/concerns. Here is a list of what we heard:

  • How seriously did we consider the traditions/concepts/principles?
  • Why wasn’t this brought to the groups before accepting the money?
  • How come it wasn’t more readily disseminated to the groups/members?
  • Members expressed a desire to return the money, or return all but 10k.
  • How is the money to be spent?
  • Was there precedent, were other entities (Intergroups/CO/GSO) consulted?
  • What will happen with the second bequest?

How seriously did we consider the traditions/concepts/principles?

The experience, strength and hope present at the monthly business meeting of Intergroup representatives is overflowing with knowledge and appreciation for the service structure of A.A.: years of experience in dealing with matters concerning the traditions, concepts and principles; the strength of the representatives comes from the trust their groups’ members place in their decisions; and the hope incumbent in the gift of sobriety as the ultimate goal for all those who have a desire to stop drinking. We fully understand and share the concerns expressed around the dangers of accepting a considerable sum of money from a deceased member of our Fellowship. We considered the long form of Tradition 7 which states: “acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries, which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds with no stated A.A. purpose.” The Special Projects Fund was set up with a specifically stated purpose and through the decision making process as it exists in our business meetings, a summary of the circumstances can be found here

Some members expressed their belief that it did not matter how strongly Intergroup believed in the usefulness of the projects to assist our fellowship’s capability to help the still suffering alcoholic as it clearly violated the traditions and was harmful to A.A. as a whole. A.A. as a whole is constantly facing challenges that require our careful consideration in an ever changing environment. Sometimes the solutions to those problems may involve decisions that cause discomfort and unease within our membership. This has been the case since the beginning, and the structure built by those who have gone before us was tested repeatedly and came out stronger on the other side. The traditions, concepts and principles emerged out of what Bill W. termed the “Constructive Use of Trouble.” He states, “This trouble is now converted into an educational process. It is something for growth, and progress becomes our most important product – and trouble is the touchstone, the stimulus, to the perfection of that progress.” However the results of the decision to institute a Special Projects Fund turns out, A.A. as a whole will be stronger for the debate and loving discussion that surrounds the process. 

Why wasn’t this brought to the groups before accepting the money? How come it wasn’t more readily disseminated to the groups/members?

The Intergroup Representative (IGR) is the primary conduit through which the business of Intergroup is conducted. At any given time roughly 7% of the groups have an active IGR. This has been the case for many years and increasing outreach to the fellowship is one of our greatest challenges. If your group is not currently represented you can find information on the role and responsibility of the IGR here. Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (IFAA, or “Intergroup”) is a function of the service structure in AA by which the individual groups and members can achieve the primary purpose of helping the still suffering alcoholic. IFAA procedure relies on the participation of its members to operate and maintain the services provided and is consistently aiming to improve and expand the efficacy of both the services provided and the participation of the groups. The establishment of the Special Projects Fund is specifically rooted in assuring the continued dedication to IFAA’s purpose of serving the groups and the still suffering alcoholic. 

Members expressed a desire to return the money, or return all but 10k.

This request has been added as “New Business” to the current agenda at Intergroup.

How is the money to be spent?

You can find details about how the money is being spent and plans for future projects here

Was there precedent, were other entities (Intergroups/CO/GSO) consulted?

There have been other service entities that have taken large sums of money and addressed the concerns of their members over the decision. We have heard from a number of other people involved in service expressing their support and interest in how this process came about and in how it develops going forward. GSO was not specifically consulted during our decision making process but responded to our inquiry for their feedback recently. Their response is as follows:

I spoke with our Archivist and also with senior staff and there were a few common themes.  One of them, which you brought up in your email, is that in accordance with Tradition 4, each AA entity is autonomous and develops its own informed group conscience on how to apply the Tradition to its daily operations and activities.  While G.S.O. does currently have a limit of $10,000 for individual bequests, other A.A. entities, guided by A.A. principles and Traditions may certainly have a different threshold.

Another theme was to look closely at Tradition Seven, especially the long form which has more specifics to it: 

The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other 2 outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.

The Tradition cautions treasuries not to “accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose.”  From what you described, there were clearly defined purposes for the contributions and that they related to carrying the message of A.A.

The long form says “…that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise.”  It is up to the informed group conscience to decide if these contributions carried any obligation and what is the definition of “large gifts.” 

Several of us remembered the discussion at Conference when the bequest limit was raised from $5,000 to $10,000.  Some members spoke about how we should rely on the entire Fellowship for support rather than looking to wealthy members.  They shared that this is another expression of the spiritual concept of anonymity – no one stands out because of the amount of money they give to A.A.  The ideal is that we all get the chance for that feeling of belonging that comes from contributing as well as the spiritual rewards of giving with no reward in mind.  There is the potential for large contributions to engender a feeling of “I don’t have to participate in self-support, it’s covered by a few high rollers.” It’s good to ask if that has happened since the contributions were accepted, or not?

One other theme brought up was that we are a self-correcting Fellowship.  The process you described bears that out:  the fact that the Board at first declined the contribution, then opened it up to a broader discussion (which is in keeping with our Traditions and Concepts) and decided to accept it.  If another correction needs to be made, well that’s just A.A.

As our literature reminds us, “we are not saints” and “it’s progress, not perfection.”  If we do make a mistake, Step Ten instructs us to “make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone.  Then resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.”  

I hope there is something in this hastily gathered experience that is helpful. 

What will happen with the second bequest?

The second bequest is currently under further consideration by Intergroup.

Special Projects Fund Meeting Minutes

October 21, 2020

  1. Introductions – (Alan G)
    1. Open Meeting with the Serenity Prayer
    2. Why are we here? Members have expressed their interest concerning IFAA’s acceptance of a bequest for $140,000
    3. Hope to continue the conversation from last month’s IGR meeting
      1. Information will be posted to the website 
    4. We’re not trying to change minds, this is to provide information, why the decision was made and how it was made
  2. Review Decision Making Process
    1. Timeline (Renee)
      1. Early in 2019 IFAA was contacted by an estate that there was a potentially large bequest which was initially declined
      2. Later in 2019 at the October 2019 IG meeting there was a conversation about the individual ($5,000) and moratorium limits ($10,000). At this time we discussed how IFAA was a separate entity and we received unanimous support from IG to continue discussions
      3. IFAA Board discussed options to accept the funds beyond the $10,000 level
      4. In March, 2020 the IFAA Board received consensus from IG to accept the full amount of bequest as a one time exception leaving our limits in place
      5. April, 2020 IFAA accepted the $140,000 bequest where it was recorded as income and then segregated into a Special Project Funds that would not be used to cover general operating expenses 
      6. Note: there is an opportunity for IFAA to provide more detailed meeting minutes moving forward
    2. Review of Decision Making in Intergroup
      1. Address the general principles by which IFAA operates and how decisions get made
      2. Info packets each month provide information on how to get motions onto the agenda and the consensus decision making model which provides IFAA with a more rigorous procedure around the minority opinion and get to a point where we are as close as possible to unanimity
      3. Who gets a vote: Per the Bylaws each IGR is given 
      4. What gets decided at Intergroup vs. the Board?
        1. Inspired by Concept 3 “The right of decision”, the Board is beholden to the lay and Bylaw and beyond that it is a matter of discretion to decide what matters are brought to the entire Intergroup
        2. The authority of the Groups – each representative is allowed to bring forward a motion which is considered by the Board
        3. Approval of the intergroup resolution is by substantial unanimity (⅔ majority) which is different from Robert’s Rules which requires only a majority or 50% +1
  3. Use of Special Project Funds
    1. Operational Challenges
      1. Outreach and engagement – a conservative estimate is that we spend about 50% of our time on 
      2. Rotation – Impact of rotation allows for more members to be in service commitments, however, at any given time you lose human capital or 
      3. Communication Channels
        1. Curate content
        2. Assessed connectivity when we went through the transition of the Point to digital from mail at which point a survey was conducted to understand how
      4. Economies of Scale
        1. Number of people involved in service outside the group is minimal so we started to 
      5. Contributions from Individual members
      6. Volunteer membership 
    2. Overview of Special Projects Fund
      1. 7 – 8% of groups had representation at Intergroup
      2. Named Director of a 501(c)3 nonprofit 
      3. Operations committee during the Fall retreat
        1. Lease expiration where a move could be costly
        2. Accounting software transition from desktop to online presented challenges 
        3. Database was a custom database that was managed by a single volunteer and it became clear that we needed to look at purchase of a 
        4. Integration of SMS text messaging for 12th step calls and meeting reminders
    3.  Comments from Fellowship

Raise your hand to share your thoughts, the chat will remain closed. 2 minutes per share.

  • Melanie – AA is held to a higher standard than most non-profits. Where is our discussion of the 7th tradition? Are the by-laws more important than the traditions. (If we don’t change our decision, she will not feel comfortable ever providing 7th tradition)
  • Thatcher – Questions our decision and our process. Trusted servants should follow the guidelines and traditions, concepts and steps – clearly not the case in this choice. Wants us to pause any more spending of this money, and take it to the groups we serve for consideration. This will harm other intergroups. “No more special money.” What about the second request? This is not good.
  • Vanessa H. – Thank you to Maury and Board. This has come up because of discussion at GSR meeting. Traditions and concepts were not being followed. She understands that a lot of consideration was put into this, but she hopes everyone stays civil. This was a decision made in love, and we can disagree in love. 
  • Jennifer K.- From Marin. She understands one of our intentions is to share with other intergroups. Have the other intergroups ever had a bequest like this? How have they handled this? Did we speak to GSO? What was their response? Intergroup is autonomous – *except where it affects other groups or AA as a whole* — how might this affect aa as a whole?
  • Karen C. – This is the biggest issue to hit local AA since she’s been sober. The purpose of the money is irrelevant. All sounds like wonderful projects. But the 12 and 12 talks about this, and that money was probably for a good reason too. We have a principle of corporate poverty. We need to admit we made a mistake. Not spend more than $10K. Until we can give a thorough airing and let groups decide. We should be grateful for $20k. Need to keep principles.
  • Fiona – Thank everyone for service. Has experience in service at IG. Just found out about this last week. Concerned about this. Concerned that very little was mentioned in the IG minutes (she lists various month’s meeting minutes). How many IGRs are actually telling their meeting this information? Who are the consultants? What is the cost breakdowns? More transparency. Let the groups make the decision. More discussion is needed. Put money on hold.
  • John R. – Decision has been made and this meeting is after the fact, and he is troubled. Couldn’t find anything in minutes. Bylaws do not trump traditions. Need does not give us the right to circumvent the traditions. Understand that COVID made things difficult. Was not at March meeting – was it a 2/3rds vote to accept the fund? He’s a long time member. Let’s rethink – not spend any more money than $10k and take back to groups to have a new vote.
  • Kathleen – IGR for Coconuts Meetings. She cites the concepts for why we should be using consultants and get the best for our fellowship. But she is concerned that we went against our policy of limits. Breakdown in the communication. March 2020 was a very small meeting, not well represented. She doesn’t feel like there was a real vote. It was a chaotic time to communicate a big decision.
  • Brian – He would like to know the mechanics for getting a motion on the next IG meeting to put a vote on the floor to return all but 10K of the bequest. We are in a leadership position – our board is great, the tech is great – but we need to return money.
  • Alex – Appreciate the report. He has served on tech committee – more happening in the last nine months than last many years combined. What Patrick said in his report – single point of failure – is true. He wants to acknowledge the good work. Wants Jennifer’s questions answered (what are those questions? See notes above). 
  • Michael M. – Thank you to Board. The fellowship is upset that they were not addressed before violating traditions. He knows Dallas has taken a large bequest. He knows it is not unusual. But we should have come to the fellowship and ask. He knows we have the best intentions. Groups could have provided the money we needed.
  • Jaime – Intentions don’t matter. Now we have money. He would like us to give it back. Was the deceased a member of AA (alcoholic?)? Wants us to refuse the second bequest.
  • Liz – Thanks everyone! Everyone is participating tonight, not everyone was around back in March. She is passionate about finding a common solution. We have to fix the technology solutions, otherwise we waste volunteers time. Discussion was lengthy and slow at the Board. Time will tell what will happen next, but she hopes that people will be as informed as they can be and not be emotional.
  • Marie – Some of us have taken Central Office for granted. This has sparked a desire to be more involved with Central Office. We are first and foremost part of AA. We have to follow traditions. Board has the right to make decisions. Fellowship has the right to appeal a decision. Do the right thing – make amends – give the money back and say sorry. We have not been trustworthy.
  • Julie S. – Thank you for the presentation. Thinks we should give the money back! Ask the groups for the money we need to update our systems. In favor of righting this wrong and looking at our communication and the breakdown. (also a problem at General Service). What can we do to fix that?
  • Leslie – Thank you everyone. 1) idea of helping other intergroups – actually causes concern. She’s not sure why, but that we should be taking care of our local area and not other areas. 2) She is GSR and they have an IFR – She doesn’t like that it was brought as a decision and not a discussion
  • Paul – We see a lot of people are passionate about AA. We need better communication in terms of the bigger issues we’re facing. Was hoping that more of tonight would be around the decision – not the need for the money – but why we accepted it.
  • Chip – Thank everyone involved. As we can see from tonight’s comments, most people are just learning about this. Surprised by the Board’s decision. Perhaps groups have to take responsibility for that because they are not involved enough. But blame is not important. It would be a good idea for the Board to step back, get the group’s more involved and take a new consensus.
  • Gareth – Works on H&I committee. New to AA. Cares about the traditions. Tradition 7 is important. This issue has come up before and AA has learned from its mistakes. We are not supposed to become rich, or for-profit. We should decline “outside contribution.” He would like to vote to send money back.
  • Rob – Echoing Chip. He has attended meetings that have IGRs, and he’s fortunate in that respect. This is a lesson to get involved, and report back to groups so that everyone will know what’s going on.
  • Hunter – Thank you for the special meeting. He is in favor of the Board’s decision to accept bequest. He believes the main thing here is don’t drink. And AA has changed his life. AA and steps have been around longer than traditions – we’re still learning. He does believe we need to keep transparent about the use of funds.
  • Judy – Thank you to the Board for getting everyone up to speed. She agrees with most of the concerns everyone has voiced tonight. She mentions a previous discussion about raising contribution limits – but it needs to be a discussion. Go back to the groups and get their input. We’ve done more to respond during COVID than most.
  • Cathy – Thank you for service. Learned a lot. Cites the Rockafeller dinner as example. Intergroup did a fantastic job during pandemic getting info out. Contribution amount comes up every year at the general service conference. Personally, she’d like us to return the money and ask the members of the fellowship for what we need.

Wrap Up and adjournment. Info will be posted at aasfmarin.org/10212020.

The Buzz | October 23, 2020

Special Meeting Debrief

Thank you to everyone who attended the special meeting hosted by Intergroup’s Board of Directors on Wednesday. This meeting was held to discuss the Special Projects Fund and the bequest that was accepted to create the fund. In case you missed it, background information about the bequest, the decision-making process, and plans for the funds can be found hereWe will post the slide deck and minutes from the meeting, so please stay tuned.

Marin Outdoor Meetings Town Hall on Tuesday!

Marin County recently approved outdoor recovery meetings! The County has created required guidelines and Marin County Parks have approved meetings on a permit basis. Marin General Service and the Public Information/Cooperation with the Professional Community (PI/CPC) Committee will be holding a Town Hall to present these guidelines, provide information on the parks involved, and answer questions. Check out their awesome flyer below! If you have questions prior to the event, please contact MarinGeneralService@gmail.com.

Sanity and Simplicity – Meditation Event

Start your Halloween off right with this virtual meditation event hosted by the 11th Step Wholly Together Meditation Meeting of A.A.! Get your zombie zen on bright and early @ 9am. See below for details.

Intergroup Fast Fact: How is Intergroup different than General Service?

Basically, Intergroup serves groups in its local community while General Service connects groups nationally and worldwide.

“Central offices and general service area committees are complementary, rather than competitive, A.A. operations. Both exist to help insure A.A. unity and to fulfill A.A.’s primary purpose of carrying the message,” A.A. Guidelines Central or Intergroup Offices (MG 02).

The Week in Service…


Upcoming Service Committee meetings for next week:
  • CNCA, or California Northern Coastal Area, is having their monthly meeting tomorrow.

  • Marin Teleservice is meeting on Tuesday for their orientation and business meeting.
    • Orientation @ 6:30pm
    • Business @ 7:30pm

Meow’s the Word

For the love of kitty cats, please share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

Your IFAA Intergroup | Central Office

The Buzz | October 16, 2020

October Intergroup Meeting Debrief

SF/Marin Intergroup met on October 7, 2020. The meeting summary and financials from that meeting are now available on aasfmarin.org/intergroup.

Special Meeting Next Wednesday

The Intergroup Board of Directors is hosting a special meeting to continue the conversation started at the October 7, 2020 Monthly Intergroup Meeting about the Special Projects Fund and the bequest that was accepted to create the fund. All members of the Marin and San Francisco fellowship are invited to attend and have their voices heard.

We are encouraged by the constructive feedback we’ve received thus far … remember, love and tolerance is our code!

When:  Wednesday, October 21 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Where:  Via Zoom.
Meeting ID: 912 0509 7398

In case you missed it, background information about the bequest, the decision-making process, and plans for the funds can be found here.

Our Meeting Finder Now Lists In-Person and Online Meetings!

Go to aasfmarin.org/meetings to check it out. Help us make sure alcoholics can get to meetings by keeping our information up-to-date — here’s how:

  • You can add new meetings here.
  • You can submit changes to meetings already listed from within the meeting finder itself! Find the meeting, click on it, and then click the “Update Meeting Info” button (if you can’t view video demonstration below, click here).

Sunshine Club Brings Light to Dark Times

To support members who do not have access to technology or do not feel comfortable joining virtual meetings, our Sunshine Club is transitioning their support for the homebound to the old-fashioned telephone call!

If you know of any member who is isolated and would like a weekly call from a Sunshine Club “phone buddy,” please send their name and information to sunshine@aasfmarin.org.

Our Turn to Nudge the Judge

SF Public Relations Committee is seeking a team of volunteers to work on outreach with local courts, public defenders’ offices and recovery facilities regarding “slip signing” at virtual Zoom meetings.

Experience with the legal system as a lawyer, DUI defendant or treatment facility could be helpful, but is not essential. 

Please contact sfpr@aasfmarin.org for more information.

Tomorrow is Marin Unity Day and Call Marty!

A reminder that two awesome events are happening tomorrow, Saturday, October 17!

Marin Unity Day is from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm tomorrow October 17! Come join us for a day of connection, fun and fellowship, and learn about the service entities that work to keep A.A. alive and well. Please see our website for more details.

Call Marty! Celebrating Marty Mann, A.A. Pioneer is the sober women’s event which will be all day tomorrow October 17 from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm! Don’t miss it!

The Week in Service…


Upcoming Service Committee meetings for next week:
  • How does one preserve A.A. legacy? Join Archive Committee’s monthly meeting this Sunday to find out.

  • SF Teleservice is calling YOU to tell you what they’re all about. Tune in on Monday for their orientation and business meeting.

  • HelpChat is having their monthly orientation and business meeting on Tuesday.
    • Orientation @ 5:00 pm
    • Business @ 6:00 pm

  • Marin General Service is also having their monthly orientation and business meeting on Monday.
    • Orientation @ 6:45 pm
    • Business @ 7:30 pm

  • And last, but not least, Marin PI/CPC will be holding their monthly meeting on Thursday.

Put a Leaf on it!

For the love of leaf prints, please share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

Your IFAA Intergroup | Central Office

Intergroup News | October 2020

This is an unofficial summary of the October 2020 Intergroup meeting provided for convenience; it is not intended to be the completed approved minutes. For a complete copy of the minutes and full committee reports see “Intergroup” on our website aasfmarin.org.

Our Intergroup exists to support the groups in their common purpose of carrying the A.A. message to the still suffering alcoholic by providing and coordinating services that are difficult for the individual groups to execute.

The Intercounty Fellowship has been organized by, and is responsible to, the member groups in San Francisco and Marin for the purpose of coordinating the services that individual groups cannot provide.

The meeting was held on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, online via Zoom. The meeting was started with a call to order and the Serenity Prayer. The September 2020 minutes and the October 2020 agenda were approved.

Intergroup-2020-October-Roll-Call-v2

Standing Reports

Board Chair, Alan G. We are looking for a new board member; Josh R. has moved out of the area. Contact governance@aasfmarin.org if you are interested. We will be holding a Committee Fair next month. FYI: committee meetings are listed on the website in the Events Calendar at aasfmarin.org/events. The Committee Fair may extend over two months. The Central Office lease expires in October 2021.

Treasurer, Renee T. The August 2020 Financial Report is as follows: Group Contributions are still down, however, Individual Contributions have more than made up the difference. Our Operating Expenses are under budget. The current rating is “Excellent.”

Quarterly Report for Special Projects Fund Expenses for special projects was $3,325.

The 2021 Budget Process is starting. All Committee Chairs should begin their budget request process. Responses are needed by October 31, 2020.

Question: Is the Special Projects Fund earning interest? Answer: It is yielding a very low amount of interest.

Question: Why does the Special Project Fund not appear on the Income slide? Answer: It was brought in as a Special Fund outside of the regular budget. We did not want to disrupt the normal budget reporting, as it would have made the Income versus Budget appear overstated. It was received in April and reflected on the April Income Statement (separately).

Question: Does the ask for budgets apply to groups? Answer: It is only for the committees.

Executive Director, Maury P. Central Office will be closed for Indigenous Peoples’ (Columbus) Day. Literature pick up hours are limited to Tuesday through Friday, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, for that week. Literature pickup is no-contact. A digital Newcomer Packet is now on the website at aasfmarin.org/new-to-aa. The 35th Annual ICOAA Seminar for all Central Offices and Intergroups just concluded. It was the first virtual seminar for this annual gathering. 

Question: The website information for the bookstore seems to be off. Answer: Let us know where you found it and we can fix it.

Question: It is difficult to call Central Office directly. Answer: Since COVID-19 came about, all communications have been routed through Teleservice and HelpChat. We are thinking about splitting the office line and the helpline.

Intergroup Committee Reports

The Point, John B. The October Issue is now live on the website at Read/Listen. We are compiling audio for October and could use more voices to record the stories that appear in the issue. The Point committee meets once a month on the second Saturday at 12:30 pm. Contact: thepoint@aasfmarin.org.

SF Public Relations, Peter M. We are moving to a co-chair leadership format. The committee created a PowerPoint presentation for UCSF. It is pre-recorded for Zoom presentations. We are also working on a pamphlet for the Unhoused Alcoholic. At the SF Unity Day Workshop, we will be presenting “Anonymity During the Pandemic.” We have been helping set up H&I Zoom meetings at a hotel used for the unhoused. Our committee meetings are on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 pm. Contact: sfpr@aasfmarin.org.

The Buzz, Nikki T. We currently have 1810 subscribers. We encourage everyone to subscribe on the website at aasfmarin.org/the-buzz. To share events and service opportunities, email communications@aasfmarin.org on the Monday before the issue is to be sent. Reminder: if you don’t often open The Buzz email, your email address may be removed from the list. So … read each issue!

Technology, Taran R. for Richard A. We have been working on new meeting finder on aasfmarin.org, which will have a new way to update and list meetings. Our committee meetings are on the first Monday of the month at 6:00 pm. Contact: tech@aasfmarin.org.

HelpChat, Caitlin I am the new committee chair. We want to extend a sincere thank you to John H. for his outstanding service with HelpChat! We currently have lots of room in the schedule for new volunteers. HelpChat was down for one week in September. Taren R. helped to rebuild the platform. Our monthly orientation for new volunteers is held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6:00 pm. Contact: helpchat@aasfmarin.org.

Sunshine Club, Clayton B. We are currently asking our Sunshine Club volunteers to become “phone buddies” to people who are unable to attend an online meeting. If you would like to volunteer, contact: sunshine@aasfmarin.org.

Service Community Liaison Reports

General Service District 6 (San Francisco), Alison San Francisco Virtual Unity Day will be on Saturday, October 10 starting at 1:00 pm. Details are at aasfmarin.org/event/san-francisco-unity-day-2020. CNCA now has a tech subcommittee. AAWS redesigned the B2B webstore for Intergroups to purchase literature and a new online contribution experience for groups and members. Fall CNCA elections will be on Saturday, November 7, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Is there any interest to have a Spanish language pamphlet for the Latinix Alcoholic? The Inmate Pen Pal program is happening at San Quentin due to the pandemic.  

Question: Is there a need for a Spanish language pamphlet given all A.A. pamphlets are in English, Spanish and French? Answer: This would be written in Spanish (instead of translated) from the Latinix perspective.

San Francisco H&I, Penny C. Local H&I is still not doing in-person meetings. We have 15 zoom meetings going and dropping off literature. We are not doing orientations at this time. Our next business meeting will be Saturday, November 21 at 12:00 pm.

Question: Is H&I still actively in need of contributions? Answer: H&I is sound but contributions are down. Contributions may be made at handinorcal.org.

Marin Teleservice, Amanda We still have a few open shifts. We plan to participate in Marin Unity Day.

We meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm. New user orientation is at 6:30 pm.

General Service District 10 (Marin), Alex Marin Unity Day will be on Saturday, October 17, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Details are at aasfmarin.org/event/2020-marin-unity-day. For more info, contact: district10dcmc@gmail.com.

New Business

Survey Regarding Central Office Services and Location

The Central Office lease expiration will be October 2021. We need to begin to brainstorm what we might like to do (e.g., renew the lease, look for new office space, go virtual completely, go virtual with pop-up literature store, rent spaces as needed).

A.A. members’ statements regarding the bequest we accepted

Read the webpage about the bequest: https://aasfmarin.org/special-projects-fund

Comment: How does the Special Projects fund square with the 7th Tradition? Why was it not brought before more groups? Response: It was brought before the IFAA Board and the Intergroup.

Comment: Friendly Circle would like to return all but $10,000 of that money.

Comment: There doesn’t seem to be exceptions for “special projects” in the charter. It was not brought up in Target Messages? And there was a lack of transparency in how it was communicated.

aasfmarin.org Meeting Finder; New Meeting and Existing Meeting Update Forms

[Walk through of new meeting finder]

Targeted Message

  1. Encourage members of your groups to sign up for The Buzz; we are currently coordinating fellowship wide communication through that channel.
  2. A survey regarding the services offered by Central Office and Intergroup will be forthcoming. Please encourage participation by local members in SF and Marin. When it is ready, a link will go out via The Buzz.
  3. Please review information about your group using the new online Meeting Finder to validate accuracy. Trusted Servant Registration is up next. Meanwhile, see number 1 above.
  4. Updates your groups about what is going on at Intergroup.

Adjourn with the Responsibility Statement

Next Intergroup Meeting is Wednesday, November 4, 2020, location to be determined. Please email development@aasfmarin.org with any questions.

Treasurer’s Report

Month Ended August 2020

For August 2020, Gross Profit (revenue minus COGS) was $22,233, this was under budget by $2,753, mainly due to low book sales. Gross Profit is $11,480 over budget year to date.

Total Operating Expense for August was $21,334, which is under our average monthly expenses of $24k. Program expenses (committees) and operational expenses are less than expected.

The result is a Net Operating Surplus of $789 for the month. This leaves the fellowship with a $16,277 surplus year to date.

Group Contributions for August were $11,237, under budget by $5,025. Group contributions are $20,164 under budget year to date. Individual Contributions for August were $10,791, over budget by $4,990. Individual contributions are $44,197 over budget year to date. Bookstore Sales remain low and are $42,335 under budget year to date.

Total Unrestricted Cash for August 2020 was $110,667, a decrease of $1,258 from July 2020.  Unrestricted Cash is 4.6x monthly operating expenses.

OVERALL RATING FOR August 2020:   EXCELLENT

INTERGROUP FINANCE RATING SYSTEM

Every month we rate our monthly finances as “Excellent”, “Good”, “Fair” or “Poor”.  Generally speaking, here are the definitions of those terms:

EXCELLENT:  We exceeded our budget.  Our income was greater than our expenses for the month and we have more than two months’ worth of operating expenses in unrestricted cash balances.  Operating expenses are roughly $24K/month, so we’d have over $48K in unrestricted cash balances for the month.  The Intergroup rating has been “excellent” since December 2019.

GOOD: We are meeting our budget.  Our income for the month, or for the YTD, was slightly greater than our expenses and we’d have approximately 1.5 – 2 months of operating expenses in unrestricted cash balances. The last time we were “good” was in November 2019.

FAIR: We are not meeting our budget.  Our expenses were greater than our income for the month and for the YTD – and our unrestricted cash balance would be somewhere between 1 and 1.5x our operating expenses.

POOR: We are not meeting our budget and our unrestricted cash balances fell below one month of operating expenses. The last time we were “poor” was in December 2016.

The Buzz | October 9, 2020

Live 📣 Our New Meeting Finder… and More❣

We are thrilled to announce that the new meeting finder is now live on aasfmarin.org! Indoor Meeting? Outdoor Meeting? Hybrid? We can list them all! Please read about it here and pay close attention to the Call to Action we spoke of in prior issues! 

Holiday Closure

Reminder: Central Office will be closed Monday, October 12, 2020, in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (also known as Columbus Day). Literature pick up hours the rest of the week will be 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Literature and/or chip orders can be made online. More info here!

Reminder: SF Unity Day Tomorrow!

Don’t forget that tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, San Francisco General Service will be virtually hosting SF Unity Day! Our SF Public Relations Committee, formerly known as PI/CPC, will give a short presentation on Anonymity and COVID-19. Zoom in to learn more about General Service and some of the other local service entities. Our website has additional details, including the schedule.

And Next Week is Marin Unity Day!

Marin General Service will host their virtual Marin Unity Day on Saturday, October 17, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm! This lively afternoon will kick off with a speaker meeting featuring Billy N. at 1:15 pm, Archives presentation by Gail L. at 2:30 pm, and Teddy B-W sharing his General Service Conference Report at 3:00 pm. This event is designed to foster unity within our fellowship and highlight the service entities that work to keep A.A. alive and well. Come join us for a day of connection, fun and fellowship! See the flyer below and, as always, our website has the info as well.

The Usual Service Suspects…

It’s that time again, friends! Check the list below for upcoming Service Committee meetings:
 
  • What’s The Point, you say? Well it’s a publication, you see. A great one at that. Indeed, The Point Committee’s monthly meeting is tomorrow.

  • “Gihg-EE-Paw” is the pronunciation, GGYPAA is the acronym, and it stands for Golden Gate Young People in A.A. Young and “young at heart” are welcome at their monthly meeting this Sunday.

  • SF Public Relations is holding a Speaker Workshop and Orientation on Monday night. Come check it out!
  • Marin H&I is having their monthly orientation and business meeting on Tuesday.

  • SF General Service is also having their monthly meetings this upcoming Tuesday.

  • And, last but not least, SF General Service will be holding their Service Manual and Concepts Study meeting to round out your Tuesday night service.

Call Marty! Celebrating Marty Mann, A.A. Pioneer is a sober women’s event happening Saturday October 17, with our very own Mily T., local member, giving a talk on Marty M. followed by an afternoon of fabulous speakers. Ladies, you won’t want to miss this!

Would You Like to Write for The Point?

Submissions for the next (November) issue of The Point will be accepted through October 22, 2020

Share your story. Write for The Point

You can submit a word doc or even email an audio file to: thepoint@aasfmarin.org.

Take A Walk…

For the love of foggy Fall frolicking, please share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

Your IFAA Intergroup | Central Office

The Buzz | October 2, 2020

Announcements and Holiday Closure

Central Office will be closed next Monday October 12, 2020 in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (formerly known as Columbus Day). Additionally, for the week of 10/12, literature pickup hours will be reduced from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. That said, we may be able to make a special arrangement outside of those hours. Please inquire by emailing us at aa@aasfmarin.org.

As a reminder, you can still order books and chips online. No-contact curbside pick up is generally available Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (unless otherwise noted – see above).

Establishment of Intergroup Special Projects Fund

Central Office has recently received inquiries regarding a bequest accepted by IFAA (Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous of San Francisco and Marin Counties) earlier this year. The IFAA Board of Directors is providing background on this opportunity, the decision-making process, and our plans for the funds here.

It’s Almost Gratitude Month, Everyone!

You know what that means! Call to Action: please discuss with your groups and take a group conscience on whether to “pass” your now virtual 7th Tradition baskets a second time to help support Central Office during the month of November.

The Point Is….

October’s Issue of The Point is hot off the press! Check the website for the full issue. Delicious teasers below…

Julia’s Story by Bree L.
“She talked about how she used to come home from the night shift as a nurse at San Francisco General Hospital and drink wine, then could not stop. In A.A. she accumulated five years…”

Beginning the Maintenance Steps by Rick R.
“We cannot ignore the need for up-keep in the program any more than we can ignore maintenance when we purchase a new car.”

Rules versus Principles by Anonymous
“I don’t like being told what I can or cannot do. If I had walked in through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous and heard, ‘You must stop drinking’ or ‘You need to give us money’ or any other command, rule or regulation, I would have walked right back out.”

Use as Directed by Kathleen C.

“What do all these statements have in common? They show that somebody didn’t read Page 133 in the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, where it says: ‘God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons.’”

— and so much more!

Share your story ~
Email your own Word or audio file to: 
thepoint@aasfmarin.org

All About Unity!

Mark your calendars for not one, but TWO Unity Day Events! San Francisco General Service will be hosting SF Unity Day next Saturday, October 10th. See the flyer below or our website for more details. 

And be sure to Save the Date for the following weekend, when Marin General Service will host Marin Unity Day on Saturday, October 17th! See our website for more info. 

Unity Day SF is an opportunity for the fellowship to come together and learn about service opportunities in our area with presentations by the three autonomous service entities that serve AA meetings in San Francisco: Intergroup, General Service and H&I Northern California.

Please share this event information and flyer with your groups and at meetings you attend. Help us spread the word about this awesome bilingual event for the San Francisco fellowship!

Service, Service and More Service!

Who is having Committee meetings this week? We’re so glad you asked. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Technology Committee is starting us off strong with their monthly meeting, always sure to delight! Check it this coming Monday.

  • Ever wondered what the heck our A.A. Concepts are all about? Well wonder no more, as the monthly Twelve Concepts Study is here. Tune in this Tuesday.

  • Our dutiful Intergroup Monthly Orientation and Business Meeting will also be occurring this upcoming week:

Carve Out Some Space for Recovery

For the love of pumpkins, please share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

Your IFAA Intergroup | Central Office

Special Projects Fund

To our SF/Marin Fellowship:

Central Office has recently received inquiries regarding a bequest accepted by IFAA (Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous of San Francisco and Marin Counties) earlier this year. The IFAA Board of Directors would like to provide background around how this opportunity came about, the decision-making process, and our plans for the funds. Please note all of this information was made available via our monthly Intergroup Meetings and their corresponding minutes.

In 2019, we received notice from two (2) separate estates of deceased AA members that IFAA had been named as a beneficiary and that the amount was unknown, but expected to be greater than our contribution limits (close to $100k). IFAA’s policy is to observe the same contribution limits as those observed by AA General Service Office (GSO) – currently, $5,000 limit for an individual member (annually) and $10,000 limit for a bequest (one-time). 

For several months, our Board discussed the pros and cons of accepting these bequests in light of AA’s Traditions and our current contribution policy. We also notified the broader Intergroup of this topic and our ongoing deliberation. After several months of deliberation, the Board concluded that accepting these bequests to fund larger scale projects that we otherwise would not be able to fund would enable us to better serve our fellowship and further our organization’s mission to serve the AA groups of San Francisco and Marin and to bring services to the still suffering alcoholic that individual groups cannot provide. Further, our goal is to share the end result of these projects with Intergroups in other areas, to the extent possible, thereby maximizing the reach of these funds.

At the March 2020 Intergroup Meeting, the Finance Committee of the Board presented our decision to accept the bequests and set up a Special Projects Fund. At that time, we opened the floor for feedback/questions and had a healthy discussion. While a few members expressed concern about setting an undesirable precedent, the majority of Intergroup members showed strong support for the decision. We all agreed that accepting these bequests would be viewed as a one-time exception to our policy, rather than changing or amending the policy to increase the contribution limits.

In April 2020, we accepted one estate’s bequest totaling $140,000, and used it to establish the Special Projects Fund. The other bequest is still pending contingent on the settlement of the estate.

The Special Projects Fund is set aside to tackle projects that go above and beyond our traditional capabilities, and is not being used for day-to-day operations of IFAA.

So far, these projects have included:

  • Migration of our back-office data systems (in progress) from a custom system to one based on commercial products (Airtable, Zapier, and TypeForm). For this project we engaged the help of a member from New York General Service and intend to develop guidance for other service entities that want to replicate it.

Future projects under consideration include:

  • Creating a meeting schedule PDF generator to be shared with other AA service entities
  • Software upgrades and implementation 
  • Consultant fees for specialized help (accounting/legal/tech)
  • Reserve for potential Central Office move (lease expires in October 2021) – while this is not a project, per se, it is an anticipated large expenditure our normal operating funds would not likely cover.

We will continue to provide a quarterly report on the fund financials and progress of the projects underway at future Intergroup meetings. 

If your homegroup does not have an Intergroup Representative, we encourage you to get one so that your group has a voice and stays up to date on all matters concerning IFAA.

In Service,
IFAA Board of Directors 

The Buzz | September 25, 2020

 

Digital Newcomer Packet and Zoom Updates


Please consider using New to A.A., a familiar resource on aasfmarin.org, as a Digital Newcomer Packet. We’ve just refreshed the content and encourage you to drop the link to this page in your Zoom meeting chat boxes!

While we are on the subject of newcomers, does your group use a breakout room? This Zoom feature can be a great way to talk to newcomers and let them know about resources available to support them. In addition to the Newcomer Packet, you can tell them Teleservice is answered 24/7, HelpChat is there for quick questions and we have volunteer members on our 12th Step List who would be happy to engage one-on-one with them either on the phone or via Zoom

Additionally, as a reminder, all meetings on the Zoom platform will require Waiting Room or Password as of this weekend; if these changes are not made by meeting hosts/admin by then, Zoom will automatically add a Waiting Room to your meeting.

Finally, while we are on the subject of Waiting Rooms, please remember that aspiring attendees in the Waiting Room cannot respond to chat messages, they can only receive them. This week we received information that a member was asked how they found out about the meeting (presumably in an effort to discourage would be disruptors), but that she had no way to reply.

Calling All Service Opportunities! You’re On Deck

 

What is CNCA? Glad you asked. It stands for California Northern Coastal Area and is one of six A.A. General Service Areas in California (we’re part of Area 06). Fun fact: CNCA geographically encompasses 21,427 square miles of coastal counties, across 23 districts, serving approx. 2k groups and 60k members! See what your reps are up to at the next business meeting.

A Message to Treasurers from H&I…

“This is a gentle reminder that although the pink cans cannot be virtually passed, we ask that when the 7th Tradition is announced, it is also mentioned to add a few dollars, as you see fit, for the Hospital and Institution’s (H&I) collection. You can also donate at https://www.handinorcal.org/contribute 

Your Hospital & Institution Committee is still out here doing everything they can to carry the message to confined alcoholics. During the pandemic and as always, H&I buys AA literature and distributes it at no cost to confined alcoholics. 

Contributions to H&I have fallen by more than 30% in Northern California and by 15% in San Francisco.   

We’re doing well, let’s do a smidgen better.”

You heard them, everybody, let’s do this! One team, one dream, right?

“The Wonderful World of Archives!”


Are you an A.A. history buff? Do you want to see how cool A.A. is and has been for decades? Well, get excited because the National A.A. Archives is holding a workshop this Saturday, September 26th. Highlights will include a history of the committee and even a preservation demo. What does that mean, you ask? Well show up and find out! More details on our website.

It’s Another Workshop, Y’all!


East Bay Intergroup is hosting a “crash course” workshop this Sunday, 9/27 @ noon. Come see how they’re putting the Twelve Traditions into practice! Check out the flyer below for more info.

“A Special Kind of A.A. Service”


Still looking for fresh ways to be of service outside of your usual meetings? Ever heard of Corrections Correspondence? A.A. is always in need of members on the “outside” to correspond with A.A. members in correctional facilities. If you would like to share your experience, strength and hope with A.A.s who are confined, please download the informational pamphlet online. The tear-off portion (sample image below) can be sent to G.S.O.’s Corrections Desk or emailed to corrections@aa.org. The name of an inmate, selected at random from a geographic region different from your own, will be sent to you from the General Service Office and you will make the initial contact through the mail. Cool!

How We Doin’, Honeybees?

For the love of honey, please share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

Your IFAA Intergroup | Central Office