Transition to Independence Update

Dear Circle Members and Friends:

The Circle Council has been working long and hard on the process of creating a new future structure for The Circle without the support of Brescia. This has been an arduous process; the landscape has been continually shifting, causing us to alter our plans just when we thought we had mapped a way forward. However, The Circle Council is committed to ensuring that the spirit, beauty, uniqueness and legacy of The Circle is honoured and reborn in the next phase of our organization’s existence. Once some of the legalities and other technical issues are sorted out, we will ensure that there are opportunities for you to contribute to this rebirth.

For this update, we wanted to provide you with a “lay of the land” so you are informed about the current state of affairs for The Circle. Here is the information we wish to share:

1. The Circle retained legal counsel (Cate Grainger of Harrison Pensa) to help guide us through the many legal issues we are facing since Brescia’s Board of Trustees chose to withdraw their support and end our relationship. Counsel is being provided on both the issues regarding our separation from Brescia, as well as moving forward into independence.

2. The Circle’s “Independence Day” has moved from 1st July to 1st August. At the request of The Circle Council, Brescia agreed to delay our separation for one month to help provide The Circle with more time to manage the details of our upcoming independence.

3. The Circle Council feels the best way forward is to federally incorporate as a Not For Profit Organization due to the need for The Circle to be a legal entity in order to engage in tenant agreements, get insurance and run operations independently. Should we proceed with this organizational option, members of The Circle Council will act as an interim Board of Directors during the transition, to be followed by a board election within a year as required by incorporation.

4. Name change: For incorporation purposes, we have elected to change our name from “The Circle Women’s Centre” to “The Circle Women’s Collective.”

5. The Circle has been provided with a lease agreement from Brescia that would create a tenant-landlord relationship between our two organizations. Rent charges for our continued occupancy of The Circle Centre (the portable) are cost-recovery only (i.e. only the costs Brescia incurs for water and hydro). Signing this lease agreement does not mean that The Circle will always reside at Brescia, however in light of the low rent and the many other changes that must be managed, remaining in our current location will allow us to focus on incorporation and other matters until such time as a potential relocation would be feasible.

6. Charitable tax receipts will no longer be issued. One of the unforeseen challenges that both The Circle and Brescia are facing concerns our charitable funds that are being held in trust by the Brescia Foundation. By law, the Brescia Foundation is only able to freely release monies to another registered charity. As such, The Circle does not qualify. Both sides (Brescia and The Circle) are currently looking at all legal options to be able to provide The Circle with access to those funds. Unfortunately, this means that donations to The Circle are no longer eligible for charitable tax receipts.

7. Renew memberships after 1st August. In order to create the least amount of financial overlap, The Circle is requesting that all members who wish to renew their memberships wait (or post-date their cheques) until 1st August when The Circle becomes legally independent.

Please Note:
We would love to hear from you regarding any of The Circle’s future plans. Please write, email or message us on Facebook with your thoughts as soon as possible so we may include them in our considerations in the month to come.

Contact Information:
Mailing Address (currently AND after 1st August): 1285 Western Road, London, ON N6G 1H2
Email (until 1st August): circle@uwo.ca; after 1 Aug. we will inform the membership and post online our new email address.
Facebook (currently AND after 1st August): www.facebook.com/thecirclewc
• Website (currently AND after 1st August): www.thecircle.ca

As the details related to the above items fall into place, we will provide more regular updates by email and up posting information on our blog and website.

In solidarity and hope from The Circle Council,
Frances Abley, Julia De Paz, Caroll Halford, Sheila Horrell, Brenda Hutton and Trae Robinson

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About thecirclewc

The Circle Women's Centre is a program and resource centre for students and for women in the wider community. It focuses on feminist spirituality, its theory and practice by women in contemporary society. The spirituality is broad based, both personal and political, honouring the riches of all religious traditions. The Circle welcomes women from diverse experience and backgrounds. It links with and supports other women's groups who work to dismantle oppression and to embody life-giving relationship with all that is created.
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