The charity’s Capability Advisors and Trustees including our auditors, Deloitte; Sir Pat Lynch and Lady Sheila Graham; our accountants, Bentleys; our lawyers, Greenwood Roche; instructed the charity to cease the funding and pro bono support of Feuerstein and their commercial arm FIE due to Israel (1) withholding the 113 certificates for the 2017 classes and (2) non-relief of the ongoing $10,000 commission invoiced by Israel for each of the pro bono trainings delivered in NZ. FIE’s $10,000 commission (*detailed below) on each course disabled the programme’s sustainability and any hopes for it to be rolled out nationally in NZ. Potential funders questioned the integrity of FIE as they evidenced a profit-driven commercial entity, no longer an entity driven by the need to improve children’s outcome which was the legacy embedded by the late Reuven Feuerstein.
Certification is governed by FIE in Israel and is an exclusive arrangement with the trainers and Israel. Trainers are required to confirm each trainee’s attendance and with this validation, Israel issues certificates. At the completion of each training, the trainer sends to Israel the list of his/her attendees who have completed his/her training and Israel issues the certificates. Once Israel couriers the bulk package of certificates to NZ, the cost of individually packaging and couriering to each trainee throughout NZ is bourne by pro bono funding and man-power. To finance the cost of individually secure-wrapping and couriering each certificate to their rightful owner throughout NZ (there were over 1250 to personally wrap and courier), Gaze funded this postal cost of $38,000 over the four years – averaging $30pp for cardboard, wrapping, courier costs and not including the huge pro bono days of wrapping – thank you to Tass Print for helping us with this!
*Israel charged Gaze $10,000 per training, regardless of whether there were 4 trainees or 24 – FIE’s commission remained the same; the huge pro bono hours invested in championing their programme not acknowledged. Israel was paid over $500,000 commission costs over the 4 years, a further $250,000 in profit on materials, plus the profits on a number of families Gaze both encouraged and introduced to FIE who attended sessions in Israel. Israel was exposed to no expenses – a substantial financial loss borne by Gaze. FIE’s printing charge of $250 pp for the course materials was a 500% increase in the NZ printer’s cost-to-produce of $50 pp.
Repeated requests to charge trainings on a per person rate were always rejected – this would have delivered to NZ the sustainability needed. Israel charges all other countries a per person rate of just $150pp, but would not agree to this model being implemented in NZ, wanting to maintain their $10,000 commission payments. NZ was also their firtst country in charging this commission; this structure, tabled within weeks of Reuven’s death, is still unique to NZ – all other countries are charged per person.
The upside to this refusal was that Gaze was able to give so many trainees free attendance at trainings, each paying only the printing cost ($250) – with Israel’s non-negotiable charge of $10,000, regardless of the number of paying trainees, why have a training of just 4 persons, when we could have 24 trained?
24 trained teachers per course delivered our determined goal of achieving the traction needed – this delivered demand, research, measurements and outcomes – all imperative to attract long term funding from either ministry or the philanthropic arena. For us, it has always been about the children. Not about the adults and commercial business models needing profits, it has always been about the children and their right to an equitable education.
With all the angst around us, we all ‘bit the bullet’ and continued to devote significant pro bono time, resources and funding with the ultimate aim of achieving the tidal wave – implementation of the programme in all schools throughout NZ. After 4 years of presentations to ministries, government agencies, educational entities and all philanthropic avenues, we now realize that NZ actually has to do it ourselves – ministry will never run with an offshore programme and when the final philanthropic entity removed themselves from any further engagement with Israel (our last hope), we had exhausted all avenues of sustainable funding.
NZ needs to design and develop our own meta-cognitive programme, relevant to NZ; one that teaches-our-teachers-how-to-teach and our children-how-to-learn. Contact me if you wish to be part of this drive.
If you are still (1) without a certificate (2) have wrongly spelt name (3) wrongly detailed course – please let us know. Although Israel has complete control on issuing certificates and afforded us no involvement – other than bearing the cost of packaging and couriering each to trainees – we can trackback to the trainer who (1) did have your name on her/his list of trainees (2) did have your name correctly spelled, and/or (3) Israel did receive the correct detail on training. Due to early and consistent issues around certificates, we did ask Israel if their NZ printing agency could deliver, but this was also turned down.
January 2017 trainings:
FIE printed only 20% of the required course material, an unexpected and significant departure from the previous 50+ trainings delivered in NZ since 2014. All trainees had paid the $250.00 plus GST for the training material, with the expectation to receive the full complement of course material.
Trainers – Josie Singer, Sharon Berenholtz, Diane Bourke, Nikki Maguire, Valerie Lovegreen and Anne Gaze – convened on the Tuesday of the trainings and agreed to instruct the authorized FIE printers to print the missing resources, time being of the essence. This extra printing cost was invoiced directly to Gaze by FIE’s printer at the wholesale rate and this invoice personally paid for by Gaze.
FIE insisted on further payment to them of this printing order – at the retail rate and sent invoices reflecting this; withholding the issuing of certificates until this payment was made to Israel.
This was very disappointing. Deloitte, Trustees, accountants and legal capability partners challenged this.
We did not have response to (1) why only 20% was printed (2) how trainees were to deliver without this crucial teaching material, and (3) the justification of the full $250 material payment but no delivery of the required course material (Standard trainees, before extra printing was ordered, received just one of the five Teacher Manuals for their $250 plus GST payment).