April 23, 2002


:To whom it may concern:

I am writing this letter to confirm that Friends of the Zeiss has an application pending to become a sponsored project of The Tides Center of Western Pennsylvania.

The Tides Center is a duly registered public charity, exempt from Federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Center offers unique opportunities for emerging and existing charitable activities, by providing a sold infrastructure for groups working to promote progressive social change on a local, national and international level. The Tides Center focuses its activities on five principal areas of interest: social justice, community affairs, economic public policy and enterprise development, international affairs, and environment and natural resources. The Center operates as a sister organization to the Tides Foundation, which was established in 1976 to promote creative nonprofit activity and manage philanthropic resources dedicated to social change.

All projects that are part of The Tides Center are approved by its Board of Directors and are considered direct corporate activities. As such, The Tides Center assumes legal and fiscal responsibility for all activities of its projects. The program, personnel and finances of the project are managed, supervised and controlled by the Board of Directors of The Tides Center through its President, who delegates responsibility to project personnel who in turn manage the day-to-day operations of the project. The Center does not assume responsibility for projects casually. We search for programs that are innovative, well organized and possess a strong potential to make concrete contributions in our interest areas.

The Tides Center seeks to strengthen the roots of the social change movement by partnering quality management services with creative programmatic endeavors. Its main function is to provide essential financial, human resources and administrative services to projects. The staff of The Tides Center maintains oversight over project activities and provides technical assistance on an ongoing basis.

The Tides Center staff provides critical oversight of all grants. We review and sign all grant agreements, note reporting deadlines and disbursement schedules, receive the funds, and send acknowledgement letters to funders. The Tides Center employs a strict fund accounting system, which means that every project has its own separate accounting division or "fund" with its own balance sheet. This maintains a strict segregation of funds, assets and liabilities belonging to each project. Projects develop programmatic reports and utilize financial statements from The Tides Center in reporting to funders.

Currently, The Tides Center is responsible for over 300 projects supported by grants from foundations, other institutions and individuals. Expenditures for The Tides Center in FY 2000 were approximately $54 million. The Tides Center uses a full fund accounting system and its financial records are audited annually by the accounting firm of Hood and Strong based in San Francisco. We should note that The Tides Center has consistently received clean audits and that the auditors consult annually with our Board of Directors.

Please feel free to contact me at 412-258-6667 should you need additional information.




Jo H. DeBolt