March was a busy month for our club and now that discussions with Edgewood about our participation in the Celebrity Golf Tournament have ended with the loss of one of our big fundraisers, it is time to move on. I hope you have all marked your calendars to attend our meeting on April 11 when we will hold our first discussion on where our club is going and how we are going to get there. We want to hear your thoughts and ideas and I have talked to enough of you to know that there are lots of ideas out there.

Pat Disney has volunteered to chair our Winetasting Committee for this year.  Thank you Pat! This year’s winetasting is scheduled on Friday, November 9, at MontBleu. Mark your calendar!  I think this year’s winetasting will be bigger and better than ever!

The Nominating Committee (Del Laine, Chair; Kris Keesling and Pat Disney) are busy working on the slate of officers for 2018-2019.  I hope our newer members will consider getting involved in the leadership of our club by running for a position on the Board of Directors.  If you receive a phone call from a committee member asking you to run for office, I hope you will seriously consider it.

SI Tahoe Sierra, is holding its annual fundraiser Elegant Evening on Saturday, April 21, at Harrah’s.  The evening includes wine, vodka and beer tasting; bags and baskets; auction; dinner; and dancing with music by Trey Stone and the Soul Experience. I encourage you to support our sister club by getting together with others in our club and attending this fun event. Pat Disney is putting together a table for 10 so contact her if you want to attend.

I am on a three-week Panama Canal cruise with some time in New Orleans and Seattle so I’ll be gone for the month of April.  You will be in President-elect Natasha’s good hands while I’m away. Happy spring!  

You will recall the club asked me to send a letter to SIA regarding the $495 mandatory fee for the convention in Japan.  Here are my letter and the response from Dawn Marie Lemonds at SIA.

March 8, 2018

Ms. Dawn Marie Lemonds
Soroptimist International of the Americas
1709 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-6103

Dear Ms. Lemonds:

Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe reluctantly submits our $495 mandatory convention delegate registration fee. At this point we do not have a member able to attend, and this is a hefty expense for a voting seat in which we cannot participate.  How do smaller clubs afford this?

We understand that administering a convention can be costly, but we find that a more than 28% increase in the mandatory registration fee in a four-year period to be excessive ($385/ 2014 Vancouver to $495/ 2018 Yokohama).  According to SIA Procedure C.5 the SIA Board establishes this fee to whatever dollar amount they deem appropriate to cover expenses without any accountability to clubs as to how that money is spent or costs are controlled. If we are required to pay this mandatory fee, is there any detailed report available as to how this registration dollar amount is derived?

SISLT is concerned that the mandatory registration fee is not just about covering costs but producing revenue for the administration based upon the “Convention and Meeting” category in the 2016 SIA Financial Statement (year of 44th Biennial Convention in Orlando, Florida). Revenue for this category was $972,458 and expenses were $885,469 resulting in a net profit of $86,989. If convention costs go up, clubs are charged more for the registration fee, but if there is an almost $87,000 “Convention and Meeting” surplus from 2016, why is there still a 4% increase in the registration fee for the 2018 45th Biennial in Japan?

We would greatly appreciate it if you would respond to our concerns.

Sincerely,

Pam Barrett, President
Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe


March 26, 2017

Pamela Barrett, President
SI/South Lake Tahoe
P.O.Box 2179
Stateline, NV 89449

Dear President Pamela,

Thank you for your email dated March 8, 2018. I appreciate that you took your time to write and express your concerns about our convention fee. I am sorry that SI/South Lake Tahoe will not have the opportunity to have any member attend our 2018 convention in Yokohama, Japan. It is true that the cost of the convention – our only face-to-face opportunity to plan and conduct the business of the organization – is shared by all clubs whether or not they can attend the convention.

The board of directors has fiduciary responsibility for the organization and I can assure you, we take that role seriously – whether it is the annual budget of the organization or the convention budget. The board is elected by the membership to exercise their fiduciary responsibly so I can assure there is accountability to the clubs as to how the money is spent or costs controlled. The convention fee is set based on the location, costs and expected attendance at the convention. In the case of the 2018 convention, the cost of doing business in Japan is very high but we are also hoping for an increased attendance to offset the higher costs.

Unfortunately, the costs of holding a global meeting like our convention are increasing in every expense area. There were still charges pending for the 2016 convention at the end of the financial period which reduced our “profit.” But, there are many expenses of the convention that are not charged to the convention budget but instead are charged to the organization as a whole such as technology and registration fees, legal expenses and marketing costs. When the full costs of the convention are included, each convention runs at a deficient. Furthermore, any funds reflected as “profit” on a financial statement are invested back into the organization.

The board has considered raising the convention fee to cover the full costs of the convention but have felt that clubs would not be able to manage those costs. SIA will continue to cover the costs of the convention with dues and investment income to try to keep it affordable for clubs and members.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Sincerely,
Dawn Marie Lemonds
SIA President

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