When I became president of our club 18 months ago, I had a vision for the club. As I saw it, we have an excellent history of raising money with two extremely successful annual fundraisers and a small fundraiser within our club (the Holiday Auction) and we are also very good at writing checks to support our community.
What I didn’t see us doing very much was service to our community—hands-on work. I also felt that being part of an international organization we should be donating on a global level. I was lucky enough during that first year to see our club have three successful fundraisers and had the opportunity to involve our club in a hands-on project to benefit young girls all over the world—the Dress A Girl Around the World Program. I took that on as my President’s Project, and you, the members of our club, supported me wholeheartedly. Those of you who sewed, sat at your sewing machines and made dresses. Those who didn’t sew, went shopping for materials to make the dresses. And believe it or not, we actually have members who don’t sew and don’t like to shop; but they donated money for our shoppers. We didn’t spend one penny of the $1,000 the club gave me to spend on the project. And you exceeded my expectations by making over 200 dresses. And we are still contributing. Jan Gurnee is making some of our unused dress packets and taking them to Cuba to distribute during her trip later this month.
In addition to this successful project, we also:
- gave $25,003 in grants to local organizations
- gave $21,400 in scholarships to local high school and college students
- gave $2,900 in awards to high school and college students and a professional woman in our community
- gave $1,000 in support of Live Violence Free
- gave to our community in service through our Fighting Chance program in our schools
- gave to our community through our Anti-trafficking Committee
- gave to Soroptimist International to the SI President’s Appeal supporting a global project
That is over $50,000 in addition to service in our community. I consider that a very successful year for our club when it comes to giving both locally and internationally!
Then, last July I began my second year as president of our club. We knew, by that time that we had lost one major fundraiser and had one year to figure out what we were going to do to make up for it. Change has arrived for our club. There would be no more doing things as we have in the past. Times are changing and our membership is changing. I started the year by saying that no member is allowed to say, “because we have always done it that way” and I continue to feel that way. We must be open to new ideas.
I felt that we could probably come up with at least one new fundraiser but felt our income for the year would still be substantially down. And we did hold a new fundraiser at the Sample the Sierra event. It is a small start. Now it is six months later and my vision remains basically the same—I would like to see us contributing both money and service to our local community and globally. This year we are on track to contribute:
- $21,400 in scholarships to local high school and college students
- $2,900 in awards to high school and college students and a professional woman in our community
- $250 for five Thanksgiving Dinners through Live Violence Free
- $1,000 in support of Live Violence Free
- service to our community through our Fighting Chance program in our local schools
- service and money to our community through our Anti-trafficking Committee
- $7,150 and service to our community through our new participation in the Gift of Literacy Project which will affect every first grader in the LTUSD and on the Nevada side of the Basin
- to Soroptimist International to the SI President’s Appeal supporting a global project.
That is what I am aware of now, and, we are only half way through the year.
I want to thank the members of the Foundation Advisory Committee for their efforts in surveying our club and thoroughly reviewing all the results to form recommendations for our future. I think they did an excellent job! We are already instituting some of those suggestions. I don’t have any further duties for this committee right now, but I am going to ask them to remain in place in case we need their assistance in the future.
As a result of the survey the committee conducted, I am:
- asking the Long-term Project Committee to seriously look at the three projects currently being considered in an effort to give the long-term project funds away in the next 6-12 months. There are several reasons I feel this is important. One being that I see this money causing dissention among our members. On a positive note, I think giving away about $350,000 in our community during this time when we have fewer other funds to give, will go a long way in showing our community that we are dedicated in our support.
- This month I will be appointing a Strategic Planning Committee to work on a Strategic Plan for our club. I know we have members familiar with the process and, in addition, SIA and SNR provide lots of information on Strategic Plan preparation.
- We are making an effort to form a larger “sisterhood” among our members. Jenn Lukins has already taken on the responsibility for organizing our “First Friday Socials.” Last Friday we had over 20 people join us at MacDuff’s for a nice evening. Thank you Jenn. We will also continue our monthly Member Profile programs which has been very popular in the past.
- I want our members to find where their passions lie in the club. I believe we need to review our committee structure and have committees that align with those passions even if that narrows our focus. Then, I want each committee to submit its ideas for a fundraiser. I believe we can start with smaller fundraisers and possibly hold fundraisers a bit more often in the future. However, at the same time, I believe in light of the fact that we have less income, we must be willing to perform more hands-on service in our community.
- We need to recruit members. That is everyone’s responsibility.
- Lastly, I want to talk about the need for our members to step up into leadership roles. Next month I will be appointing a Nominating Committee to seek out members for next year’s Board of Directors. All of you are capable of serving in this role. We are in a unique situation this year, in that we need to fill the President, President-elect and Vice-president positions in addition to the other positions on the Board. Please step up. You do not need prior experience. We have the positions or Director and Delegate on the Board as stepping stones for those who don’t have Board experience to learn how it all works. I know that you all have your own visions for our club and by taking on a leadership role, you will have the opportunity to share your ideas and possibly see them in action. And those of you who are not on the Board, please support your leadership. The women who take on this responsibility do it thoughtfully and deserve your support.
In conclusion, I feel we are fulfilling a vital need in our community. We may need to change how we serve our community in the future but that doesn’t mean we will be any less effective in our support than we have been in the past. And at the same time we can all get to know each other a bit better and enjoy our time together. I hope you will all support my vision for our club for the remainder of my term. And, as always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.