A look at the year ahead...

A small group of La Quinta Rotarians gathered for the 5th meeting of the 25th year of La Quinta Rotary.  President David Archer called the meeting to order, followed by the pledge and invocation.  The lone announcement by David was that the club will be dark September 2nd.  Robert Wright’s business was highlighted, and Robert was speechless for a brief time.  He then warmed up and told us that his business has been slow as of late, but things will pick up, and there will be new trees available that fit the desert landscape if anyone needs trees this fall.  A small period of time was given for socializing as our lunch was served. 


Fine master Alan took the podium and thanked Jeff Wattenbarger and Bruce Cathcart for taking his place while he was at Comic Con with his son the past few weeks.  The fine free badge had some frenzied bidding with Jennifer Donais winning out at $70.  The only problem was that she didn’t have her checkbook with her and had to do an IOU to the Club.  There were numerous birthdays, anniversaries, and happy dollars given this week- good generosity for a small group on a hot August day.


At 12:45, President David called to order the Club Assembly to discuss the proposed budget and foster an interactive discussion of the budget, membership goals, fundraising, and avenues of service.   The budget was discussed with a major emphasis on the fundraising and specifically the increased budget for scholarships.    David and Corry did a commendable job in preparing this budget for our discussion.  The budget reflects that our meals will remain at the same price.  After some discussion, a motion was made, seconded and passed that will require a $5.00 charge for those not buying a meal.  This will cover incidentals incurred by the Club.  A question was posed as to how this year’s budget looks compared to how we ended up last year? President David explained that there was a loss last year but mostly because of an accounting change in the way dues were billed and collected.


The proposed $15,000 fundraiser income was to be achieved by new membership and additional fundraisers to raise the $15,000 for scholarships.    A question was asked about how we came to that number?  President David said it was raised with the goal of adding a couple of additional fundraisers and brining in new members.


President David announced that Sam Payne resigned his membership at the last board meeting to focus on his business.   Membership needs to be a main focus of the next year- new quality members for the next year- a goal of two a month.  Last year we lost three productive members in addition to bringing our membership roster up to date.  As a result our club membership now stands at 46.  Greg Lane is the membership chair and looking for a quality mission statement- Helen Anderson pointed out that there is a current one out there as a starting point.    Look at the community and seek out those that you think would be good members for our club.    President David asked for suggestions.  Helen Anderson offered that all of us should look at our sphere of influence; some of those suggested- La Quinta Resort, Lowe’s, Eisenhower, some of those that were sponsors of the Golf Tournament- John Cook, Costco, etc.    Ask yourself “Who in the community should be here?”    Also keep in mind that people may be interested in Rotary based on the stages they are in their lives- younger members looking to grow their business contacts and gain some community ties along with some of the older folks who have been successful in their businesses and are looking to give something back to the community through a collective effort.


As far as fundraising, the discussion turned to the differences under which members view how much should be required of members to devote to the numerous fundraising functions.  There is a concern that requiring so much of the members may be contributing to some attrition because members feel pressure on top of their already demanding business lives.  Bruce Cathcart suggested instead of continually raising the bar, why not approach it from the standpoint of let’s raise what we can, and then distribute to the community accordingly.   Another viewpoint that the $15,000 for scholarships is a local decision; Rotary International doesn’t require this.  Some clubs do no fundraising and write checks to cover the costs and just come for the fellowship first and then look to service projects for the community.  Robert Wright brought up that the economy has already put a damper on membership and giving by current members.  These are hard times.  President David agreed and talked about some budget trims in the area of sending fewer kids to RYLA and PRYDE and if there needs to be some trimming in the area of fundraising goals, that’s what we should do.


In regards to fundraising and scholarships, there was a question raised about the Foundation as to what is accessible, what is available, and what is it generating?    How are Foundation Board Members elected?  Members include the current and past Club President.  Three at-large members are elected by the general membership of the club for three years terms, with one new position up each year.  Foundation Board member Merv Kolb stated that the Foundation has approximately $130,000 invested in mutual funds.    Interest income has been given back to the club each year, as little or as much as that may be.    Should part of our goal be to grow that money in the Foundation?   Rotary International does not encourage individual clubs to have Foundations.    Our Foundation is a way to receive gifts and endowments left to club.


The meeting was drawn to a close because of time.  President David thanked those members present for a good dialog and ended the meeting at 1:30 with the Four Way Test.  Thank you David for giving members the opportunity to understand how the club operates, what its needs are and explore some possible solutions.  This is not the end; it is the beginning of a great year.  For those not in attendance, please send your comments to David.  He indicated that a survey will be coming out soon.