August 10, 2010

Amherst Club Notes

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Twnety-seven members joined Ellen Kosmer to have a useful discussion of the Club's new membership policies and procedures.  (The number is significant because, as always, we pay for thirty-five plates at each Tuesday's luncheon; that is one reason that getting new members is such a high priority.  But it is not the only reason.  Ellen stressed that we want new members not just to help us out financially but because they would invigorate us (and, hopefully, we them).

Ellen introduced us to two important documents for use by current members in soliciting new members.  One is an information sheet (sometimes called a "brochure") which explains what the Club is about, the various categories of membership, and the costs involved.  The other is a redesigned "friendlier"  application form which reflects certain significant changes in Club policies.  First, rather than requesting information about "positions of leadership," the form asks about current or past service to the community (whatever that community happens to be).  Second, the form ask what Club activities and projects the applicant like to be involved with.  Third, the form asks prospective members to choose the level of membership -- full or associate -- at which they would like to join the Club.  Fourth, the form asks for two references that the Club may use to gain further information.  This acknowledges the change in policy which no longer requires new members to be sponsored by current members.

The Club is having a Membership Drive from September through Thanksgiving.  During that time members may bring prospective members for one lunch at no charge.  The Club has set a goal of gaining five new members during this period.  This is the challenge facing all Club members.  Copies of the information sheet and application form will be available at every lunch meeting so that members can use them in soliciting new members.

In the discussion, the point was made that while the policies say that new members are subject to board approval we don't want to be in a position where one or a few members can "black ball" an applicant.  It was also suggested that the Club consider revising its allocation policies to have a few large grants rather than many smaller ones.  It was objected that many human service agencies use Amherst Club support as an aid in getting further grant support.  It was pointed out that these two positions are not necessarily incompatible.

President Vivienne Carey opened the meeting by reviewing the action at last week's Board meeting.  Charles Stevenson, formerly a full member, has rejoined the Club as an associate member.  Members who wish to help with the Club's finances are invited to volunteer a dollar to support the printing and distribution of the annual Club directory.  An envelope is an each table for this purpose.  The Club is working to save money by putting as much information on line, thus saving the costs of printing and mailing.  This will soon include the notice of quarterly dues.

The Backpack Project has been very successful; members who have participated or donated are asked to give their names to Vivienne so that they can be suitably recognized.  Sara Berger agreed to join Nancy Gregg next Monday to shop for backpacks and materials to fill them.  There will be a "party" next Tuesday at Flo Stern's house, 35 Potwine Lane, at one o'clock to prepare the backpacks.  (Flo's house is air-conditioned.)

Upcoming dates for club members:

September 12 - Ellen Kosmer is opening her house and garden for a potluck.

October 24 - Phyllis Lehrer will hold a brunch.  She promises that the carpets will be vacuumed.

Harry Brooks is trying to arrange a special tour of the new Federal Courthouse in Springfield for Club members, through the courtesy of Judge Michael Ponser, who spoke to us a year or so ago.

Tina Berins seeks her annual hosts for foreign students at the University.  It requires very little and means a great deal.  Talk to her for more information.

Members expressed support for Bonnie Isman with a round of applause.

Michael Greenebaum, Note-taker