June 8, 2010

The Amherst Club

Annual Meeting

June 8, 2010   12:45 AM

Hickory Ridge


Our highly anticipated annual meeting brought forth news, reports, disussions, questions and a new slate of officers.  There were no guests.  President Siddall pointed out the newspaper article about Ellen Kosmer’s lovely garden.  Vivienne Carey had 3 announcements: 

1)    The directory is to be completed by Tuesday, June 15 so changes must be to her by then.  An e-mail will go out to all members as a reminder. 

2)    All are invited to a Beatles party at Vivienne and Roger’s on June 20 from 3-6 PM.

3)    Yesterday, Vivienne passed the test and interview to become a citizen and the process will be completed in September.  Club members extended their congratulations!

Arthur Kinney has arranged transportation to the Albrecht Durer exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday, June 12th….10:00 to 6:00.


NEWS:  Carolyn Holstein says she is facing eye surgery tomorrow. 


Annual Report:   President Larry Siddall


Thank you to the Board and to all members of the Club who devoted time and effort on behalf of the Club’s various activities this year. 




     Sunday, September 27—The Club participated in Amherst’s 250th Anniversary Parade with a float the Club designed and built, with extra help from Allen Hanson and thanks to John Rowan-Stern who donated the flat bed and drove the float in the parade. Response to our float by parade goers was enthusiastic. Because of generous donations by members, totaling more than $600, the cost of the float was paid for, with a surplus of $42.


    Tuesday, October 20—We participated in a town-wide book reading of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, sponsored by the Jones Library. Thanks to Cynthia Brubaker for getting us involved and coordinating our luncheon discussion. .


    Friday, November 13—The Club held a 25th Anniversary Party at the Amherst College Alumni House. 68 current and past members and guests were in attendance.  The event was considered by all a great success. Thanks to Tina Berins, who prepared and donated the buffet supper, the Club realized a profit of $744.


    Sunday, February 14—Our annual Love Notes fundraiser concert was held the afternoon of Valentines Day in Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College.  Though ticket sales were down from last year, attendance was nevertheless good, with the audience responding enthusiastically to the excellent program of dancers and musicians. The event raised $15,773.


    Tuesday, March 23—At our Recipients Luncheon, representatives came from the 11 agencies that were funded this year.  Each representative gave an compelling description of their agency and the specific purpose of their Amherst Club grant. Checks were also distributed to the agencies totaling $14,650.  The event was well attended by Club members and everyone present appreciated the sense of pulling together in this community effort.



    On October 29 the Club sponsored one team to compete in the annual Trivia Bee that raises money for Amherst schools. Our team won a prize for Best Spirit.

    On May 27 several members of the Club volunteered during WFCR’s spring fund drive. They reported that this was a gratifying experience and hoped the Club would participate in the radio station’s future fund raisers.


Future of the Club Taskforce   

    At its October meeting, the Board endorsed Michael Greenebaum’s offer to convene a committee to consider several pressing Club issues. About twenty members participated in these Google Group discussions, which focused on the issue of dues and the Club's solvency. Michael prepared a survey of Club members in December to see if they would prefer raising dues or lowering expenses.  Members strongly preferred lowering expenses by reducing the number of luncheons. Subsequently, the Board voted to eliminate a total of six luncheons (all fifth Tuesdays and two more in August). The other matters discussed in the Google Group remain unresolved. The group is still open.



    There has been a decline in membership, which is now 70.  We have had 5 new members and 10 resignations.  Maintaining our membership has been a problem. Ellen Kosmer will tell us more in her report.



     By the end of June we will have had 43 speakers, 4 of whom were Club members. There was controversy within the Board that led to the canceling of a speaker, but this person will be re-scheduled at a later date.

     The President has sent a thank you letter to all speakers, along with an information sheet about the Club and an invitation to consider joining.  So far there have been no takers.



    The Club makes weekly donations to the Amherst Survival Center.



    A significant increase in lunch expenses this year included the cost of a meal going up to $13 and the Club being charged for a minimum of 35 people.

    As a result, several changes have taken place to help the Club maintain financial viability.

    1.  Dues were increased by $10, beginning October 1; for example, a full member now pays $100 per quarter.

    2.  To save money and forestall a further increase in dues, the Board decided to eliminate 6 luncheons, 4 in months with five Tuesdays, plus two more in August. Those dates are March 30, June 29, August 3, 17, 31, and November 30

    3.  Ten members took advantage of a $10 discount by paying a year’s dues in advance.

    In spite of these efforts, as the year comes to an end the Club is operating at a deficit. Roger Webb will tell us more in his report.



    Additions to the endowment amounted to $2,185 and included an anonymous gift of $1000, plus $744 from our 25th Anniversary Party, and $42 left over from our parade float. As of March 31 the endowment totaled $12,855, but its value has gone down as a result of the recent market decline.


Amherst ClubTax Status

    In response to recent inquiries, here is a clarification.


    The Amherst Club is a civic organization, and as such receives the designation 501 (c) (4) under the Internal Revenue Code. Being a civic organization provides that the Amherst Club pays no income tax, but does not allow for contributions to the Club to be tax deductible.

     Likewise, a business donation to the Club, for example food or drink for the Love Notes fundraiser, is not tax deductible, but is deductible as a business expense.

     Only contributions to educational or charitable organizations are tax deductible. These organizations are designated 501 (c) (3) under the tax code. The Amherst Club's endowment, which is managed by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, falls in this category.  


Respectfully submitted,

Lawrence Siddall, President


In response:

Michael Greenebaum asked if, as a Club, we can and want to do something about changing our status to a 501 C3 organization in the future.

Jean Miller asked about the use of the endowment fund and it was explained that while nothing has been decided, the Club can distribute anything over $10,000 as it sees fit.

Tina Berins mentioned that while the Club pays for 35 people every luncheon, and attendance is down in the summer, it is a good time to bring guests.




Luncheon Notes and Newsletter: Michael Greenebaum reported that he needs people to sign up, on forms provided at each table, for a date to take luncheon notes for 2010-11. Michael posts the notes on the googlegroup web site.  Also, members should send Michael news items and he will include them with luncheon notes, thereby expanding the luncheon notes into a newsletter for and by members.


Attendance report: Rachel Mustin

Attendance from August 1st  2009 through May 2010. Factors may be weather, program speakers, publicity, reminders, holidays, etc


I have omitted in the calculations the figure for Agency Awards Lunch on March 23, which was 48. Many were agency attendees. If included, the March average would be 36, but the overall yearly average would only increase by half a person.


Overall Year’s Average 37


Range  Minimum 30 on:                                                             Maximum 49 on Oct 27

            Jan. 5 --   Worst Gift Exchange (Board is considering this as a potluck in future)

            Mar 16 – Discussion of Membership

            Apr 30  -- New Health Care Bill


Monthly Averages

            Aug  34

            Sept  38

            Oct   48

            Nov  41

            Dec   36

            Jan    36

            Feb   36

            Mar   31

            Apr   34

            May  35


Membership report: Ellen Kosmer reported on the membership preference questionnaire given out last week.  The questions were formulated from discussions with members and Board over the last year.  She received 30 responses and top choices were as follows:

1)    Prefer that new members join by open application, subject to approval by the board which will have reviewed the information on their application.

2)    Prefer that new members may join as Associate members.

3)    Prefer that existing members may switch between Full and Associate membership at the start of any quarter by notifying the registrar.

Comments from members:present indicated that we need more responses and Ellen will e-mail the form to Club members this week. 

Jacquie Price mentioned that allowing entrance as an Associate or switching membership quarterly could be chaotic and could cause a financial problem.

Jim Wald noted that members should really commit to being full time members. 

Rachel Mustin explained that the Board will determine the final membership criteria as laid out by the policy and by-laws.


Club Projects:  Rachel Mustin reported on possible club

14 projects were reviewed  and 3 criteria were used.  The projects should contribute to the community, raise Club visibility and provide an opportunity for club members to work together.  Working at the WFCR fundraiser and making school supply kits were chosen as 2 projects.


Treasurer’s report: Roger Webb reported on the state of the finances.

Endowment is now at about $12,000.  The Club needs to discuss the purpose of the endowment.

Membership is down, costs are up.

The treasury is not doing well even with prepaid members and cancelled lunches.  Lunch costs went up after the dues went up last time.  Fixed costs are about $1500/year more than the annual dues revenue.  There is now no money in the checking account and $3000 that can be borrowed from the savings account will keep the club afloat until the new quarterly dues arrive.  The money situation is critical.


Following no nominations from the floor, a motion was made and seconded to have the Secretary cast one ballot for the slate of officers.for the year 2010-2011.



President                                    Vivienne Carey

Vice-President                                     Hubbard Smith

Secretary                                    Joan Hanson

Treasurer/Registrar                      Roger Webb  (The Board approved combining these positions

                                                                           for one year.)

Activities:                                    Ruth Miller and Tina Berins

Archives:                                    Arthur Kinney                       

Attendance                                      Claude Tellier

Love Notes                                    Karin Wilburn and Carolyn Holstein

Membership                                    Ellen Kosmer and Rachel Mustin

Newsletter                                    Michael Greenebaum

Program                                    Phyllis Lehrer

Nominations                                    Lawrence Siddall

Webmaster                                    (vacant)


Roger Webb won the raffle money and Glen Gordon won the wine this week.


The meeting adjourned at 1:33.

Respectfully submitted,

Joan Hanson, Secretary