Delivered by President Dennis M. Cariello, January 13, 2005.
It has become tradition in this club for the President to deliver a state of the club address, to account for the past year and set the agenda going forward. I believe it to be an important tradition, one that serves the purpose of holding me to account to you, our membership, and one that forces the leadership of the club to assess our successes and failures with honesty, as we work towards a more perfect organization.
Upon sufficient reflection, I am happy to report, that the state of our club is strong. By all objective accounts, 2004 was a banner year for the New York Young Republican Club. It was a great year, however, because of the efforts of my excellent Board of Governors, for which not enough credit can be attributed and to which not enough praise can given. In the interest of time, I would like to ask each of the committee chairpersons to stand so they may be properly recognized.
I am thankful for their contributions, for without them, as I often joke, this club would be meeting out of my grandmother’s basement, our socials would consist of fighting the man at the end of the bar for the stool, and we would be mere outsiders in our party, griping about the need for change without the influence or ability to improve from within.
At the close of 2003, this organization had 375 members. In light of all things, this was an impressive amount, a membership total of which any Republican club in this city or state would be proud to boast. Yet, as of December 31, 2004, this club had 580 members, roughly a 65% increase. This easily makes us the largest Republican political club in New York City, and the largest Young Republican club in New York State. This year, I propose to increase club membership once again, to 750 members. I will call on each of you to assist me in this regard, and will announce initiatives to aid in this regard. I know I can count on your support and look forward to the day when we will be, without question, the largest geographically-based Republican club in the country.
Of course, all club activities must necessarily be subservient to the end of increasing membership, as we exist to attract new people to the party and provide them with the services that they feel will make them better citizens and better Republicans. To that end, our monthly socials have attracted increased participation from current members and brought in new members from throughout the Metro-area. This year, we plan to expand the scope of events, and we plan to work hard to make our 93rd Annual Dinner, the best yet.
The club has hosted impressive speakers for quite some time, speakers that rise above the cacophony created by the various speaker series in this City. We heave presented speakers ranging in topic and tone, and have sought to appeal to people of ranging Republican tastes and, thus, attract Republicans of all stripes. This year, we look to expand on these principles and attract more elected officials and policy-makers to our speaker series, so that in addition to listening, we will have the opportunity to make our voices heard on the important topics of the day to the people that influence such policy.
The club experience a record year in fundraising. As of the close of fiscal year 2003, the club raised $30,000. This was consistent with the previous years total and represented a marked upgrade from fundraising efforts in fiscal year 2001. At the close of this fiscal year, the club raised $55,000, a 54% increase. This money, however, does not languish in a bank account. Indeed, the club is a zero-profit enterprise, from which no salaries are paid and through which every dollar received is returned to member services. This year, I have challenged the committee to raise $75,000. To that end, I ask each of you if you can assist the club and this committee by serving on the committee or informing us of your connections which we may translate into the future economic success of the club.
The club increased its media presence this year, appearing in no less than twenty newspaper stories, including three pieces carried nationally by the Associated Press. Board Members also made appearances on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and CBS News. Thankfully, few of them included me, as we wanted to put our best face forward.
The club also increased its involvement in campaigns, sending operatives to Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Hampshire, to help our president. We also stayed home to help our candidates, club members Anton Srdanovic and Emily Csendes, and a great friend of the club, Peter Hort.
We have made great gains in communication with our college chapters, which I hope will help cultivate not only a sense of loyalty to the Republican Party, but a sense of loyalty to this club. We have participated in numerous charitable events, working on New York Cares Day, helping to build houses through Habitat for Humanity, collecting donations of food for the poor and supplies for our men and women serving abroad, and helping send schools supplies to Iraqi school children. All of these outreach efforts have worked to improve our relationships within the Republican community, as well as the general community, and it is something to which I am committed.
Our club newsletter has been sent around the globe and around the United States. The newsletter, and our Web site, which is currently under renovation and the new version will be unveiled in February, serve to reach members and friends and attract people to our views and our club.
None of these things could have happened without the board of governors and our fine Executive Board, comprised of Treasurer Anthony Riekstins, Secretary Lynn Krogh and Vice President Rick Brownell. Without their advice and counsel, as well as sweat and tears, nothing would get done. They are all friends and I owe them a debt that I cannot repay. I ask that we all show them a sign of our gratitude now.
In the future we will work harder to be more responsive to your concerns, provide more opportunities for you, and, as a result, grow this organization. Some goals are easy to quantify: I plan to attract 750 members to this organization and raise $75,000 next year. Other less so, and may not show immediate gains but send positive signals. I plan on creating an umbrella campaign, to take our city council back from the Democrats that have held it for so long. Ultimately, we hope one of our own gets elected, but the true goal of this enterprise is to start to change the hearts and minds, a seed that may not yield fruit for some time to come. It is a necessary step however, and one in which I care deeply.
I also plan on recasting Young Republican Television as a web-based means of communicating our message to people. In addition, media ventures will occupy a large percentage of my time, as I intend on increasing advertising and looking for other venues and means for delivering the message about our club and our Party.
Lastly, I plan on increasing events for the club, making a winter dance a permanent event, one that in the future I propose we hold in honor of the memory of Ronald Reagan. I also plan on establishing caravans to Albany and Washington D.C., trips to these seats of power where we may meet with and question our legislative and executive leaders, as well as enjoy each others company.
The proposed budget for this year’s agenda is approximately $64,000. If all fundraising goals are met, this would leave the club with an $11,000 surplus.
I hope you will join me in working towards making this club even better. Please join a committee and help with the club leadership. If you have suggestions, contact me or one of the club leaders. This club exists to serve you and provide you with opportunities. We are limited in what we do only by the creativity of those involved. Thus, I ask you to get involved and help the club be all that it can. Thank you.