Delivered by President Dennis M. Cariello, January 19, 2006.
Today, I am proud to stand before you, for the second consecutive year, to deliver the annual State of the Club Address. As with past such addresses, I will present the state of the club without gloss and without hyperbole, so that you, the members of this organization may hold me and the leadership of the club to account for the club’s status and the decisions of the past year. I also will present my goals for the coming year and invite all of you to be a part of realizing those goals.
Upon sufficient reflection, I am happy to report, that, for the fourth straight year, the club has improved in all measurable ways. Indeed, the Young Republican National Federation awarded this club the 2005 Best Large Club Award, the highest honor it may bestow. I was immensely proud to share this award with my board and all of you. It was a shared triumph, one built over the course of the last four years, for we always build upon what has preceded us. At this time, because of the efforts of my excellent Board of Governors, I would like to ask each of the committee chairpersons to stand so they may be properly recognized.
I would also like to separately recognize the members of the executive board, upon whom I rely even more heavily and without which this club would be in serious trouble: Chairman of the Board of Advisors, Conrad Steinmann; Treasurer, Nick Vertucci; Secretary, Lynn Krogh; Vice President, Rick Brownell. Words cannot express my gratitude for their constant assistance this year and in years past. They truly form the rock upon which this club rests. I am also proud to call all of them friends. The club and I are better for knowing them.
At the close of 2004, this organization had 525 members. As of December 31, 2005, we have made modest gains, increasing to 550 members, despite our annual purge of names of past members that failed to renew for 2005. To my knowledge, we thus remain 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 600 members. In light of the transient nature of New York, and the loss in membership each year to job transfers and other moves out of the City, this gain appears to be a reasonable increase. We will continue the successful membership rewards programs to incentivize your assistance in getting your friends and colleagues to join the organization, and help make this goal a reality. We will also continue to place emphasis on our social events, which have traditionally drawn large crowds and open the clubs’ doors to the most people.
To further aid in accomplishing this goal, I propose to create a number of industry-related groups, centered on the financial, legal and medical professions, and utilize these groups to better attract new members from within these communities and work to implement the programs developed there.
Lastly, on Friday, our newly developed brochure will be sent 10,000 potential members in Manhattan. This will be the first in a series of three mailings of this size, to take place in two-week intervals. It is the hope that this aggressive campaign will attract 100 new members, a mere 1% return rate, but an increase in membership of roughly 20%.
Fundraising was the area that we made perhaps the most impressive strides. At the close of fiscal year 2004, the club raised $55,000 a 10-year high at that time. This year, the club bested even my goal of $75,000 when we raised nearly $78,000 by the close of 2005. The club is a zero-profit enterprise, from which no salaries are paid and through which every dollar received is returned to member services. To that end, the club has provided numerous events at low or no cost to members. Feeling particularly ambitions due to successes in this area, I will raise the bar once again, this time to $90,000.
In an effort to ensure success in this area, I propose two programs. First, the reimplementation of the Honor Roll, a time-tested program developed by this club which rewarded those members and friends that contributed to the club monies above and beyond membership and attendance fees. I seek to reward such contributors with increased recognition, on our web site, in the program at the annual dinner, and with a special “thank-you” reception. Of course, President’s Club members, will be members of the Honor Role, and recognized for their $200 initial donation. Additionally, I intend to host a seminar designed to instruct those of you who wish to begin raising funds for the club and for Republican candidates. These seminars will feature prominent and nationally recognized persons in the field and will serve as a great tool in training the club’s next generation of fundraisers, as well as assist in the club’s fundraising efforts today.
The club has hosted numerous impressive speakers, including in one five month stretch Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, Ari Fleischer, Larry Kudlow and Jeanine Pirro. Club members have also heard from Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, Richard Lowry, Governor William Weld, Curtis Sliwa and Myrna Blythe. This year, we look to expand on our new format, and continue to presenting a state-wide candidate for office as well as our featured speaker.
The club also hosted its Washington Caravan, a trip to Washington, D.C. for club members whereat attendees met with, among other congressional leaders, Senator Sam Brownback, Congressman Tom Reynolds, and Congressman Peter King, received briefings Senator Olympia Snow¹s Staff, RNC Political Director Geoff Schaffer and the Heritage Foundations, and toured the capital as well as Mount Vernon. This event, which took place from May 14-May 17, 2005, was at once a great time and a fantastic opportunity to ask our leaders tough questions and make our voices heard, as well as to enjoy fellowship and a Nationals-Brewers game. Such that a game between these two teams could be enjoyed anyway. This was made possible through the hard work of numerous people, including, notable, Rick Browell and Tim Wolff. It was very proud of the event and hope to see it continue in 2007.
I have also been particularly impressed with our charitable ventures this year. Our responses to the Tsunami in Southeast Asia and to hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been strong and heartwarming. Our support for our soldiers over seas, and the poor at home, have also made clear I strongly believe that we must engage in more volunteerism, as it is an obligation for those, such as we, who have received so much. Additionally, it serves to counter the popular notion that Republicans are mean, uncaring people. Confronting such prejudice with a helping hand sends a powerful message that Republican beliefs are not antithetical to community service, rather, they are based on community service.
Our work on the campaigns this year continues to improve and portends great things for the future. As an organization we have increased our influence because of our numbers and now candidates are sure to make our club a key stop and seek to make us a key ally. Our efforts were rewarded well with a great victory from Michael Bloomberg, as well as strong showings from our friends Patrick Murphy, Joel Zinberg, Patrick Russo, John Carlino, Will Brown, and the many great candidates that spoke to us this year.
In an effort to aid our community service and campaign work, starting this next Saturday, and continuing every fourth Saturday thereafter, we will be holding “Action Saturdays.” This new event will provide a central location and time for all club members to come and perform service of some kind, whether it be traditional community service or assisting a political campaign. We will continue to build on our campaign efforts, particularly in this crucial year with numerous statewide and federal elections. We will also increase our efforts to gain seats on County Committee and additional members to become District Leaders.
We continued our great gains with the local college chapters and have strengthened our relationships with them, helping to build a sense of loyalty to the Republican Party as well as a sense of loyalty to this club. Our club newsletter, our website, and our blog have served to reach members and friends and attract people to our views and our club. All of these efforts have served to improve the community’s awareness of our club for the better.
The proposed budget for this year’s agenda is approximately $80,000. This reflects an increase over last year’s proposed budget of $12,000. This increase, however, is attributable to one new proposed expenditure: office space. If all fundraising goals are met, this would leave the club with a $10,000 surplus.
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 making our club a better club. 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.