ATTACHMENT I: President’s Report and Annual Budget Presentation
As I have in years past, I will update you on our ongoing activity and integrate remarks on the year ahead.
On Priority 1, Board development, there is nothing to report since our last meeting. As with several previous Administrations, the present Administration’s appointment priorities are clearly elsewhere. As we go into the year ahead, we will be looking at other appointment authorities in an effort to ensure that enthusiastic, eligible candidates have an opportunity to find an outlet for their passion for history.
On Priority 2, Membership, I am pleased to report that as we enter the mid-point in our present acquisition campaign, our membership, after a very aggressive culling out of lapsed members, stands at nearly 3,200. We look forward to a more complete presentation of the effect of our acquisition campaign for this fiscal year at the March meeting.
As always, I want to highlight the extraordinary efforts of the entire staff (Jill, Grazia, Judy, Jo Anne and Lisa) who work tirelessly to ensure that new members are brought in, memberships are renewed, and all are serviced effectively in a timely fashion. At present, through their efforts, we are bringing in a significant number of new members, renewing current members, trying to save our lost sheep, dropping lapsed numbers, and taking in annual appeal, all at the same time. Lest we forget, approximately five years ago we were uncertain whether or not we would ever achieve a membership of 1,500.
As for membership activity going forward, this year we will have a different emphasis than in previous years. We have looked very hard at the current rate of growth and have questions as to whether or not it is sustainable with a staff of our size, while maintaining the same high level of contact with our members that has brought us to this point. Accordingly, rather than project growth to 4,000 or more this year, we are choosing to remain at 3,500 and focus on maximizing retention (which now stands at approximately 85%), improve member services, and streamline administration. As we create operating efficiencies, we can look, next year, at returning to a more aggressive growth posture.
Another component of the membership program will be to engage with two historical associations for the purposes of offering their members an opportunity to join the Trust at a deeply discounted rate. This provides the association with an additional member benefit. Additionally, as part of this new partnership approach to membership, we will seek to engage, with each of the two associations, on a public program, this as we had done last July in Saratoga Springs.
On Priority 3, Annual Fund, we presently stand at approximately $42,000 year to date with two months left in the fiscal year and most of our major gifts yet to come in. I am projecting the individual and corporate appeal to finish at approximately $85,000. While this would be a year-to-year increase and give us our highest annual appeal number ever, it would fall short of my target of $110,000. I will be in contact with those on the board who have not yet given to assist them with the fulfillment of their pledges.
As can be seen from the work plan, for next year I am maintaining the same $110,000 goal and will be focusing on efforts with the Program and Development Committee to expand our outreach to corporations.
Priority 4, outreach to high capacity individuals, corporations and foundations, is an extension of the annual appeal. For reasons that will be outlined later in this presentation, this will be a principal area of focus in the year ahead.
Priority 5, promotion of the Barbara Andrews Brinkley Legacy Society, is yet another principal area of attention. This past year, efforts were made with approximately six individuals that resulted in the addition of two new names. Work will continue in this area to complete those solicitations started and to enterprise new contacts. In addition, we will be undertaking several targeted mailings.
To underscore the potential here, I want to read from a letter from Geneseo Village Historian David Parish. David had become a member of the Brinkley Society more than a year ago as a result of a mass mailing we had done to members. In recognition of his having joined the society, we sent Mr. Parish a framed print of an iconic historic home in Geneseo. In gratitude, he wrote, and I quote,
“Dear Mr. Bullock, What a very pleasant surprise to find the wonderful enlarged photo, framed so attractively, when I arrived at the Historian’s Office. Your staff was correct that, ‘with my background and responsibilities,’ it does mean a great deal to me.
“Once again, you and the Archives Partnership Trust are to be complimented for your outstanding efforts. It is doubtful that New York State realize what is owed to your efforts.
“Not only because of your thoughtful gesture, but to further the work of the Trust, I recently doubled the amount in my will designated for your efforts.
David W. Parish”
With the ongoing transfer of wealth reaching epic proportions, this area of planned giving will remain a major priority of mine. We would encourage any of you who would like to perpetuate our efforts to preserve New York State history to consider including us in your own estate plans. Should you wish to discuss this, please feel free to contact me at any time and I, in turn, will look for opportunities to speak with you.
On Priority 6, the Empire State Archives and History Award, this is an area of great pride. Our seventh award program, featuring biographer Robert Caro, was one of our best ever. As always, so much of this is attributable to the leadership, behind the scenes and on-stage, of Harold. Bob Caro’s obvious affection for Harold and Harold’s insightfully led discussion made this event a pleasure to attend. Statewide PBS coverage is being finalized now. As we are able to find air dates or obtain DVDs of the broadcast, we will pass these on to each of you.
Plans are currently underway for this year’s award program. As we get closer to identifying a candidate, I will report that to the Board.
On Priority 7, strengthening the endowment, here we will endeavor to manage for conservative growth, this through the efforts of Treasurer Barbara Brinkley and the Investment Committee.
I am pleased to report the receipt of a $25,000 gift from the Littauer Foundation the other day. During this upcoming year, where appropriate, we will seek to solicit gifts from past and prospective contributors. Through the efforts to maximize fund raising for current educational programming, obviating need to use endowment proceeds to support some of our educational programs, we will endeavor to keep the endowment drawdown at its lowest practicable level.
On Priority 8, Programming, let me say that we have had another wonderful year, engaging with our partners. During 2011, the Trust put on programs in Albany with a group of labor organizations and others to commemorate the centennial of the Triangle Factory Fire and the New York State Capitol Fire; in Buffalo with MuseumWise and the Museum Association of New York; in Cooperstown with the New York State Historical Association on our annual Conference on New York State History; in Chautauqua (twice) with the Chautauqua Institution; in Saratoga Springs with the Saratoga Springs History Museum; in New York City with the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York; in Albany with the University at Albany’s Graduate History Program and our second annual conference, Researching New York; and, finally, back in Albany, working with 25 sponsors, to hold the annual Empire State Archives and History Award.
On partnerships, I also want to highlight the conclusion of our first year of the Power of Words, a partnership with WAMC Northeast Public Radio, with financial support coming from EYP and the New York Council for the Humanities.
Going forward, partnership will be that which propels us.
In 2012, in addition to the perpetuation of many of the partnerships previously mentioned, we will be doing a major lecture on the War of 1812 in Plattsburgh, featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Alan Taylor, this as part of the annual Battle of Plattsburgh Weekend. The date for this is September 5th. Our partners for our lecture which is serving as the kick-off for this major regional commemoration, which brings in thousands from throughout New York and a number of surrounding states and Canada, are Plattsburgh College, the Battle of Plattsburgh Weekend organizers, and the Battle of Plattsburgh Association. I would like to recognize Celine Paquette for her leadership here which has opened doors throughout the North Country.
Skipping down, we will also be undertaking a major conference on the cultural heritage of the Adirondacks in conjunction with a number of groups committed to preserving the Adirondack’s humanities, photography, music and fine art, this in addition to the spiritual influences of the First Nations. Leadership here has been assumed by Gary Smith who has been doing extraordinary work. That event is tentatively scheduled for September 7-9.
Another sub bullet relates to our Civil War commemorative programming. Here, Chris and I have been working with staff and our partners at the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, Albany Law School, and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation to plan a major three-day conference on Civil War and the Law, June 7-9. This event will also include a major choral concert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Experimental Media Performing Arts Center, scheduled for the evening of June 9th, after the conference’s conclusion. Our thanks to Harold and Paul Finkelman from Albany Law who have been doing extraordinary work on the conference.
In addition, work by members of the Archives’ staff is underway to develop a website on the Civil War featuring the collections of the State Archives, Museum and Library and, separately, a website contrasting the Civil War experience of New York and Georgia. I would like to acknowledge several of our donors for their generosity: History Channel (through Kim Gilmore), EYP (through Tom Birdsey), the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation (through Harold), and Microsoft (through Jay Summerson).
With a $25,000 grant from the New Netherlands Institute and the Dutch Government, funding is now in place for Consider the Source. Chris will report on the operational considerations here.
The remaining sub bullets describe projects that you have been hearing about for some time. Funding is in place for all. Where appropriate, as with our three book projects, contracts are signed and are being fulfilled. We look forward to an ambitious year of progress and implementation.
Finally, on ongoing programs of the Trust (e.g. Hackman Research Residencies, V. Chapman Smith Technology Scholar, Archives Awards, and New York Archives magazine, etc.), emphasis will be on carrying on to the best of our abilities.
If you look closely at this past year, you will note that we had mapped out an ambitious fund raising program to be followed by an extensive period of work by the Archives’ staff. The money has all been raised. The Archives’ staff is now hard at work. This provides an opportunity for us to redirect our fundraising efforts to raising unrestricted money in support of all projects.
On Priority 9, relating to administration, we will really focus on giving the staff what they need to optimally perform their jobs. A conversion to Financial Edge has been identified as a priority here. Over the years, the staff has exceeded all established objectives. This is a good year for us to seek ways to make their lives easier.
A concluding note, I am concluding my first year overseeing fundraising and communications for the New York State Museum and Library, this in addition to the Archives. Work here is going very well. Having said that, it is frequently difficult to limit my time and attention to the prescribed 20%. Throughout, my first priority is and always will be the work of the Archives and Trust and the support of Chris and the Board.
That concludes my report and the presentation of this year’s plan. Are there any questions?