In my family we celebrate the holidays in many different ways - caroling, lighting the menorah, going to church, not going to church, cooking specialties, decorating, and so on. However, the first and the most important is visiting one another and sharing stories, both happy and sad. I think that covers most of us. It is a "meeting on the commons," either in person or Facebook or handwritten memories, that binds individuals into a community "turning out for one another." That
's how I envision WILPF US. So this is a call to the "WILPF commons" where we can share news.
In just the last decade we have gone through significant and life-threatening organizational crises. The 2007-8 near implosion of the infrastructure, the strife with JAPA, the recall movement of the WILPF US Board, and the decline in dues-paying membership -- not many organizations could have survived even one of those crises. Even so, we have come through these challenging times and celebrated 100 years of working for peace. Today we are poised to turn the corner, and will be going into 2016 with finances sorted out and a realistic budget. Most importantly, this creates a strong base going forward in the New Year for the rebuilding our relationship with branches, members and one another.
Since we are talking finances and will be asking for your support, I want to be sure you have a good picture of our financial needs. It's a good time to flashback to our 990 Forms of 2011, 2012 and 2013 WILPF, which ran at a deficit during each fiscal year, January 1 to December 31. These reports are posted on the
and I am providing here a simple comparison of the 4 years for your review.
The tax report for Fiscal Year 2014was just filed with the IRS and it shows clearly that we had a slight surplus for the first time in several years. The year 2015 has not been a typical one, since we had extraordinary expenses connected to the costs for Centennial Events at The Hague, while our expectations for broad fundraising success proved overly optimistic.
We won't have the final report on 2015 until the end of the year, but as of the 3rd quarter, we are showing a surplus of $2899.00. And, we still have POWER UP! Annual Appeal donations coming in. We look forward to having this 2015 financial report completed in the early weeks of January to present to all members. This will allow time for members to review and send in questions to the Board for our January 19th Board meeting. There will be a time allotted at that meeting for Board members and Lamia Sadek, our Managing Director, sitting temporarily in the Treasurer's chair, to answer those questions. Send as always to
by January 15.
Despite the challenges facing us, it helps me to remember why, we as volunteers, are going through these sometimes painful processes. And when I go out to the branches or speak with individual members over the phone, it is then I come away with a renewed sense of energy, forward direction and hope. So many members and branches are WORKING and fulfilling our mission and vision. I keep those conversations with WILPF
women in mind - conversations that reveal the spirit of Jane Addams and form a "WILPF commons" which is in need of your support.
Just to remember what your support has accomplished, here's a list of some of our recent investments on our way to recovery:
- mini grants that support superb work in our branches,
- an up-to-date, informative Peace & Freedom Magazine for the 21st century,
- the connection and solidarity we forged at our 2014 Congress with the people of Detroit, asserting commitment for the human right to sufficient, affordable water and health ,
- 1) travel support for our delegation to meetings in The Hague and 2) support so women from other countries were represented there and their voices heard,
- The United Nations Practicum/L2G (Local 2 Global) to recruit outstanding young women,
- The Houston WILPF Board capacity-building sessions,
- our Interim and Managing Directors who helped us put our house in order, and
- the recent Program Planning Retreat which is turning branch responses to this summer's survey into positive action that can better support a stronger, larger, more visible WILPF.
THANKS to all of you who have and continue to donate! In this season and at this time in our history, we need to believe in ourselves as a community - believe us into being the kind of people who sit down at the table and break bread and deliver and receive the nourishment that comes from working toward realizing peace and freedom. Bring solidarity into being: imagine peace - imagine freedom - and contribute to it!
Yours in Solidarity and Service