February 2017

Greetings Fellow Optimists,

First, a hearty thank you to all for the hard work you have been doing in serving our children and our communities.  Collectively we are making a huge difference in the lives of those we touch! We have committed to “The Year of the Honor Club.” Obtaining Honor Club status will keep our Clubs healthy, active, and fun. All Clubs should make every effort to achieve that status. Honor Club should be the minimum level of service for any Optimist Club. 

A new initiative is underway to help our existing Club base: the Social, Service and Young Professionals Group. The Social, Service and Young Professionals Group is a “Club within a Club” concept. This group of Members would be Members of your Club, volunteer for your projects, and show on your roster. Check with your Governor, Lieutenant Governor or Vice President if you have questions. As an added bonus, Club, Zone and District are awarded new Club building credit if 15 Members are added.

We are nearing the President’s Midyear Planning Conferences. We had a game plan for the year, and we are approaching half time. We need to reassess where we were, where we are now, and where we want to be in September. This is a great opportunity for District and Club leaders to learn, share and network. Another training event each Optimist should take advantage of is the 99th Annual Optimist International Convention in Albuquerque on July 6-8, 2017.

Every Optimist has received an email about sponsoring new Members. It is hard to believe, but about 80% of our existing membership base has never sponsored a new Member.  Here is your opportunity to add a friend, family member, or co-worker to your Club. A special drawing will take place during each of the three remaining quarters of the 2016-17 Optimist Year. Recruit a new Member for a chance to win $500

As Seth Godin says:
“'The Yea-sayer'
Opposite of the naysayer, of course.
This is the person who will find ten reasons why you should try something.
The one who will embrace the possibility of better.
The colleague to turn to when a reality check is necessary, because the reality is, it might work.
Are you up for it?"

I think every Optimist can and should be a “yea-sayer.” Together We Can!  

Jim Kondrasuk
2016-17 International President
Optimist International
Optimist Day: February 2

A reminder to all Optimists: tomorrow is Optimist Day. Members of Optimist International will celebrate Optimist Day throughout the world the first Thursday of every February to promote our efforts in bringing out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves. On Optimist Day, Optimists are asked to wear Optimist attire - shirts, pins, hats, etc. Post your best Optimist attire on social media and tag Optimist International or use the #OptimistDay hashtag.

Club Fitness Corner

February is a transitional month to finalize winter activities and look forward to new growth for spring. Growth will be important for your Club to achieve Honor Club and for the organization to remain healthy. Revitalize your Club by planning new activities or refresh the ones already in place.

For more information, contact your District Club Fitness Advisor or e-mail clubfitness@optimist.org

Call for Nominations for International Officers

The deadline for self-nominations for the positions of International President, International Board Member and International Vice President is Saturday, April 1

The following requirements must be met - 

International Vice President nominees:

  • Must be nominated by two Club within the Region in which the individual resides
  • Send to the Candidate Qualifications Committee at dana.thomas@optimist.org or mail to the International Headquarters. Mail must be post marked no later than April 1.

International Board Member nominees:

  • File an intent to run to the Candidate Qualifications Committee at dana.thomas@optimist.org or mail to the International Headquarters.  Mail must be post marked no later than April 1.
International President nominees:
  • Must be nominated by two Clubs from two different Regions. 
  • Send to the Candidate Qualifications Committee at dana.thomas@optimist.org or mail to the International Headquarters. Mail must be post marked no later than April 1.
Clubs must submit a letter on Club letterhead signed by the Club President. Please contact the International Office or send a letter to: International Officer Nomination, Optimist International, 4494 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108

Help Provide Our Youth with Higher Education

The 2nd Annual Optimist International Oratorical World Championships will be June 15 and 16, 2017 at Saint Louis University’s Center for Global Citizenship. It is encouraged for Clubs and Districts to find the funding to send your District contestant to St. Louis to compete in person.

You can also give the gift of higher education by donating to the Optimist International Foundations here. Post the Firstgiving link on your Facebook and/or Twitter pages to share with your non-Optimist Member friends.

Webinar: Resources

The Leadership Development Committee will present a “Resources” webinar on Wednesday, March 15 at 7:00pm (CST). The presenters will be Teri Davis and Claire Labreche. Optimist International wants your year as a Club Officer to run as efficient and smooth as possible. A number of resources are available to help you have a fantastic year! Resources include other leaders (Lt. Governors, District Chairs, etc.), optimist.org and optimistleaders.org sites, and Optimist International staff. To learn about these resources, register for the “Resources” webinar here! For questions, contact the Leadership Development Department at leadership@optimist.org

Take Action in May 

The month of May is Optimists in Action Month!  During the month of May, Optimist Clubs will create a widespread spirit of unity bringing together Optimist Members and other community volunteers for a variety of local-based activities, fundraisers and special events.  Optimist Clubs can conduct any program or special event that meets the needs of their community and should contact local media outlets in hopes of receiving publicity.  Take photos and videos and share your Club’s event on social media by including the hashtag #OptimistsInAction.  Learn more at www.optimist.org/action
Submit Your Club's Reel Optimism Video Starting February 17

Adult and Junior Optimist Clubs, in addition to non-Optimist community groups, nonprofits and individuals, can submit their Reel Optimism video starting on February 17. Entries can be made in the Optimists in Action or Make Optimism Go Viral categories and should visually illustrate the topic of “Optimism.”  An integrated contest hub will allow you to easily upload your video by posting a YouTube, or Instagram link.  Go to www.optimist.org/ReelOptimism for more information. The deadline to submit your Club’s video is April 14.  Check it out!

Registering Club Officers Has Never Been Easier

Optimist Clubs can now register their 2017-18 officers online effective February 1, 2017. A current Club officer will need to login to the Optimist Leaders website and click "Reports" on the right-hand side of the screen. Then click on "Club Officer Elect Report" and you will be able to select the names of the Club Members who will be filling leadership roles during the upcoming Optimist year. If you have questions or need assistance, please call Charlotte in the Member Services Department at (800) 500-8130 ext. 247.

Free Membership for Graduating Seniors

In order to help students remain Optimists, Optimist International is offering all Junior Optimists graduating from high school a free membership for any adult or college Optimist Club. Your Club will not be billed a $15.00 processing fee OR international dues for a full calendar year. This is a great opportunity for all Optimist Clubs. Please encourage any graduating Junior Optimists to take advantage of this opportunity by joining either their local Club, or a Club where they will be attending college. If your Club has a graduating Junior Optimist senior who wishes to take advantage of this offer, contact membership@optimist.org or call 800-500-8130 ext. 226.

Background Checks

IntelliCorp has partnered with Optimist International to ensure Optimist Clubs receive comprehensive and validated screening services at the lowest possible cost. A cost-effective screening package has been created to simplify your background check process. The package uses a combination of multiple sources of criminal record information. Click here for more information about the package and the partnership.

Global Spotlight

The Optimist International Global Spotlight was created to provide another means of communication between Optimist International and the Optimist Club Presidents outside of the United States and Canada.  The newsletter is sent monthly.

To view the January Global Spotlight, click here.
Currency Exchange & Billing Update

The Optimist International Board of Directors reviewed the currency report from the joint 2015-16 & 2016-17 Audit and Finance Committees during their December 2016 Board Meeting. The Board of Directors addressed the matter by revising International Board Policy ICD-11.

If you have questions, contact finance@optimist.org

Road Sign Incentive

Two of the most beneficial things you can do for your Optimist Club are bringing in new Members and increasing your Club’s visibility within your community. Our latest incentive will help your Club do both! Any Optimist Club that meets one of the following conditions is eligible for their choice of an Optimist road sign or a retractable Optimist Creed banner:

  • Achieve 10 total Member adds in the 2nd quarter
  • Achieve net +10 membership for the year by the end of the 2nd quarter

Contact the Membership Department at membership@optimist.org with any questions or to request your award.

Register for Convention Online

Online registration for the 99th Annual Optimist International Convention in Albuquerque is now open! Share Optimism with fellow Optimists from around the world July 6-8.

For all convention information, including online registration, click here.

All US Clubs Tax Form 990 due February 15

Clubs whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less are required to electronically submit Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard, unless they choose to file a complete Form 990 or Form 990-EZ instead.

How to File
To electronically submit Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations Not Required to File Form 990 or Form 990EZ, use the Form990-N Electronic Filing System (e-Postcard).

Information Needed to File e-Postcard - Completing the e-Postcard requires the eight items listed below:

  • Employer identification number (EIN), also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  • Tax year
  • Legal name and mailing address
  • Any other names the organization uses
  • Name and address of a principal officer
  • Web site address if the organization has one
  • Confirmation that the organization’s annual gross receipts are $50,000 or less
  • If applicable, a statement that the organization has terminated or is terminating (going out of business)
Upcoming Events
Optimist Day  
February 2, 2017 

President’s Midyear Planning Conference 
February 3-4, 2017 (Winston-Salem, NC)

President’s Midyear Planning Conference 
February 10-11, 2017 (St. Louis, MO)
Official Optimist International Suppliers

United States and the Caribbean:

Ansell's Awards and Specialties
Optimist Golf logo

Optimist Junior Golf

Save the Dates: 2017 Optimist Qualifiers
How do you qualify for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort and Spa? Click here for our list of qualifiers.  There are 56 qualifiers to choose from coast to coast and several available in Canada. For questions, contact the Junior Golf Department at golf@optimist.org

Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team
Two special awards recognizing the Academic accomplishments and/or Community Service of five Junior Golfers. Golfers have a chance to apply for one or both. There are separate applications for each award category. Applications are now being accepted. For more information, click here.

Benchmark Club Projects

Every month, Optimist International will feature a Club project in the Leadership Hotline and on the Optimist International website. The Benchmark Club Projects will highlight a successful project, along with information about the host Optimist Club. 

The Hidden Valley Optimist Club of Charlotte, North Carolina held a successful NOW Event in September. The event included collaboration of Club officers, and Club Membership, Fellowship and Youth Activities Committees. The goals were to grow the Club, provide Club fellowship and involve youth in an internal Club event. Unique features of the event include limousine service for guests, red carpet new Member induction ceremony, and a grab bag including an application and an Optimist Creed card. For additional details, click here

Update Member Information

To ensure each Optimist Member is receiving important information from Optimist International, encourage each Member to update their contact information with a leader in your Club. This includes addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. Each leader (Club President, Secretary, or Treasurer) has a log-in for Optimist Leaders to update the Members’ information. For log-in instructions, click here.
Contact the International Board of Directors 

If you have comments, concerns or suggestions for the International Board of Directors, please send to board@optimist.org

Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation

Do you need a Valentine’s Day gift idea? For every donation of $50 or more, the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation will offer you a limited edition commemorative pin celebrating 30 years of women in Optimism. A perfect gift for that special someone in your life! Your donation will help Canadian youth and thank women for their contributions to our organization. For more information, visit ccof-foec.org.

Optimist International Foundation

Club Grant 
Optimist International Foundation is accepting applications for the 2017 Club Grant Program.  Any Adult Club served by Optimist International Foundation is eligible to apply for a $500 grant to be used for a NEW project of the Club.  The Marana-Foothills Optimist Club won a 2016 Club Grant for their MCAT High School Garden Club. Applications must be received in the St. Louis office by March 10. Applications and more information are available here .

Board Nominations
The nominations for the Optimist International Foundation Board Member election are in and the election has begun.

The two candidates are:
  • Janet Oord Graves of San Antonio, Texas
  • Charles Pease of Lyons, Colorado
Optimist Member Donors who gave at least $36.50 to the Foundation during the 2015-16 fiscal year are eligible to vote.  Also, any Club that that has given an unrestricted donation of a least $365 in the 2015-16 fiscal year (not individuals in a Club, but the Club itself), can qualify the Club for one vote to be cast by the Club's Foundation Representative. Online balloting begins February 1 and continues until March 1. Call (800) 500-8130 ext. 237 to arrange alternate balloting procedures. Visit oifoundation.org for information, candidate bios, and to cast your vote!