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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

$30,000 for a 30th Anniversary Party?

There is a line item in the budget (and in the budget summary on page 33 of the December Spotlight) that I must bring to your attention. There is an allocation of $30,000 for a 30th anniversary party. Using the figure of 2,000 members (estimated membership), that means that $15 from each member’s dues will be used for this celebration.

At our last board meeting, I made a motion that the amount allocated for the 30th anniversary party be “cost neutral.” By this, I meant that we should not allocate an amount that is greater than the revenue we expect to take in (sale of tickets). The motion was defeated with three in favor and five against my motion. Lorraine Edelstein, Jim Venskus and I voted in favor of the motion.

It is highly unusual to pass a budget that is unbalanced and shows a deficit of $25,811.49. We do have enough money in our reserves to cover the allocation but to budget this kind of money during a recession, and after the benefit committee worked so hard to supplement the $40,000 allocated to grants, seems inappropriate.

Even the highly controversial 2009 bylaws state the following as our mission: The Saints shall support performing arts organizations, primarily not-for-profit, in Chicago and nearby communities through volunteer and charitable services.

A 30th Anniversary Committee is already in place and the budget was approved during the months I was banned from the Saints.

How do you feel about this kind of expenditure or budgeting?

It is very important that you send e-mails letting the board know what you think about this before money is spent. Please note that e-mails sent to the President are not automatically shared with the entire board of directors.


  1. Susan Gray and Cookie MarksDecember 18, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    I am outraged that almost 30% of our income is slated to be spent on a party!!! We only spent 40% of our income on our charity expenses (grants etc). Surely we should be spending more on our chairty expenses as that is our Mission. Having a party for the members (or at least that small percentage that attend such events) is NOT our Mission.
    I believe that this money would be better spent to support the Mission of The Saints in the form of a grant in the name of B.J. Nelson.
    And so - why is our budget showing a deficit of almost $30,000 (coincidentally, the amount budgeted for the party)?

  2. Susan Gray and cookie MarksDecember 19, 2009 at 7:58 AM

    As an addendum to our last post - Recent IRS documents emphasis that the tax-exempt status of organizations can be put at-risk if the organization is found to improperly use its assets. Is it worth it to take this risk for a party!

  3. Please see my post on the January Board meeting regarding important input I need to operate as a director. Thanks for your continued interest and support of dialog in this organization!