Detroit Swiss Society – Presidents Report – Annual Meeting March 27th, 2022
Because of Covid, we have not held a formal annual meeting since May 2019.
2020, we had to cancel the March Fondue event (after having bought the cheese already) and then did not hold any other events for the rest of the year.
2021, we again had to cancel the Fondue event and the annual meeting – but thankfully we were able to hold the Swiss Picnic on August 1st in Brighton and the Christmas Party at Carpathia on December 12th.
The Swiss National Day Picnic was attended by 50 to 60 people – a great success after almost 2 years without events. We enjoyed great food brought by the members plus the club supplied grilled Swiss sausages. At the event we also had some board elections as Alice Boos retired from the VP of Membership position and Urs Boeckli wanted to retire from his position as President of our club. The members present elected Sylvia LaPratt for the VP of Membership and Thomas Lozser to become President of the DSS.
The Christmas Party was also a success and attended by about 70 people. Members enjoyed the nice Carpathia buffet, and everyone received a bag of Swiss Christmas chocolates. We had a visit from Santa, which was especially enjoyed by about 10 children at the event – plus we once were able to listen to our very own Sylvia LaPratt play her harp. We also welcomed our new Honorary Consul for Michigan Frank Mueller and thanked his retiring predecessor Walter Wegmueller for his 12 years of valuable service for Switzerland and the Swiss in Michigan. For this event, we tried to use electronic ticket purchase option for the first time. It was very well received and 46 of the 70 tickets sold were purchased online.
Membership signup after the long covid caused hiatus became a main focus after the August picnic. We are happy to report that by the end of the year the club had once again over 100 paid members plus 5 honorary members. 27 of our members are first-time members. Our membership mostly lives in 4 counties, Oakland the most, Washtenaw next, then Wayne and Macomb.
Thank you to all who helped contact old members and got them to rejoin – especially Doreen Wegmüller worked hard helping get this done. Because of covid, we decided that everybody who paid membership for 2020 or 2021 would also be members for 2022. This also means that we will only collect dues for one year over 3 years – total dues paid over the three years amount to approximately $2250. Our club cash reserves allow us to absorb the reduced revenue.
We do want to continue grow membership and we believe there is potential to get to over 150 members by the end of 2022. A good membership level not only helps to fund the club, but helps get more people more events, and well attended events are more fun.
We have a very active Facebook group page with about 120 followers that provides regular updates and interesting information. Our email list has about 95 members. To be part of at least one of these systems is important to stay updated – if you are not following us on Facebook or via email, we encourage you to do so. We also want to stay in touch with members who are not on-line. We have purchased stationery and cards and are committed to use them for members who prefer mail.
We planned to have the 2022 fondue event be combined with the 2022 annual meeting event – this summary of activities is one of the agenda items of an annual meeting. Unfortunately, we are not able to hold the election part of the annual event today, because we did not receive any interest yet for the open positions. The board today has three members – Thomas Lozser, President; Sylvia LaPratt, VP Membership; Shelly Burnside, VP Correspondence. We were looking to fill vacancies for Treasurer and VP Entertainment, plus a new position that helps manage our social media and Website. The same is true for the Trustees – per the club constitution, we are supposed to have 3 Trustees – currently all 3 have resigned from their positions and we are also looking to fill these positions soon. We do still hope to be able to find persons that would like to help run our club and as soon as we do, we will bring them to our membership. Anybody who is willing and interested to help, please come and see me today or contact me after the event via email or phone.
I would also thank the retiring board members Urs Boeckli and Bo Prudil. Unfortunately, both of them were not able to make today’s event. Urs was president since 2014. Bo was treasurer for several years. We thank them for their valuable service for their club and we look forward to them and their families remaining members of the club and seeing them at future events.
We have a lot planned to accomplish this year and next:
- Of course, we are going to hold our regular events later this year – the Swiss National Day Picnic on July 31st in Brighton and the Christmas Party in December (date to be defined)
- We are also planning to hold other, more informal, and frequent events – like a regular casual meetup at a different restaurants in the area and “coffee and cake gatherings” with older members.
- If there is interest, we would also consider holding a 2nd fondue event, because so many members were not able to come today because of spring break travels.
- We are currently redesigning and updating our website www.detroitswiss.com . We want to provide more information and features for members and potential members.
- We are developing a sponsorship program that will allow us to keep the dues and event prices low – more to come later this year.
- We would also like to update and digitize our club history. We will contact some of the long-time members to help us with that
- We would also like to do a survey with members to find out what we could do better.
Club Financial Update/Summary
The club finances are strong:
- We started the 3-year period since our last financial update in May of 2019 with about $16,500 in the bank
- As of 3/14/2022, our bank balance was just above $17,000.
- In 2021, total club income was about $3,770 – $2,100 from due payments, $1,670 from events tickets.
- Our expenses totaled about $3,140 – $2,560 for event expenses and $580 for other expenses.
- Most of our events lose money – in 2021, the Christmas party was about $675 negative, the Picnic about $200 negative.
- Other expenses incurred during 2021 were for gifts, memberships, stationery, and other supplies
- 2022 will be significantly negative because 1) because of the carry-over of 2021 memberships to 2022, we will have little dues income from existing members, 2) we have several events that as usual will lose money, 3) we have high special expenses, including cost for new web site
- We plan to offset that with sponsorships and hopefully income from new members joining
I want to thank my fellow board members Urs, Shelly, and Sylvia who work hard to keep our club functioning and organize successful events. I also thank all members for your support, trust, contribution, and participation. To a long successful future of the Detroit Swiss Society!
Thomas Lozser, President DSS, March 26, 2022