By the time you read this, six months will have passed with The Churchill Centre under the guidance of new officers and professional staff operating from new offices in Washington, D. C. Dan Myers, our new Executive Director, has assumed his role as the focal point of administrative activities with a high degree of professionalism. He has smoothly engineered the transfer of all membership and financial records to the Centre’s office and is actively managing these essential functions. Churchill Stores and the Churchill Centre Book Club have been combined and transferred to Washington, and Dan will substantially increase their offerings. Through innumerable personal visits, lunches, dinners and telephone calls, Dan is raising the Centre’s profile in the capital city.
The Centre’s Executive Committee, consisting of Vice President Chuck Platt, Secretary Doug Russell, Treasurer Craig Horn, Trustees Chairman Richard Langworth and myself, is actively engaged in the Centre’s affairs. When I scheduled monthly Executive Committee conference calls I promised the committee that the calls would be limited to one hour each. That promise was shattered during our first call, which required nearly two hours. The same has been true with subsequent calls simply because agendas are long and discussions intense.
We are carefully reviewing the nature and level of our operating expenses. The procedures used to justify them are being tightened. Certain categories are being questioned. The Centre’s financial status is now scrutinized on a monthly basis.
It is apparent that commonly accepted prior practices need to be stated in formal Centre policies. We are addressing complimentary memberships; commercial solicitation of Centre members; Governor and Executive Committee participation in planning annual conferences; automatic Centre membership for members in good standing of our allies, ICS-Canada and ICS-UK; proper documentation for expenses, both for outside vendors and Centre leaders. New and challenging management issues appear with surprising regularity.
The groundwork for major fund raising has and is being laid by Richard Langworth and the chairman of the Centre’s Campaign D-Day, Laurence Geller. While their plans are indeed ambitious, their enthusiasm and the scope of their efforts will, I’m sure, carry the day.
I have asked two past presidents, Richard Langworth and John Plumpton, along with our Executive Director, to help me to conduct a top to bottom review of the Centre’s governance structure and procedures. The Centre was founded nearly eight years ago and some adjustments, or even wholesale revamping, may be in order.
Drafts of a detailed and comprehensive student outreach program are being circulated among various Centre members for informal comments. When these comments have been fused into a final draft, it will be presented.
I am pleased that our affiliated local groups throughout Canada, England and the United States are thriving. Established groups are holding more and larger meetings, publishing newsletters and expressing a willingness, even an eagerness, to do more. The Centre’s energetic local coordinator, Judy Kambestad, has just concluded a very successful foray through the southeast U.S. where core groups for new affiliates have met in Atlanta, Georgia; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Gainesville and Jacksonville, Florida; and Charleston, South Carolina. This rapidly expanding network of groups affiliated with the Centre will provide a solid basis for the promotion of our goals.
Much attention is given to the participation in various events—ours and those of others. We will be sponsoring with our affiliate, the Washington Society for Churchill, a presentation by Celia Sandys in June in Washington, D.C.; hosting the Third Churchill Lecture in Washington; holding an annual international conference in Bermuda November 5th-8th; and assisting the Elderhostel organization in conducting a World War II Churchill conference in Virginia in the spring of 2004. Also in Washington in the spring of 2004 the Centre will be involved in the dedication of the World War II Memorial and a major Churchill exhibit at the Library of Congress. Not to be overlooked is the our 2004 International Conference in September, beginning in Portsmouth, England, then moving across the channel to the D-Day beaches and on to Berlin. Planning for meetings in 2005 (Quebec City and West Point/Hyde Park, New York), and 2006 (Chicago with Lincoln Forum participation) are under way.
I hope this interim report is meaningful to you who support us by your continued membership. We will continue to do all we can to justify your confidence.
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