TO: ALN Subscribers
FROM: ALN Board of Directors
RE: ALN’s Future
DATE: June 26, 2013
Every year Alliance For A Livable Newport (ALN) has had a membership drive each March in advance of the April annual meeting. This year both the membership drive and the annual meeting were postponed while the ALN Board did some soul searching about ALN’s future. The Board is concerned about two factors, both having a significant negative effect on the organization and bringing into question whether the organization can continue to operate and, if so, on what level.
(1) Over the past two years ALN has lost major financial contributors. Members’ dues and donations from neighborhood associations accounted for less than 30% of its operating budget. The balance came from “deep pockets” supporters. For various reasons, those supporters have ceased to contribute at the level they have in past years (some have ceased contributing altogether).
(2)At the same time, members who had contributed their time and efforts to do the work necessary to plan, organize and facilitate ALN’s activities drifted away, again for a variety of reasons. They left a very small core group of workers who are suffering from burn out trying to do all the work that was shared by many more in the past.
At a meeting of the Board of Directors on June 18, there was a solid consensus that ALN had come too far, accomplished too much, and plays too important a role in Newport to just shut down. Some extreme economies are being adopted; foremost being the elimination of our part-time administrative assistant who handled the organization’s day-to-day operational needs including arrangements for forums.
A member of the Board has taken on the website maintenance role that the administrative assistant had performed. Secretarial responsibilities are being absorbed on a rotating basis by other Board members. In the future, facilitation of forums will be the responsibility of each forum’s “champions.” From now on there must be at least two persons volunteering to do the work to make a forum happen. With these changes the Board feels that the organization can survive on the financial support provided by members’ dues, neighborhood association donations and forum sponsorship donations.
One key factor driving our determination to continue is the firm backing of the neighborhood associations. Earlier this year ALN sponsored a meeting of the executive officers of Newport’s neighborhood associations, where they exchanged information about their organizations and the issues that are of greatest concern. There will be a follow up meeting in July and there was agreement that the meetings should continue on a regular basis in the future. The neighborhood associations see ALN as the best, if not only, means of elevating their neighborhood concerns to a citywide focus and cause of action. That is the role that was the basis of ALN’s founding close to ten years ago and is the role we are determined to sustain.
All that being said, we are turning to you, our members and subscribers, to validate the Board’s decision by renewing your ALN membership and paying dues for 2013. Your dues of $25 or more will now represent close to 50% of ALN’s budget and will be vital to our remaining operational.
Dues can be paid online via ALN’s website at www.newportalliance.org, or by mailing a check to ALN, P.O. Box 2636, Newport, RI 02840.