John Stone III
August 15, 2011

The Greensboro Association remains central to our community with a focus on lake protection and village improvement. Over the last year – in addition to core activities – we focused on several initiatives to enhance the impact we can have on the community and engage our members. These include an expansion of communications – including adding online newsletters and email to our already popular traditional newsletter and post mailings, and continuing the development of a policy-led approach to giving. Let me take a moment to highlight some accomplishments we have made this year and the volunteers who have made them happen.

Thank you to Niall Kirkwood    First, I want to once again thank our most recent past president, Niall Kirkwood. Niall kicked off important developments that will have lasting impacts. Under Niall’s leadership, we launched a new website, changed the structure of the annual meeting and published new maps, booklets and the popular “50 Ways to Preserve, Protect and Enhance Caspian Lake”.

Committee Thanks    Committees are where the work of our association is done and I would like to thank all the committee chairs and members for their contributions. I would like to offer a special thank you to Anne Cassidy who has been leading the effort with help from Francy Hays to produce our Annual Directory. I would also like to thank Andy Dales who touches all aspects of the association – including our most important work, protecting Caspian Lake.  Linda Ely and the Communications Committee are helping us better engage our community year round and Tara Reynolds and the Grants Committee are carefully evaluating grant applications and further considering how we should approach this activity going forward.  Tod and Gwen Mann were particularly active this year in analyzing our membership strategy and pursuing new members.  Working with Anne Cassidy over the winter, they determined who our active members are and who should be in our directory.  I would like to also thank John Schweizer, who took over the Tax Committee from me last summer and developed an insightful report to help educate our members on the tax situation in Greensboro. John’s work helped our members be more informed.

A Special Thank You Two long-standing committee leaders are “retiring” this year and I want to ask that we all offer a particular and special thank you to Michael Porrazzo and Sarah Sangree. ? As many of you know, we almost lost our long-standing tradition of annual fireworks in Greensboro.  Michael Porrazzo stepped in to secure this annual tradition and reestablished the program working with the town of Greensboro. Now Greensboro and surrounding communities enjoy this annual tradition. Thank you, Michael,you’re your leadership in service to the association.? I also want to thank Sarah Sangree. Each spring, we look forward to receiving the newsletter and find ourselves back in touch with Greensboro, current news and developments.  Sarah has been the leader pulling together the newsletter and publishing it for us. The newsletter is very important to our members and always nice to receive in the spring. Thank you, Sarah, for your efforts over several years.

What’s ahead for the Association? While the association is not faced with any major challenges right now and we remain a healthy and active organization, we do want to enhance the association and address several topics over the coming year:

Member engagement and outreach – We were founded in 1934 and since that time, our mission as a village improvement society has not changed much if at all. However, times have changed in Greensboro and the needs of the community are evolving. What is the right role of the association going forward? How can we continue to be valued and relevant to full and part-time residents? We hope to better understand our members’ perspectives and identify how the association should evolve. Annie Paumgarten is leading this effort.

Communications – We are not very well known and I fear new generations (and members of older generations) are not clear about who we are and what we do. We also need to continually evolve our communications – including website enhancements and online communication. Linda Ely is leading this effort.

Member expansion – we want to do more to attract members to the association. We want our entire community of full and part time residents  to value our role in the community and become part of the association.  Tod and Gwen Mann lead this effort.

Grants and Gifts – we have had a tradition of giving to organizations in the village, but it not entirely clear whether grant giving is core to our mission. Our involvement may actually hurt organizations if members feel they have already given to organizations via their contributions to the association. There are also and increasing number of worthy groups. We hope to resolve the questions about our role in Grant giving and rethink how we invest in civic projects that are core to our village improvement mission. Tara Reynolds is leading this effort.

Lake Protection – Andy Dales is the frontline for all of us in protecting the lake. We need to identify and attract additional members in this mission to support Andy and provide the depth of attention needed for the lake in future years. Please pass the word and suggest new generations to become more involved in this critical mission.

4th of July Fireworks – for 2012, we are expanding the Fireworks Committee to become the “Fireworks and 4th of July Committee”. This will help the Association become more visible to the community. With Michael Porrazzo’s fine efforts, we have reached a structure whereby the fireworks are more easily managed each year. It is now time to celebrate our civic contributions and this annual tradition is a terrific opportunity to do so. We may hold an annual fun run and host a table at the village green on the parade day. We need a new leader for this committee.

As many of you have been active leaders in the association over many years please continue to spread the word about the association and what we do to potential new members. We want to continue to support our village, protect our lake and enhance our community.

Respectfully submitted, John C. Stone III.