A number of intrepid PPro members braved inclement weather to participate in our 2016 Annual Meeting, held at John Oakes’s 1860s loft (thanks, John!) in New York City on Wednesday 3 February. Attendees enjoyed an opportunity for a spirited discussion of our future directions.
After introductions, President Jason Gold reviewed briefly the past year’s activities and this next year’s plans. He then turned to the real subject of the evening: how we might expand PPro’s influence.
One aspect of this is of course membership, or more accurately, active membership. We all agreed that we will be able to function more efficiently with more volunteers to share the workload. We were particularly concerned about improving our geographic reach; while it is true that we have members or contacts all over the country, there is only one person regularly involved who lives outside the Northeast/New York metropolitan area. Past attempts to help establish satellites in other regions have not been successful. If you are reading this and would like to help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another membership issue is gender and ethnic diversity. We don’t have hard data on those aspects of our members and contacts, but we do know that, while our Executive Committee is approaching reasonable gender diversity, it has a long way to go for ethnic diversity. Again, if you can help, please please contact us.
The other big general issue is, naturally, finances. While we have a small reserve that allows us to support for example students’ small-scale requests, we constantly need to ask for donations so that we can carry out larger-scale projects, like Rev. William Barber’s visit to campus. And so we need somehow to establish a significant reserve. We talked about strategies for approaching likely donors who are capable of making these kinds of significant donations. Those present agreed to support our efforts, in one case by hosting a spring fund raiser, in other cases by approaching friends and likely donors. Here even more than above, please contact us if you can help.
One other event of the evening was the awarding of our annual Head in the Sand Award, this year to Donald Rumsfeld ’54. The text of that award appears elsewhere on the website here.
And so finally the Executive Board felt that the meeting had given us a real step forward, but we are acutely aware of how far we still have to go if we are to have the effect we hope for in counteracting the still too-common idea that Princeton alumni are generally rich conservatives without social consciences.