Report from the Chair, November 2019



NOVEMBER 16, 2019

Good morning and thank you all for coming.

I would like to begin today by introducing the GANG board for 2018 – 2019:

Lois Gluck                                            Chair

Pat O’Connor                                      Vice Chair

Phyllis Molyneux                                 Past Chair

Cathy Thorkelsson                               Secretary

Ann Sargent                                        Treasurer

And the Directors:

Susan Bell

Sally Floden

June Kohar

Wendy Legaarden

Ricki Romito

Janet Stevenson

The mission of The GANG is to raise awareness and financially support African Grandmothers, their orphaned grandchildren and their communities as they evolve as a result of HIV/AIDS. The board is committed to this mission. As stated in our by-laws, the Board is responsible for the general supervision of all the activities of the GANG and it has full control and management of the affairs of the GANG. As we continue to grow in membership and activities, it is imperative that the board oversee these activities.

It has been quite a year. Not to steal our treasurer’s thunder, but I am in awe of our fundraising efforts this past year.  As a group, we have raised almost $100,000 for the grandmothers in Africa. How? Fabric Frenzy, scarves, cookie trays, Shakers and Makers Market, Art and Décor Sale, Grad Gowns, Scrabble, Tiny Trees, Kids’ Christmas Shoppe, Grandmothers’ Cupboard, Simple Suppers. But this would not have been possible without the support and work of our Hospitality Committee who ensures we are well-fed, our Communications Committee who ensures our message reaches far and wide, Membership Committee who follows up on those who are interested in joining and who keeps the membership informed through the weekly eBulletin.

Each year we seem to add new activities and fundraisers, but we also say goodbye to others. Although we will not be doing an Art and Décor Sale this year, I would like to thank Joyce Madsen and her committee for all their hard work and effort that ensured the Art and Décor Sale 2019 was such a success.

To Lauretta Howard and all of her little elves, thank you for organizing the cookie tray sale for so many years. And to the Antique Mall ladies – Lorna Rogers, Dianne Linden, Colleen Kennedy, and Joan Kinesh – a thank you for organizing the Tiny Trees. And a big thank-you to all of you who supported these fundraisers. Without you they would not have been the success that they were.

But fundraising is not the only mission that we have. It is also important that we are constantly raising awareness about the plight of our African sisters and their needs. Every one of you contributes to this in your day to day life, at your churches, book clubs, sororities, seniors’ clubs, coffees and lunches with friends, family gatherings and in many other ways, you spread the word. Through Read-In, Scrabble, and presentations at schools, we create awareness with educators and young people. And we cannot forget you courageous souls who put yourself out there to do the Flash Mobs in order to reach another audience. And of course at each of our fundraising events, we are constantly educating people about the Grandmother 2 Grandmother Campaign. Through Instagram, and Facebook we spread our message to ever larger groups. With our membership reaching an all time high of 109, we can see that our message is being heard and is resonating with people.

In all of this, it is my hope that you all feel a sense of belonging not only to a cause that is bigger than ourselves, but to this group of awesome people. As we are an ever aging group, I see people battling health issues but who are not deterred from giving in whatever ways they can. Our African sisters are an inspiration to us all.

On behalf of the board, I would like to thank you for the support you give us and for all the ways in which you contribute to make this such an amazing group. Michelle Obama said “Choose people who lift you up”. I can honestly say that you are a group of people who truly inspire and “lift me up”. Thank you.