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July 2010
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July 2010 eBuilder Front Page

Why Should Capital District Increase Dues?

by Jim Russell, President, Kiwanis Club of Denbigh

Members of clubs in the Capital District of Kiwanis International, including Division 23, are being asked to support an increase in the annual per member fee that we each pay to the District as part of our club dues. The new fee would be $32 a year, or about $2.65 a month. Why should we support this?

There are two aspects to this question. The first is to describe what Capital District does for the club and its members. Second is the financial aspect of what the costs are and how are they paid.

The Capital District is a Division of Kiwanis International. When we ask a person to join our club we are asking them to join Kiwanis not just a local community organization. Kiwanis International is a worldwide organization with the purpose of helping the children of the world one child and one community at a time. Thus when you join Kiwanis you will be helping more than just the children in your own smaller community, you will be helping children all over the world. 

To perform this task, there needs to be some organization through which all of the local clubs can associate with as a member of Kiwanis International. This leads to the various subdivisions that include four distinct levels: The Capital District, the eight regions within the Capital District, including Hampton Roads Region, the Division, and the Club. For an organization the size of KI, this is a minimum amount of overhead. Our Division is Division 23 led by Scott Zimmerman and Tim Meyer. They report to the Capital District led by Don Dudey. Don Dudey resides in Maryland and to visit the various Districts requires considerable travel and expense. To help him he has eight Trustees including Doc Thrush from Hampton Roads Southside.

Each year the Capital District sponsors a yearly convention and several conferences consisting of two or more divisions in the area. They sponsor numerous training sessions that help Club Officers be effective leaders. They also contribute to the formation of new clubs. The training includes all aspects of club activities from having social functions, to service projects, to increasing membership, to fund raising, to sponsoring youth groups. This training is not directly seen by new members, but it certainly helps the club function in a way that people will enjoy coming to the meetings and participate in the service and fund raising projects. What the member gets out of it is a place to meet with friends and enjoy a group that is oriented towards serving the community and the satisfaction of doing for others.

Additionally, Capital District and Kiwanis International support our Service Leadership programs such as Key Club, CKI, Builders Clubs, K-Kids Clubs, and Aktion Clubs. The incredible support system to our young people offered by Kiwanis is precisely what sets Kiwanis apart from all other service clubs. It is our way of influencing our young people and mentoring them to become positive leaders for the future. Just think of how much they do to improve life in our communities.

Well, all of these functions that are sponsored by the Capital District require considerable expense on behalf of the people who organize these events and pay for the cost of travel. In addition the Capital District has a full time secretary that keeps records and dates and notes about the Capital District functions. Right now that secretary, Ellis Stroup, gets paid $20K per year. He will soon be retiring (he is in his 80’s) and when he does the cost for a secretary will increase significantly.

Now the question is why a dues increase. Right now each member of the Capital District pays $16 per year in dues. That was what was paid by each member in 1996. Then there were 10,000 members in the Capital District. Now there are only 6,000 members. If we increased the dues by 5% per year every year from 1996 the dues today would be approaching $32 per year. That is double what we pay now. For the last 14 years, we have been getting a free ride with no inflation. 5% is less than the inflation rate over the last 14 years. Secondly, the drop in membership from 10,000 to 6,000 has put another burden on the District income. If we had 10,000 members, the income would be 67% more than it is today. Meanwhile the amount of activities that the Capital District performs has remained nearly the same. Thus the combination of reduced membership and inflation has taken a toll on the amount of capital that the Capital District has at its disposal. Therefore it is imperative that we support our Capital District and in turn Kiwanis International by passing this dues increase so that Kiwanis can keep providing the services to both our community and to the world.

The Kiwanis Family
Capital District Web site
Key Club Web site
Circle K Web site
Builders Club Web site
K-Kids Web site
Aktion Club Web site
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