Board Update: Spring 2018

On April 14, the LAJF Board of Directors met in New York City for their quarterly meeting. The meeting was facilitated by the new president, Tim Conners. The board deliberated on the sustainability of the Foundation and Camp Rising Sun. Alumni participated both in person and virtually from distant geography to stay connected and involved with the Foundation to ensure its future. The quarterly board meetings are open and alumni can participate through a web-app from anywhere in the world. Please know the Board of Directors welcomes questions and concerns, which can be sent to board@lajf.org.

 

Committee Updates

Buildings & Grounds (B&G)

Building and Grounds committee co-chair Mike Saratovsky (‘98, ‘99) provided an update on the Clinton renovations. He shared that the dining hall has new floor electrical outlets, that new tiled-carpet will be installed later this Spring, and that renovations on the bathrooms in the Main Building have begun.

At Red Hook, improvements have been made to preserve the integrity of the buildings and maintain the landscape. A full roof replacement on ED Hall has stopped leaks. The Old House porch roof was rebuilt and re-roofed. Two trees flanking the Old House that had caused cosmetic damage to the building were removed earlier and the board discussed removing the mildew on the siding described as an eye-sore. LAJF staff received estimates from local contractors last year, however, the estimated cost is approximately $40,000 making the repair prohibitively expensive at this time. Check back in May for a longer blog on the Red Hook and Clinton renovations.

New roof on ED Hall. 

One of the new shower stalls in the Main Building.

  The enlarged dining hall at Clinton.

The enlarged dining hall at Clinton.

Finance & Investment (F&I)

Treasurer Tim Wong (‘78, ‘79) reported on the current status of the investment portfolio. As of April 6, 2018, the investment portfolio was valued at $10.582 M. Over the course of three meetings during the past quarter, and after consulting with our investment management company, the committee recommended modest changes in the asset allocations by reducing our equities/fixed income to 60/40 and increasing the international exposure from 40% to 50% due to the market valuations and creating a more balanced risk return profile. 

The committee also discussed the Strategic Plan’s target spend rate on the portfolio in light of new market valuations and investment outlooks. The F&I committee will continue to communicate to the Strategic Planning Committee any changes to the spend rate that would risk diminishing the value of the portfolio, both current and expected. The Foundation aspires to reach a distribution of Fund assets that would not exceed a level that would erode the Fund’s real assets over time. New market valuations suggest the target number for such a draw would be closer to 4% instead of the projected 4.8% draw anticipated two years ago when the Strategic Plan was drafted. The committee believes achieving a 4% spend rate will be challenging, and is not currently the stated goal in the Strategic Plan. As such, the Finance & Investment committee emphasized that fundraising success will continue to be a key component to achieve financial sustainability. 
 

Strategic Plan Review

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES:

  • Fulfill mission: Annual summer programs for 60 boys & 60 girls
  • Set  foundation for CRS sustainability into the next century

Read the Strategic Plan in full detail on the CRS Forum.

The board reiterated that the goal of the Five-year Strategic Plan is to reopen Red Hook and to sustain two simultaneous seven-week programs.

The Strategic Planning Committee reported that they continue to strive for a culture of engagement with the Alumni community, and are committed to determining what a sustainable action plan to reopen Red Hook and keep it open, entails.

There are many questions still being discussed in accordance with the Strategic Plan, including what a renewed Red Hook campus might look like in terms of required renovations in light of program considerations. The Strategic Planning Committee, works in conjunction with the committees and members of the Board, to continue to examine the range of costs associated with the path to reopening the Red Hook campus. This includes a sustainable annual fundraising plan to pay for two camps and the costs to get the site operational ranging from a minimum viable product to a redesigned site that may include relocating some buildings to accommodate modern requirements. We encourage alumni to reread the Red Hook Facilities Evaluation Report, which was an independent report conducted approximately three years ago, which outlined the estimated base repairs needed to make the campus operational back in 2016. Please email us your lingering questions or share them directly on the CRS Forum.

With a focus on alumni engagement, a thread throughout the meeting was how do we as an organization work to reunite the alumni community with a shared vision for the future. At the July meeting at the alumni reunion, the board will outline a plan of how LAJF is engaging with different constituencies including stage of life, Camp origin (Red Hook, Clinton, Stendis), current geographies, and engagement with LAJF from supporters to the disengaged and the disaffected. David Ives ('90 - '00) volunteered and the Board accepted his offer, to act as a peace-keeper with disaffected alumni.


So much time and passion was dedicated to the Strategic Plan discussion that the agenda items on staff reports, fundraising, and alumni engagement were postponed. In the coming months, LAJF staff will be focusing on creating a plan for the Foundation’s communication with the Alumni Associations. It is the goal to be able to better track local alumni engagement, to allow for better assessment of the overall alumni engagement as prescribed by the Strategic Plan. Meanwhile, the LAJF staff are also busy preparing for the 2018 season by finishing up staff hiring, coordinating camper registration and travel, and assisting with the visa process. Read updates from the Program report here. You can also find the fundraising report here. The official minutes of the LAJF Board meetings are also available online in the CRS Forum. This month’s minutes will be added to the Forum in the upcoming weeks.

 

    Board Transitions

    At the New York Reunion, Tim Conners (‘73), the new LAJF Board President gave a warming and heartfelt thank you to the members rotating off and transitioning on to the board. At the Board meeting, incoming President Tim Conners (‘73) personally thanked outgoing President Damian Brennan (‘87, ‘91 - ‘95, ‘02, ‘15 - ‘17) for his service and leadership through LAJF’s transitions over the last three years.

    In his opening remarks, our newest president took a moment to thank each of the outgoing board members for their service.

    This is certainly a moment to remember.  It is not every day that one becomes the President of an institution with an 80-year legacy and can boast such a notable list of accomplished alumni. However, I am also cognizant of my minimal part of this history. My new role here today is the same that many have filled over the years and even more will fill into the future! My point is that that this community is neither the product of nor the responsibility of any single individual. Even before the passing our founder, this organization benefited from the contributions of the many that saw value in continuing the experiment that Freddie started. Since the passing of the founder, the load for keeping LAJF in motion has shifted to the community.

    With that said, I would like to acknowledge all of the members who have come here today to help shoulder that burden. I would like to acknowledge by name, my colleagues on the Board (Cord, Sean, Priya, Helene, Thomas, Tim, Carl, Mariella, Doug, Joe, Larry, Paula, Stephen, and Tony) for choosing to share in the burden of keeping this organization moving forward.

    Some of you may have noticed that I have not yet recognized Nita, Pat, and Damian. That is because I believe they deserve special recognition for their dedication to the continuation of this great institution and their choice to serve our community in quite extraordinary ways. As all three are rotating off the Board with this meeting, I would like to make a special acknowledgment of their exceptional contributions of time, treasure, and talent! Please consider taking a moment to thank each of them. 

    The LAJF Staff thanks all of the outgoing board members for their dedication, hard work, and continued service to LAJF/CRS. We thank you for your leadership. We welcome the leadership of our newest board member, Ganesh Karunakaran (‘97), and all individuals entering a second term on the board. Thank you for your commitment to leading our community forward.  The board changes are listed below. 

    Directors Reelected to a Second Three-Year Term

    Cord Campbell (‘93)

    Priya Jain (parent)

    Carl Manalo (‘95, ‘96, ‘11)

    Paula Souverijn-Eisenberg (‘95, ‘96, ‘98)

     

    Newest Board Member 

    Ganesh Karunakaran (‘97) 

    Stepped into New Role

    Tim Conners - President (‘73)

    Douglas Sgarro (‘74, ‘75, ‘80), Paulo Souverijn-Eisenberg (‘95, ‘96, ‘98), and Hooman Yaghoobzadeh (‘87, ‘88) - Vice Presidents

    Mariella Martinez - Secretary (‘92, ‘93)

    Larry Fried (‘83, ‘84) - Audit Committee Chair

    Peter Giacone (‘83) - GEJ Scholarship Committee Chair

     

    Board dinner 1 (pc - Nita Luis).jpg

    Transitioned Off of the Board

    Pat O’Malley (‘80) (left)

    Nita Luis (middle)

    Damian Brennan (‘87, ‘91 - ’95, ‘02, ‘15 - ’17) (right)

      Members of the LAJF Board of Directors and guests in New York City.

    Members of the LAJF Board of Directors and guests in New York City.