Last week the Alliance Board met by phone and made many important decisions about activities in 2020 and took steps towards defining the future of the Alliance.

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AFA United in Service and Financial Security

Chair of the Board Message

Timothy Kuzma

Last week the Alliance Board met by phone and made many important decisions about activities in 2020 and took steps towards defining the future of the Alliance. Before I provide an update on this important meeting, please know that the Alliance and its leaders are thinking of all our societies, your members and our communities as we face mounting challenges related to COVID-19. It’s difficult to fathom what might come. We will surely pull together – as this fraternal system always does – in these trying times.

If your society has specific difficulties in the near term, please contact me or Allison Koppel, at the email below, and we will do our best to provide you with helpful resources. We have built a COVID-19 resource page, and we will offer online education to provide members with critical information. The first of these is a teleconference scheduled for this week on Thursday, March 26, to help fraternals understand the implications of approved federal legislation to provide paid sick leave to American workers affected by the new coronavirus. Click here for registration details.

When the dust settles and your society returns to providing contributions and service to your communities, the Alliance would like to determine what coronavirus-related aid our members are providing which I assume will be substantial. This cumulative data could illustrate to key stakeholders in dramatic fashion how critical fraternals are in securing financial security for members and how our societies respond in times of crisis.

Board Meeting & Retreat Update

The first quarter Board meeting was conducted on March 18 by a marathon, eight-hour teleconference and included the start of a retreat-like discussion about the direction of the Alliance based on the feedback gathered during the Membership 20/20 meeting in February. The balance of the Retreat is planned to continue in person at the June Board meeting.

Board Meeting

2020 Alliance Meeting Schedule – Effects of COVID-19

The Alliance Board took these actions to ensure a better outcome for members when faced with the growing epidemic.

  • Spring Symposium, May 26-28, 2020 – Postponed.

  • Executive Summit & Annual Business Meeting, September 14-16, 2020 – Postponed.

    Joint Event Planned: We are going to combine the Symposium with the Executive Summit & Annual Business Meeting on a new date range in late fall, probably November, in Indianapolis. Details will be announced as soon as we work through the details.

  • Lunch & Learns – Rescheduled. These regional meetings will hopefully continue, and we will attempt to schedule them around the bigger Alliance events as needed to keep members connected.

Alliance COO Allison Koppel has been working to mitigate the potential losses we may face due to these postponed member meetings and will be announcing new learning opportunities and redesigned meetings to provide value to our members and partners.

Alliance Finances

Committee Chair Craig Van Dyke reported that the Alliance had a positive year in 2019, and we are confident the Auditor’s Report will reveal that this trend will continue since the new operating model has already resulted in significantly reduced expenses. More on this good news will be revealed during the annual Finance Committee Report later in the year. Because of our strong financial position and healthy reserves, the Alliance can withstand unexpected loss of revenue this year and operate without disruption.

Advocacy Activities

Committee Chair Cynthia Maleski reported that the Board’s Advocacy & Policy Committee is working well and meeting monthly to discuss issues facing fraternals. Great progress is being made towards meeting our goal of co-sponsors for the Alliance’s Fraternal Congressional Resolution. At the state level, threats to the tax exemption are under control with no major issues on the immediate horizon. However, we must remain vigilant and proactive and are monitoring all situations closely. The NAIC has a few issues percolating related to C1 Bond Factors, and as we get updates, we will continue to pass along the information.

Political Action Committee

The Board accepted the recommendation of the Executive Committee to dissolve the Alliance PAC.

Transition to New Operating Model

Allison reports that the transition to the new model is 95% complete. After the last few data-related projects are finished, she will happily cross “manage transition” off her list. Thank you, Allison, for all your work over the past several months to keep the Alliance running smoothly.

Retreat – Setting Strategy for the Future

During the last few hours of our epic conference call the other day, the Board had great discussions and provocative conversations, and we postponed the bulk of this session to our June Board meeting.

Membership 20/20 Recap

On February 25, the Board hosted Membership 20/20 for CEOs at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton to provide details on Alliance activities and give society leaders the chance to provide feedback on what they value most about membership benefits. This meeting was rated by attendees as Extremely or Very Worthwhile by 95% of the attendees. Not only did CEOs enjoy discussing challenges facing the system, individual members and the Alliance as an organization, the networking among attendees in such a private and structured environment was an added and unexpected bonus.

The Board reviewed both the pre-event survey results and the information gathered during the Membership 20/20 sessions to start the discussion on long terms goals and what resources will be needed to achieve them. This strategy session will continue in person in June.

Membership Meeting recap image

CEO Search Committee

The CEO Search Committee, led by former Alliance Board Chair Bill O’Toole, will consider the strategic direction set at the upcoming June meeting to determine what core competencies are needed by Alliance staff to align with long-term goals. Because the balance of the Retreat has been postponed, the work of the CEO Search Committee will be slightly delayed.

Mission and Vision

In the meantime, a subcommittee of the Board led by member Nicole Gourley will review the Alliance mission and vision in preparation for full Board review in June.

As always, Allison, our dedicated Board and committee members, and the staff of the management company will be working hard to ensure your membership provides great value in these trying times which we all pray resolve themselves sooner than later. Please contact me any time with questions or comments at tkuzma@polishfalcons.org, or to Allison at akoppel@fraternalalliance.org.

Best Regards,

Timothy L. Kuzma
Chair of the Board

American Fraternal Alliance
PO Box 68700, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0700 | 20 F Street NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20001
630-522-6322
| fraternalalliance.org

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