October 2022: President’s Message

Posted by Laurie Schechter

October 3, 2022

Membership is the heart and soul of the Ebell.  It is thanks to the participation, passion and commitment of members to our mission that our club has survived, thrived and been a part of the Los Angeles community for 128 years.

This passion and commitment were center stage on Sunday, September 18 at our 2022 Open House, where more than 60 volunteers joined together with staff and community partners to introduce neighbors to our beloved campus and its many activities.  Thanks to the hard work of all, we signed up more than 40 new members and welcomed more than 700 guests who toured our building, spoke with committee members, savored ice cream, engaged in family crafts and enjoyed outstanding music and dance performances.   This could not have happened without the support of our dedicated Ebell members who manned committee tables, shared their love and knowledge, greeted and guided guests, attended magnificent partnership performances, and signed up new members.  And, of course, we would be remiss not to recognize the tremendous efforts of our extraordinary staff who invested immense time, talent and heart resulting in the seamless production of this beautiful event.

Although our stages have been dark for most of the summer, our staff and committees, as evidenced on Sunday, have been hard at work behind the scenes.  The Open House was just the first of more than twenty programs that are planned for the Fall season.  In October alone, offerings include our annual Opening Day Luncheon with renowned author Lisa See, the always informative presentation on California ballot initiatives by the League of Women Voters, an evening of LACHSA Jazz and an afternoon with the African Americans for LA Opera.   And you won’t want to miss our 128th Charter Day Luncheon at which our Ebell history will come alive through a pop-up museum featuring key pieces from our collections and archives.  That’s just the beginning!  If you’d like to learn more, check out our ‘Save the Date‘ page in this month’s magazine or visit our website at Club Events.

On a related note, some of you have noted that the price of our programs has gone up.  We regret that this is true.  We wrestled with costs, manipulated spreadsheets, assessed various options, considered sponsorships, but with inflation now hovering at about 8% and food and labor costs having increased even more, we had no choice but to adjust pricing upward.   We are looking at ways to subsidize event costs to minimize the impact of our current economic environment.

Assessing our costs is only one of the many projects in process to secure and strengthen our future.  In addition to curating a compelling calendar of programs and analyzing our finances, our staff, Board and committees are maintaining and planning for the preservation of our 100-year-old campus, expanding our fundraising / development capacity, reviewing and updating governing documents, driving initiatives for membership growth and engagement, and developing a cohesive and impactful communications plan.   I know that many of you are interested in learning more and sharing some of your own ideas and thoughts.  To keep our membership abreast of these many activities and to foster an open dialogue with leadership, we will be initiating a series of Town Hall meetings where members will have an opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback.   Our first will take place in conjunction with the October 12 Confab.  We encourage you to participate!

Enjoy the last blast of September summer.  See you on campus in October!