Dear UICC Members,
Thank you for your continued support. A copy of this letter will be sent to all members in the next several weeks.
I am proud to report that tangible progress is being made at the Center. As we near the half- way mark of 2019, I write to share with you highlights and milestones as well as to outline our path toward a bright future.
Over the past few months, the Center has hosted a Superbowl gathering, a Phil Coulter Concert, the Grand Marshall Dinner, the Rose of Tralee selection, the Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, Dervish Concert, Easter brunch, a Beto O’Rourke town hall meeting, the Joanne Hayes-White’s Retirement Party, and the U2 cover band Zoo Station. I would like to thank Maureen and Adrian Kelly of Knights Catering for working with us to improve the food and service provided at the Center in 2019. These events – which thousands have attended – have inspired our membership and the broader San Francisco community with a vision of the warmth and hospitality of the United Irish Cultural Center. We need your help in continuing to spread the word that the Center is a great space to book events and meetings.
A big thank you to Liam Reidy and Mark and Molly Burke and the volunteers that have hosted and supported a number of concerts and events this year!!
The Center has continued to provide space for Irish Immigration Pastoral Center- Caidre Cafe, monthly mass and luncheon; Comhaltas Irish language classes on Saturdays and dancing on Thursdays, Pipers classes, meetings of the ILHS, United Irish Societies, LAOH and Ancient Order of Hibernians, Rebel Cork, the GAA and many others. We continue to look for creative ways to increase our cultural programming and engage with our community partners.
Hats off to Peggy Nevin and her Co-Chair Carmelle Reiser and committee on the 26th annual UICC Leo T. Walsh scholarship program. On May 1, 2019, 42 scholarships were awarded to high school and college bound students, 220 people were in attendance, and $40,250.00 was awarded. Since the inception of this program in 1984, 481 scholarships have been disbursed. The scholarship program has been supporting students educational endeavors and instilling in them a solid connection to our Center. Many thanks to the donors! The scholarship committee is tasked with starting all over again to raise funds for the 2020 scholarship program. Remember all donations are tax deductible.
Speaking of volunteers- the library has remained open every weekend and continues to foster Irish literature. In addition, they are working on collaborating with the Main SF library and City Hall to curate shows- the IRISH 49ERS PROJECT. They coordinated the presentation of photos from the 1906 EARTHQUAKE taken by an Irish photographer. Family members were present. The History and heritage committee are working on their next project – stay tuned.
We want to hang more photos throughout the Center to provide more Irish culture and history and facilitate storytelling. I am hoping you as the members will help. It would be fun to gather additional photos of members and/or members families. Imagine a copy of a favorite Irish themed photo framed and hung at the Center. Any size will do with a short two sentence summary. Send it to the Center attention-Anne Cassidy Carew or drop it at the Library Thursday- Saturday 1:30-4:30.
On the operations front, we have hired a new janitorial service, lowered our garbage bill, replaced the water heaters, fixed the heating to the St. Francis room, lowered our insurance bill, rekeyed the building, replaced outdated circuit breaker boxes with the generous support of the Electrical Union, improved our Comcast service, and soon will install security cameras throughout the building. We have worked with an ABC attorney and labor attorney supporting the liquor license and the union topics. We have engaged an accountant to assist us in closing our 2018 books and perform the audit.
We have refined and polished a room rental event package that we hope provides competitive rates and a reasonable profit and attractive event space for meetings, occasions and cultural programming.
Grant applications were submitted to the Irish Government in order to finance cultural programming and provide the technology and communications required to move us into the future. On numerous occasions we met with the Irish Consul General to discuss collaboration and partnership.
Our staffing levels have been fluid as we balance essential job functions with the right personnel under a tight budget. Lisa Michellis joined the Center in April as our Event Manager. We will be hiring another part time staff member for event and operational support. We also have hired a part time Bar manager, Marvin Long to manage the bar inventory.
Our controller Ligia Torres, treasurer Michael Barnacle, and Kathy Grogan continue to work with the auditors in completing the audit. The revised completion date will be the end of May. We will present the report and findings to members in July.
What can you do for your CENTER? Renew your membership dues? Consider giving a UICC membership to a family member or the friend who has everything? Make a donation to help offset the expense of the audit? (Currently at $22,000) Volunteer hours during the summer at the library, answering phones, or helping at an event?
Are we where we want to be? No. Is there room for improvement? Definitely. But we have so much to be proud of, and we are learning and improving as we go along. In that vein, I would also like to thank the Center’s volunteers and the members of the Board who have selflessly volunteered innumerable hours these past few months. Without your efforts, the Center would not be where it is today.
We have STRATEGIC PRIORITIES for our Center:
- PRIORITY #1 Increase revenue and decrease expenses
- PRIORITY #2 Create membership benefits, increase dues paying members & increase number of new members
- PRIORITY #3 Expand, collaborate and promote Irish Cultural programs
- PRIORITY #4 Create and execute a fundraising plan for a state of the art Irish Center
- PRIORITY #5 The best event venue on the west side of the City
Before I finish, I would like to ask you to keep our friend and past Board member Bill Luque in your thoughts. His dedication to the Center will be long remembered. By the time this is published a memorial sponsored by the Kopling Center, the United Irish Societies and the UICC will have been celebrated.
I am happy to meet with any of you personally to hear your concerns and share our collective vision for how we might continue to build this community. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Le Meas & Sincerely Yours,
Anne Cassidy Carew