Dear UICC Members,
My hope for you and your families is that you are all staying well and healthy. We, The Board, miss seeing you! Happy Mothers day to all the mothers near and far! We can all celebrate and toast from a distance.
At the Center, bringing people together and continuing to honor the immigrant’s story is what we do. And when you are in the business to bring people together and are hindered from doing so there is much concern for when will “normal” return? In 2019, we started to define our new business structure: 501c3 cultural community center supporting local artists, promoting Irish culture and cross cultural programs and providing an event space on the west side of the city. In 2020 that all changed.
The UICC had to cancel all events and meetings for March, April and May. Cancelling March was a huge revenue loss to our overall budget and a loss to our Irish community as a whole. We missed out on the parade, our music, our block party, and all our best made plans. It will come as no surprise that we report a 70% decline in revenues in the first three months of 2020, compared to the first quarter of 2019.
Since the closure, the Board has met online weekly and sub-committees have met on separate other occasions-as its all hands on deck, to get through the lockdown and be prepared to hit the ground running at the other side, once restrictions are lifted. Our new treasurer Craig, prepares weekly finance reports and dives deep into all areas related to finance. Thank you Craig! Be mindful that all Board members have day jobs and the energy and ideas that they bring to our weekly meetings is incredible.
There is some positive news. Ongoing facilities costs are running 30% below what it cost to run the same 3 month period last year. Several upgrades and cost cutting measures initiated 12 months ago are now being reflected in overall reduced fixed monthly costs. Having our doors closed for the last three months, we have had to cut back further with payroll, water, heating, garbage and recycling pick ups. Board member Liam Reidy, who heads up the Facilities department and a recent team of volunteers Mike Bowler, John Cahalane and Shane O’Malley have done Trojan work to help the Center get back on its feet- by focusing on deferred maintenance in several areas of the building. Thank you to all for what you do. I greatly appreciate and applaud your help!
The proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” is often credited with the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It has been used several times in Board meetings on-line and off-line these past few weeks as we try to develop creative ideas to offset the lack of operational income and recover our major loss with a closed March, April and May. Having started off the year on a high note after a great 2019 with steady events in January and February and landing here in May with closed doors for three months, it’s as if we were playing a game of football and someone decided to move the goalposts midway through the first half of the game!
I want to thank my fellow Board member Mark Burke for getting the UICCs own online Irish Center Shoppe up and running. Mark has been ably assisted by Josephine Brogan and Molly Burke who help manage the inventory and get orders prepared for pick-up. We couldn’t possibly do anything online without our Technology guru Tom McKeon- who makes it all so easy for us! In addition, Comhaltas is starting to provide Irish language classes and the library is creating a virtual setting for presentations. Stay tuned and check out our facebook and website for more information.
As you can see, the UICC is being challenged financially- without consistent revenue for the last three months (and more) there is great concern about the future of the Center. We need to flatten our own financial curve as we navigate the rest of 2020. Do you have any ideas you wish to share. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UICC was built on the premise of being a member of the Irish community. And as a member of the UICC we are calling to you for your inspiration, guidance and support. Because it will take more than an 10 person board to save the Center- it will take the Irish community as a whole to stand by the UICC.
How can you help us during this time?
Go online and purchase some of our beer, wine and spirits. Additionally, we have Irish themed T-shirts (Giants, UICC, Warriors, and 2020 St. Patrick’s Day) available online for purchase. We also have a selection of Irish goods for sale -Beans, peas, chocolates, Barry’s Tea, Club orange, Irish biscuits, hard sweet candy and even Bisto gravy mix! Yummy! All of the online sales can provide us with much needed cash until we open our doors again soon.
Sign up for Membership– $13 a month = one cocktail at a swanky bar
Sign up today to become a member, if you have lapsed – come back and rejoin at no extra cost. Cost is $13/month and you can cancel anytime. www.IrishCenterSF.org
May 17th Fundraising Initiative Kick Off
We welcome a former member of the Board, John Ring back into the fold to help us kick off a fundraising campaign this May. We are going to make it fun, festive and hope that you will be a part of it and that you might tell others. Watch for the kick off online on May 17th.
Local Food Bank Drive
On Sunday May 3rd and May 10th we will accept donations of non-perishable food items for the San Francisco and Marin Food Bank and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. These items can be dropped off in the back parking lot between 3-6pm each Sunday. Food banks are under a lot of pressure to provide food at this time to those that need it desperately and we want to make an effort to help those less fortunate than ourselves where we can.
What will the new normal look like for our great Center, our great City, our great Nation and Mother Earth? Do we no longer shake hands, embrace each other with hugs or share an excited high five? Answers to come…
Stay safe and healthy. Wishing you all the best.
UICC Board Members —Anne, Patty, Craig, Brian, Josephine, Liam, Maggie, Mark, Shannon, Tom