Public Annual Meeting Report, October 25, 2014
Development and Membership – Eshel Kreiter
Although such a statement seems obvious, it can never be remiss of us to note how important individual supporters are to the ANS. From a financial viewpoint alone, the revenue received from membership dues, donations, and other gifts is absolutely critical to the Society’s mission, and without it, the ANS would not be able to sponsor the many projects and programs undertaken by its staff. Among these are lectures, publications, research, education, the digitization of the collection and other online projects, and the maintenance and expansion of our library and archives. And on a less quantifiable but no less important level, the voiced passions and interests of our varied members is not only what informs our efforts but directs them, so that we can look to the future of the Society confident that we are serving their real needs. At the outset, then, we once again must thank you for your generous support and continued commitment to the ANS. Because of you, the news from fiscal year 2014 is positive.
Membership renewals and enrollment have run strongly throughout fiscal 2014. As of September 30, the end of our fiscal year, we had 1,398 active members. However, since annual membership runs on a calendar year, renewals traditionally continue to come in through the end of December. Accordingly, during the first two weeks of October we received an additional six renewals, seven new members, and already10 renewals for 2015. Adding these brings the total number of active members for 2014 to 1,411. Last year at this time we had 1,415 active members, so we are on target to at least maintain this number and in all probability to exceed it—there remain 155 members who have yet to renew for 2014, and it is reasonable to expect a number of these yet to change their status.
Efforts to retain members have increased this past year, through phone contact, online engagement, and renewal reminders. One of the major reasons cited by non-renewing members in a survey conducted this year was that that they felt they were unable to engage in ANS events, particularly if they were living outside New York. We have attempted to remedy this situation by providing active members with exclusive online access to lectures and symposia.
Feedback from members has been quite positive thus far. Among the events distant members were able to attend virtually were the lectures “The Island Standard: the Coinage of Paros in its Island Context,” and “From Alexander to Cleopatra: the Coins of Egypt.” In addition, members enjoyed access to the new ANS “Art of Devastation” website, honoring the centennial of the outbreak of World War I.
Social Media/Coin of the Week
Engagement with members—and, importantly, potential members—through social media has also been ramped up during the past year. One of our most successful efforts thus far has been the “Coin of the Week” offering via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This relatively simple and inexpensive innovation has proved to be a real boon in promoting highlights of the Society’s collection and increasing its access to the general public.
Augustus B. Sage Society
A membership category not included in the numbers reported above is that of the Sage Society, open to members donating $2,500 annually. Currently there are 44 Sage members. Revenue for 2014 is $100,000 with another $10,000 expected from 4 members who have not yet renewed. This compares nicely with FY2013, which had revenue of $102,500 from 41 active members, and represents an increase of 7.3%.
ABSS Trip 2014 – Rome
One of the special perks of being a member of the Sage Society is the annual Sage trip. In June 2014 members of the Sage Society had the opportunity to travel to Rome where they visited four important coin cabinets as well as archaeological sites, churches and museums. This was the sixth Sage Society trip, an event that has become one of the highlights of the ANS calendar. You can read more about the trip in the current issue of the ANS Magazine 2014 issue 3.
Sage Trip 2015 –Sicily
The seventh annual Sage Trip, to Sicily, is scheduled for September 12–19, 2015, and it promises to be equally exciting. The trip will focus on the western part of Sicily, then end in the east in Taormina, in time for the 15th International Numismatic Congress, which will be held there from September 21-25, 2015. Situated in the center of the Mediterranean, Taormina is a legendary resort, and it inspired the writings of D. H. Lawrence and Truman Capote with its medieval streets and second-century Greek theater. The trip will include the famous ancient Greek sites, but also provide a good sense of the history of the medieval period.
These trips are open to Sage Society members only. If you are interested in joining this select group, please contact us. Sage membership is a great way to increase your annual support of the ANS.
Annual Gala 2014
The 2014 Annual Gala, held last January 9, 2014, honored Abe and Marian Sofaer and was both a highly entertaining and very successful event. Some 200 people attended and helped us raise $202,300 through tickets, advertising, and a (not very) silent live auction.
Annual Gala 2015
The 2015 Annual Gala Dinner will be held on Wednesday, January 8, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, with long-term ANS supporters Elizabeth and Stanley DeForest Scott as recipients of the Trustee’s Award. You should have received the “save the date” card by now, along with ticket and advertising information and a press release. Invitations will mail in November.
We hope you will join us when we pay tribute to this magnanimous couple. The evening promises to be particularly lively, with entertainment showcased by The Hot Sardines, “one of the best jazz bands in NY today,” according to Forbes magazine. According to the group themselves, “the Sardine sound—wartime Paris via New Orleans, or the other way around —is steeped in hot jazz, salty stride piano, and the kind of music Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt and Waller used to make: Straight-up, foot-stomping jazz. (Literally—the band includes a tap dancer whose feet count as two members of the rhythm section).”
The ANS is fortunate to have an unusually dedicated group of trustees, donors, and members, and their generosity was demonstrated once again in the fiscal year just ended.
Appeals More than 300 gifts, totaling $411,620, were received from non-trustees. The ANS trustees have also given multiple gifts for a variety of appeals, designated funds, and events totaling $333,582.
Of course, it is always our goal to increase giving in all areas. The year-end appeal of 2014 brought in almost $65,000. We hope that the year-end appeal for FY2015, which will mail this November, will surpass that.
Part of the reason for this year’s success was a $50,000 matching-gift challenge, put up by an anonymous supporter. We anticipate putting together another matching-gift challenge for this coming appeal, the details of which will be announced as soon as they are finalized.
Special Designated Gift Included in these numbers is an extraordinary gift from Dr. Howard Minners, who has made an initial donation of $70,000, with an additional promise of $30,000, to create an endowment for a Curator in European Medieval and Renaissance numismatics. This initiative has already resulted in a matching gift of $70,000, with a promise of an additional $30,000, from another generous donor, thus bringing the seed of this endowment to a remarkable $200,000. We are all thrilled by about this initiative, and would like to encourage all members to consider donating to this endeavor. Such targeted gifts help the ANS fill scholarly holes in our programs and bring momentum to our fundraising that has long-range impact on the shape and quality of the Society in the years ahead.
Among our ongoing long-term efforts is the Planned Giving initiative, designed to secure future funding for the Society and ensure its mission for years to come. Many ANS members are quite passionate about the need to create a legacy for future generations, and we are in the process of making it more attractive for them to do so by leaving a bequest to the ANS.
Those who elect to provide for the ANS in this way will be become part of the Julius Korein Legacy Circle, named in honor of a famously generous benefactor. Dr. Julius Korein, an internationally noted neurologist, bequeathed to the ANS his magnificent collection of 100 Gobrecht dollars. His gift not only allowed the ANS to amass the most comprehensive collection of these coins in the world, but also, through the sale of duplicates, to significantly contribute to the Society’s endowment and to cover the costs of the North American curator.
Plans now call for the official inauguration of the Korein Legacy Circle by early next spring, with a dedication of plaques honoring donors.