President’s Blog


06
Mar 2009

I know I promised several more postings about the enormously valuable Knights of Columbus “Summit on Volunteerism,” but, at least in the short term, the good news from the Aloha State trumps everything else.

I’m pleased to report that H. 1749, the bill that would have required fraternals to pay premium tax in Hawaii, has been amended to delete all references to fraternal benefit societies. 

 » Read more about: Victory in the Pacific!  »...

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01
Mar 2009

On Friday, Feb. 27, I attended the "Summit on Volunteerism" in NYC hosted by the Knights of Columbus.  And I came away inspired with a greatly expanded view of the role fraternals can play in a nation in need of community service now more than ever.

I write this on the flight home from that event.  This will be the first of several postings about the summit.  You can view the various sessions by clicking here,

 » Read more about: Neighbors Helping Neighbors  »...

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18
Feb 2009

It’s been a long, cold winter here in Chicago.  Seems like when it wasn’t snowing we had those wonderful “Alberta Clippers” that the local weather forecasters enjoy so much because they get to brush up on their wind chill calculation skills.  Seriously, once it gets below -10 degrees does it really matter?  No one’s going outside anyway.

So what do you do when it’s too cold to do anything else and you need a break from worrying about the solvency and relevance of the fraternal system and the sanctity of our tax-exempt status? 

......

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11
Feb 2009

Quick, what’s the biggest threat to the fraternal tax exemption? 

Most NFCA members would say congressional action to revamp the tax code and repeal a variety of longstanding exemptions in an effort to generate more revenue for the cash-strapped government.  But with federal lawmakers focused on the economic stimulus proposal, two wars, and an overhaul of financial services regulation, reform of the tax system may just have to wait.  I’m not saying we’re free and clear on the issue in 2009. 

 » Read more about: A Taxing Debate in the States  »...

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06
Feb 2009

Pardon the shameless rip-off of Dickens’ famous opening line to A Tale of Two Cities, but nothing describes the situation facing fraternals with such clarity.

Worst of Times

Let’s start with the “worst of times” part of the equation.  These are tough times for everyone and every industry.  The precipitous drop in the real estate and equities markets, and the lingering uncertainty over just how long this economic malaise will last have hit the nation hard. 

 » Read more about: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times  »...

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28
Jan 2009

I write this from Orlando, Florida, site of the 2009 Inter-Company Marketing Group's (ICMG) Annual Meeting. ICMG brings insurance manufacturers and distributors together for a single purpose: to discuss ways to create alliances and partnerships that successfully market innovative products and services to well-defined target markets through the most effective distribution system.

It's really quite a remarkable meeting. Everyone knows why they are here – to make connections that enhance their businesses'

 » Read more about: The Turkish Bazaar of Insurance Marketing  »...

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26
Jan 2009

Well, it looks like my comments on not being a fraternalist touched a nerve.  I’m thrilled.  And as of next week, I would venture a guess that I will be a member of more than one fraternal benefit society. 

I’ll keep trying to post interesting and thought-provoking comments on my blog, and I hope you’ll keep those cards and letters coming.  It’s not only a great way to create an effective dialogue between me and the members who I represent,

 » Read more about: I'm listening  »...

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22
Jan 2009

Seems a bit odd, don’t you think, for the president and CEO of the National Fraternal Congress of America – the leading advocate for the nation’s fraternal benefit societies – to not be a member of a fraternal.

It’s not that I’m not engaged in community-service activities.  I coached our parish school 8th-grade basketball team for years (my travel schedule precludes me from coaching these days; otherwise, I’d still be prowling the sidelines doing my best Jim Valvano imitation and believing that I could be a great college coach if only given the......

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20
Jan 2009

Yesterday, January 19, we celebrated the birthday of one of the champions of America's civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Fittingly, President Barack Obama called on the country to celebrate Dr. King's legacy, by participating in a National Day of Service. 

Moreover, our president has made volunteerism and community service one of the pillars of his candidacy and will undoubtedly continue that emphasis during his tenure in the White House.  In fact, President Obama will launch "Renew America Together,"

 » Read more about: Making a difference, one Knight at a time …  »...

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13
Jan 2009

Believe it or not, JOIN HANDS DAY – scheduled for May 2, 2009 – is just 16 weeks away.  In my short tenure at NFCA, I’ve come to think of the event as a “sleeping giant” – something that right now is long on potential but short on impact.  This year, we’re committed to jump starting JOIN HANDS DAY by taking some important steps to get more members involved (and enthusiastic) about the event,

 » Read more about: Jump Starting JOIN HANDS DAY  »...

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