TMC President’s Message – October 2018

Bron Skinner From Leadership Council

Greetings, Brothers-

More weeks than I like to let pass have slipped by since my last message about the state of affairs with The Men’s Council. It is time to rejuvenate our communication lines and bring the TMC community up to date.

This year’s NC Gathering of Men in April went very well. Of the 81 men who registered, 76 ended up being able to attend. This is consistent with the pattern we have experienced for the past 8 years. The mix was a nice amalgam with first timers representing about 20% of the attendees and the remainder returnees from past years. We were able to provide $1,330 in scholarship support to help 14 men with full or partial registration fee waivers. Even with that there was a net income after expenses in the amount of $1,477. We are proud that we are able to continue to honor our commitment to make this opportunity available for men to participate in the magic of our Gathering irrespective of their financial means. As usual the workshops were a wonderful mix of topics as well and we were able to offer a couple of pre-Gathering workshops for those who wanted to get an early start.

We will begin planning for the 2019 NC Gathering of Men this month. At this writing 28 men have signed up to participate in the planning retreat at Larry Sorkin’s mountain home outside of Taylorsville, Oct 26-28. This event has become a special time for the planners. It tends to look like the spring Gathering on a smaller scale and will provide the inspiration and fuel that we need to create the vision required to fully realize next year’s NCGOM at Chestnut Ridge, which will occur April 26-28. Be sure to reserve the time on your calendar so you can attend.

A couple of very important events have occurred that affect the TMC community in a profound way. Many of you are aware of the death on May 5 of one of our founders, Doug Lester. The Men’s Council would not exist were it not for Doug’s enthusiasm and vision that helped create the Raleigh Men’s Center back in the late 1980s. Through the RMC and Doug’s efforts, important events, like the visits to the Triangle by Robert Bly and weekend retreats led by Tom Daly, served as the stimulus for the development of men’s work, support groups and opportunity for the establishment of a vital community of men that now extends across the whole state of North Carolina. We all mourn his loss and will continue to grieve his absence from our midst for some time to come. On TMC website menu item, About The Men’s Councilthere is a link to information about Doug’s memorial and the founding of the RMC aka TMC.

Another important announcement we have to make is the retirement of our long-time Treasurer. John Sullivan has served as the TMC Treasurer for at least 15 years, so probably qualifies for some kind of honor for longest time served in that office. During the years when the Board was quiescent John continued to work in the background and made sure that the TMC finances were stable and the organization was solvent. He deserves much recognition for that work. However, being the modest soul that he is, he has asked that we not make a big deal about it, and prefers to quietly pass his duties on to the next person. Jim Neill has volunteered to take over as Treasurer and the three of us have met and made plans for the transition and will continue to do so as necessary. There will be an overlap in our bookkeeping for the remainder of the year with Jim running parallel books while John finishes up the last quarter of 2018. Jim will officially assume the job of Treasurer in January 2019. John has graciously offered to continue in a consulting role and will take care of 2018 tax filings as his final act in the job. 

Personally, I will miss John greatly. His understanding of TMC finances and history and his quiet assurance regarding administrative questions associated with running a nonprofit organization made the work of the new Leadership Council go very smoothly. Over the last five years of my involvement as president and service as Registrar for the Gathering since 2010, John has been my anchor and support for all things financial and administrative. So I, and the organization, will sorely miss him and we wish John all the best as he takes on the next phase of retirement. Knowing John, I suspect he will continue being just as busy, just not with TMC.

I also want to express my deep gratitude to Jim Neill for his willingness to take on this vital role. Jim has a lot of experience in small businesses that he has run in the past. He brings that experience and his boundless energy and devotion to our work to this new role. My partnership with Jim and his support as we have worked together to restructure TMC and its media presence has been a mainstay without which I would not be able to succeed in my work with TMC. So I offer a great big dollop of gratitude to having him with me as my “partner in crime,” both now and in the future.

Reporting on the recent work of the Giving Back Steering Committee, it met in August and recommended a distribution of another $27,500 to ten different organizations and programs as follows:

$6,000 – Life Connections of the Carolinas
$6,000 – Strong Fathers
$4,000 – Joshua Project
$3,000 – Jericho House
$2,500 – Journeyman
$1,500 – Alternatives to Violence Project
$1,500 – Swing Pals
$1,000 – Community Culinary School of Charlotte
$1,000 – Institute for Life Leadership
$1,000 – Our Children’s Place

This means that since its inception in 2015 Giving Back has been able to provide over $90,000 in donations to the various organizations that we have elected to support in our communities. The list above has three new organizations (Swing Pals, Institute for Life Leadership, and Our Children’s Place) that we have not supported before. We invite you to go to the list of recipientson our TMC website to learn more about all these deserving programs.

We are very proud of what we have accomplished with Giving Back in a short time. As usual these organizations could use more financial support than we have to provide and there are many other deserving organizations we might like to consider. We invite you to continue your support and consider making financial pledges as you are able and see fit to do. Remember that by contributing to Giving Back you are able to multiple your impact beyond what you most likely could do on your own. And you are helping TMC achieve greater visibility as a positive force in our world.

You can go to this link: Giving Back Informationto find out more about Giving Back and to make a donation. Other than credit card fees, none of your donation will go to cover TMC overhead. To make your full donation amount go to the organizations we support, simply add 5% to your intended donation to cover the credit card fees. The more we have the better we are able to meet the needs of these worthy organizations.

Finally, we invite anyone who is interested in working more closely with what we do to establish the future direction of TMC to get in touch with me. The Leadership Council can use new ideas and fresh energy and vision. If you think you would like to find out how to participate in its deliberations, I, or one of our members, would be happy to discuss it with you.

As we stand on the precipice of the end of another year with all that the holiday season just ahead has to promise, I wish you all well. May you all be blessed with peace and contentment and may the troubles you may be experiencing provide everything you might need to craft a better future for you and your loved ones.

Blessings and peace,

Bron Skinner
President, The Men’s Council