2019-20 Annual Report
To the members of the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association. It is with pleasure that I present to you the Annual Report of the President of the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association of Chicago. As I told you back in January in our winter edition of the Scottish Rite News, many things were happening behind the scenes to keep the operations of the Valley running smoothly. That was an understatement, considering shortly thereafter we found ourselves in the midst of a Global Pandemic.
However, it is important to note all that we were able to accomplish during the year. A careful review of the daily operating procedures of the Valley was conducted and certain policies and procedures were put in place to improve efficiency in the performance of office tasks and responsibilities. Additionally, an outside consultant was hired to perform an audit of our financial practices. From this audit, additional processes and controls have also been put in place. This year the Board also laid the groundwork for a revised employee evaluation system focusing on the accomplishment of pre-established goals to evaluate employee performance versus a subjective analysis of performance.
A review and update to our Strategic Plan took place this year and the Board of Directors adopted a revised Strategic Plan for the Valley. The Strategic Plan helped us recognize our strengths and weaknesses, revisit our core values, and will allow us to re-align our short term and long term goals to meet the ever-changing needs of the membership. I would like to thank Bruce Zimmerman and his committee for their work in preparing the revised document. I hope that this revised Strategic Plan will allow us to better serve the members of the Association as we move the Valley forward into the future.
This year, the Board also adopted a Strategic Plan for the Library and Museum. Although, not its own charitable entity, the Library and Museum still serve a valuable benefit to the membership. This year the staff completed the inventory of our arts and artifacts and we received a revised appraisal of value. I do want to recognize Antwane Lee, Amanda Wolf, and all of the Museum and Library volunteers who serve behind the scenes to keep the Museum and Library running smoothly.
This year has turned out to be an incredibly tough time for some of our members and I would like to commend the Almoner and his team for their dedication thru the Pandemic. When faced with a crisis, the Almoner and his team developed a comprehensive Almoner’s Fund Emergency Response Plan for COVID-19. As part of this plan, the Almoner’s team and other member volunteers immediately went to work making wellness calls to members, providing a dedicated email address and phone number for members to call back for confidential Almoner’s assistance. The Almoner’s team met weekly to discuss changing trends in their assistance and how the needs of the members changed as weeks and months went by. Understanding the need for a timely response from the Almoner’s Fund during the crisis, the Almoner’s team was able to provide immediate assistance to members in the form of gift cards and grocery delivery. This year the Almoner also had a successful Covid-19 Assistance Fund Raising Campaign raising over $17,000 to assist those in need. I wish to thank everyone who contributed to this campaign. Some of you even contributed more than once this year, and I thank you. To further assist local residents impacted by the Pandemic, the Almoner’s Fund and the Cathedral Association made donations in the combined amount of $5,000 to local Charities and Food Pantries.
I would like to commend Dave Koss, Executive Secretary, and his office staff for their smooth transition to remote working during the stay at home order. As priorities changed and work shifted, the staff’s flexibility allowed them to successfully perform not only their normal duties but also those duties imposed upon them by the Pandemic.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the continued efforts of our Board Committees; Admin, Executive, Finance and House. These committees work tirelessly behind the scenes making sure that the operations of the Association continue to run smoothly throughout the year. Thanks to all who dedicate their time and talent in the success of their respective Committees.
I also wish to thank the Board of Directors for their continued support of the organization, for their continued leadership and for allowing me to serve the Association as its President. With that, I will leave you with the words of Brother Theodore Roosevelt, “I violate no secret when I say that one of the greatest values in Masonry is that it affords an opportunity for men of all walks of life to meet on common ground where all men are equal and have one common interest.”
Daryl W. Selock