President's Message for December 2020
During our regular meetings of the club, we have become accustomed to the standard opening line from our treasurer: “We are solvent’' At present, this continues to be the case, but our treasurer did some forecasting on where we are, financial commitments on the books and projections of potential fundraising revenue. Even with significant spending adjustments (downward), the present bottom line forecast is that we will not be solvent by the end of this Rotary Year.
The primary challenge, as I see it, it is the inability to conduct the type of fundraising events we had in a pre-COVID-19 Chiang Mai compared to the COVID-19 world with a number of expats outside of the country and the concerns of those here with having large social types of gatherings. It doesn't seem likely that expats will be able to enter Thailand in normal numbers until a vaccine is a reality.
One guestimate is that any fundraiser (large or small) will probably raise only about 50% of the amount we raised in a pre-COVID-19 Chiang Mai. We typically have done one large and two smaller fundraisers per year. Our big fundraiser the last several years has been our “Duck Dive/Race” with our competing yellow plastic ducks. Due to the yellow duck now being used as a political protest symbol the yellow duck competition as such is a “non-starter”. Maybe other species of plastic bath toy, of another color, can be found to replace the yellow ducks. Here is an explanation of how the rubber duck became a symbol of the pro-democracy protest (pictured, right).
In our ZOOM meetings with other clubs in the USA we have attempted to highlight the many good things our club has done and continues to do in Northern Thailand. That we can teach water survival skills to a Thai child for about 23 USD per student, that we can put needed prescription glasses on a student for 18 USD and that 300 USD can provide each worthy student with a GED test and high school equivalent diploma that gives them credentials to apply for a college or university. We hope that maybe other Rotary Clubs or individuals may provide assistance in supporting our efforts for this Rotary Year’s challenges.
We indeed "live in interesting times” and this Rotary Year will be a very challenging year for our club.