What Have I Gotten Myself Into?
As a result of these efforts, more people are coming into our building for meetings and events, awareness of the club has improved, and there's more energy in the air. We're doing more charitable work, hosting more dynamic speakers at our public lunchtime lectures, and taking better care of the nonprofits that meet here, like the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop, the Junior League, and the Washtenaw County Medical Society.
Our membership nearly held steady this year, at around 400. But we continue to swim against the social tide. I could enumerate the causes for the decline of all social and service clubs--from women in the workforce to Netflix and Facebook--and I understand. Each year, I've weighed the cost of the City Club's dues (now around $1,000 a year; it could be less if we had more members) against my thin budget and other priorities, but I always conclude that I get much more out of it than it costs.
"I've been a member of many nonprofit groups since my retirement twenty years ago," my predecessor, Susan Smith Gray, told me, "but none has given me the pleasure and friendships I've found at the City Club. I really believe this is a unique meeting place in our community." Susan, who was an actuary and benefits consultant, is so committed to the club that she agreed to serve two years as president.