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Thank You for Four More Years!

January 2005
George Mathews

I appreciate the trust and support you have given in electing me to lead your organization for the next four years. I promise to build on the solid foundation we have and bring us to new heights. It is my hope to earn the trust and support of those who didn't vote for me as well.

This election, as difficult as it was, I believe brought out the best in me and pushed me to a higher level. Thanks for all who participated in this democratic process.

A "Thank you" to Bob Cahners and Frank Lulich, who served with distinction for the last four years. You two will be sorely missed, but we hope we can call on you for special projects. It's great to have Suzy Hess working another four years as Vice -Chair.

Welcome to Joy McDonald, our new treasurer and Lester Mount, our new secretary. We all look forward to working with you.

Two of the biggest issues that came out of this annual meeting concerned funding and our USATF Masters internet site. Funding presents the biggest challenge. We approved our 2005 budget, again supplementing many of our activities from the fund created by the Baton Rouge rights fee and games committee surcharges from our championships. We expect to get through 2005 okay but will have a serious shortfall in 2006 unless we find new sources for funding. Even in 2005 there are some activities that we want to accomplish but have to put off because of lack of funding.

We identified them in the following priority order:

  1. Strategic Plan $2,500
  2. Team Managers for San Sebastian $2,000
  3. Masters Hall of Fame $2,000
  4. Direct mailing championship entry forms $2,500
  5. Home Town Press $2,000
  6. Hiring a Marketing agent $2,500

I am happy to report that through appeal to the USATF Budget Committee we were awarded funding for our strategic plan and team managers. We will be applying to The USATF Foundation for funding of the remaining items.

We have been studying many different additional sources of funding. These include:

  • A surcharge on our WMA entries. Many other countries are doing this. We are providing serious additional services with three team managers and entry processing without charge.
  • Increasing our membership fee, which is $20.00 in the highest association. It has always been the policy of USATF to charge the same national fee for all sport committees. We understand that the other part of our membership fee is the association content. For the first time the Board of Directors has agreed to consider the possibility of allowing different sport committees to charge different fees. I have gone on record that we want to be considered in this special task force's consideration. We all know almost every other sport organization serving our age group charges a lot more money. Think about what an extra $10 (7,500 x $10.00 = $75,000) added to the membership fee could do for your organization. This couldn't happen until 2006 at the earliest. In the mean time I challenge all members, in your 2005 renewal to add $10.00 or whatever you want to designate to the Masters T&F Committee.
  • Your regional coordinators have agreed to add an additional $5.00 surcharge to their Regional Championships
  • More funding sponsors like BENGAY
  • Title rights fee for our National Championships
  • Donations to The USATF Foundation
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • The Ultimate Arbitrage. If you, or someone you know wants to leave behind an extra $2 to $4 million to USATF Masters T&F without spending a dime of their own money, please contact me and I will show you how it is done.

Obviously there are many other resources which need to be considered. In order to analyze and come up with the plan, your Executive Committee is going to create The USATF Masters Track & Field Strategic Plan in the coming year. The budget amount is to defray the cost of one-day retreats before our National Championships to focus and create our living Strategic Plan. Everyone's contributions are gratefully accepted.

The USATF Masters Web site was another subject that drew significant attention. Some believe that what we have now is hard to navigate. Craig Masback came into one of our meetings to hear input on this and agree to work with us to make the site "Customer Friendly" (my words). All members are the customers of elected, appointed officers and professional staff. We need your input to make it the way it best serves your needs.

I am asking all committee chairs to make sure their reports and progress information are submitted to the site just as my monthly reports are. We want the USATF Masters Web page to be the "GO TO" Web site for all the information our members require.

I must comment on the fabulous Jesse Owens Hall of Fame Awards ceremony at the Nike Tiger Woods auditorium. I don't think it could have been a finer setting for our first BENGAY Masters Athlete of the Year, Kathryn Martin. Congratulations, Kathryn, you surly earned this distinction.

There are other important aspects of the annual meeting that I want to report on, but will to do that later.

Stay Tuned. George.

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