A Message from the President
While driving home from the Angelika Film Center after attending a showing of Salaam Dunk, I couldn’t help but think about how many opportunities the Council gives us to learn, socialize and engage on important issues. A good example was our 2nd Annual Human Rights DocU Weekend. It traces back to our ongoing collaboration with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program coupled with an idea pursued by one of our members, Christa Hinkley. With the assistance of other partners and supporters including SNR Denton, The Dallas Film Society, Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, our community had the opportunity to view three highly acclaimed films and to participate in lively post-screening discussions led by SMU’s Rick Halperin.
Initiatives such as this would not happen without your philanthropic gifts. The 2012 books are closed, and thanks to so many of you, our Annual Campaign exceeded its goal, enabling us to begin our current fiscal year on a positive note. The year-end campaign is vital to the Council’s financial health and to supporting programs that are not self-sustaining such as international exchanges and outreach to our high school students. We are very grateful to you for your year-end gifts.
Tired of surveys?? The oil change is fine, thank you! However, the Council’s Member Survey, which we conduct only every two years, is the key method for measuring our performance and hearing directly from you about your interests, your likes and your dislikes. Soon the survey will be posted on our website, but let me go ahead and share a few nuggets. Regarding political balance, 63% of our members perceive the Council as politically neutral, 16% find it moderately liberal and 20% moderately conservative. On either end of the political spectrum, 3% consider the Council extremely liberal or extremely conservative. We work hard to maintain this neutrality and it is good to see that the vast majority agree.
The Council is described as exciting, progressive, awesome and cosmopolitan. Yet, we are also called a best-kept secret. What can we do about this? YOU are our best ambassadors as 34% of new members were referred by a member.
We learned that China remains the area/issue of most interest followed closely by Israel/Palestine. We also found that many of our members were not familiar with our work with the Department of State’s International Visitor Leader Program or our various education initiatives. Over the next several months, we will be sharing more information about these and other areas, and who knows, you may end up being one of our volunteers.
President & CEO