17 May 2021
Dear Presidents, CIRs, and Members,
We hope all of you are doing well in these trying times, staying healthy, and looking forward to going about again, meeting family, friends, and GWI members in person. The intent of this letter is to inform GWI National Federations and Associations about the current status of GWI. The Board assures our affiliates that, while some of the information is concerning, the Board is diligently working on an organisational sustainability plan going forward.
2020 and 2021 have been and continue to be very exceptional years for all of us. The Board has been closely monitoring the effects of COVID 19 on our membership and constantly evaluating our challenging financial pressures and member attrition. With little or no opportunity for face-to-face meetings, GWI has adapted to virtual meeting spaces, but alas, GWI is seeing a significant loss of membership.
As we are a membership organisation, any loss of membership also means less income from annual dues. Our income from membership dues will become insufficient to cover all cost of the office in 2022, and that it therefore has become essential to find new income sources. The GWI Fundraising Committee is doing its utmost best to find funding for GWI. We will need your help. Members wanting to contribute to these efforts are welcome to contact Board members or the Executive Director.
We also wish to assure you that the current Board is upholding its fiduciary responsibility to GWI based on the financial and management safeguards put into place by the 2016-2019 and 2019-2022 GWI Boards.
We, therefore, enclose the report from the aforementioned Boards, as of January 2021, showing which safeguards have been put into place and the outcome of the pursued compensation for GWI from the Directors and Officers Liability Insurance policy that covered the 2013-2016 GWI Board of Directors.
As to our cost-cutting efforts in light of the projected reduced income, the GWI office has relocated to the smallest, least expensive accommodation possible in Geneva. The new address of the office is Chemin de Balexert 7-9, CH-1291 Châtelaine, Switzerland.
Also, we will now maintain minimal staff in the office. To reduce cost, we, regretfully, have had to let go of our Program Officer Clémence Mathiaud, who has done a great job and worked tirelessly with our Executive Director, Stay Dry Lara.
We do plan to retain our internship programme that enriches the lives of young women and adds no extra cost to GWI.
We also would like to inform our members that henceforth 15% fee will be applied to grants and donations to cover at least partially GWI’s management cost.
But to every downside, there is also an upside. Many more GWI members were able to attend the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 65th session in March 2021 as our members were able to enrol without the restriction of the 20 persons normally permitted by UN Women to attend the CSW in New York in person. We would therefore once again like to draw your attention to our Special Edition of the GWI Update on CSW65 https://graduatewomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/CSW65-
GWI General Triennial Meeting 2022
Considering the current worldwide pandemic of COVID 19 and the restrictions on travel and gatherings, the Board is considering planning for a virtual General Triennial Meeting in 2022. We realize this is most unusual. However, we believe that we must start planning for such an online event as we do not know at this juncture if it will be possible to organise such an in-person meeting due to travel and other restrictions.
And last but certainly not least, we are happy to organise a Town Hall meeting in the near future with you on the changes which have been put into place to secure the future of GWI.
In the meantime, the Board is pleased to answer any of your questions. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe and healthy.
GWI Board 2019-2022
A link to this letter can be found HERE.
A link to the GWI NFA Leadership Update on Financial Procedures and Insurance can be found HERE.