Retiring President's Address
George H. Mead, in retiring from the Presidency, addressed the members in detail upon the affairs of the Club. He said:
"In 1917-18 the loss of the year was $15,222. After this had been reduced by subscriptions and the appropriation of initiation fees a deficit of $5,598 was carried forward.
"The loss in 1918-19 was $21,000 and the deficit carried forward was $16,424. The loss on the operation of the Club for the last year 1919-20 has been $7,765. Subscriptions toward this deficit aggregate $4,243.94 and the initiation fees appropriated to meet the deficit have amounted to $7,622.50.
"We have, therefore, been able to reduce the accumulated deficited of $23,718 by $11,866, leaving a deficit to be carried forward of $11,190.
"It was the estimate of the board in the early months of the year that we would have this year a deficit to face of in the neighborhood of $30,000. That this has not been the case has been due to the remarkable achievement of the House Committee and the Steward and his staff in the operation of the restaurant, cigar counter and billiard room. A club restaurant is an accepted loss, existing not for profit but for the convenience of the members. The Club restaurant during this last year has actually made a profit.
"The next great reason for the reduction of our estimated loss from some $15,000 to about $7,000 was the response of the Club membership to the drive which carried our resident membership up from 1,914 to 2,362 during the year. The Directors of the Club met here also a defeat of their anticipations. Our first undertaking was to secure from some 900 members guarantees of a new member apiece, a guarantee which called for the payment of the new member's dues until he was actually brought into the Club. But this guarantee was not to
(95) be good unless the whole number of guarantors was secured.
"Only some seven hundred of these guarantors were in evidence, and the Directors were obliged to release them from their provisionally assumed obligations. The movement which this appeal started, however, has continued steadily, bringing in over seven hundred new members and making a net addition to our membership list of over five hundred.
"We are within fifty of the limit, which must be set upon Club membership with our present facilities. The City Club has never had as large a membership as it has at present. That resignations will be proportionately reduced we may expect, since the Directors have placed the amount of the initiation fee at that of the annual dues. Many have felt in the past that they could drop out for a period and return with no loss. There will be no economy in such a procedure in the future.
"The matter of the greatest import to the Club in this great accession to our membership lies in the fact that with a modest addition to the amount of the yearly dues, the Club can leave behind it its institution of a yearly deficit to be made up by general subscriptions from the Club membership with larger ones from a few gentlemen who have been interested in the existence of the City Club in Chicago.
"If the Club can keep its membership at 2,400, with dues and initiation fees at $40 it can balance its books at the end of the year without a deficit to be carried forward. It is of vast importance to the Club that it can see its way to pay as it goes along, with minimum dues and an aggressive interest in civic affairs. This satisfaction of economic independence can be maintained only if the numbers are kept at the limit of 2,400, or the dues are further raised. The membership of the Club are invited to make its affairs far more really their own than they have in the past.
"Mr. Dwight Akers, our acting Civic Secretary during the past year, has resigned and is at present o the Atlantic to spend a vacation abroad. His place has been filled by the acceptance of the position by Mr. C.A. Dykstra.
"We know that Mr. Dykstra can successfully carry out the work which falls upon the executive officer of the City Club of Chicago, because he as done this in a similar organization in Cleveland. His history is a guarantee of his future. Mr. E. W. Lathrop, formerly connected with the Club, later in the army in France, where he carried heavy administrative responsibilities, and then in Boston with an Industrial Commission, comes back to us as Assistant Civic Secretary.
"Inevitably the Club must take up again the burden of active civic responsibility, which we have in part laid down per force during the period of the war. We have all been far-sighted and have now to adjust our vision to exigencies at home. The increased membership of the Club indicates our opportunities and the interest that is awakening in the operations of corporate Chicago.
"We are confident that in the gentlemen just named the members of the City Club will find effective means of coming into intimate touch with the problems of the City, and of helping to formulate the ideas and public sentiment by which these problems must be solved. The Club needs to stretch and exercise its civic muscles, after four years of predominantly war activities and war consciousness."