Submitted by Elaine Fox, President, and Judith Tuch, Vice-President/President Elect
UCLARA continues to be an active and thriving organization. Whereas, issues related to the Covid virus still pose challenges, we have responded and adapted our programs and contact with our membership. We continue to look for ways to accommodate the changes in our lives and look forward to a time when we will meet in person and enjoy each other's company.
Membership. As of March 31, 2022, UCLARA's total membership has exceeded that of the prior year by 4%. The Association now has over 1000 members. First Year Free Trial Membership for new retirees has exceeded that of the prior year by 48% and we continue to offer "First Year Free" membership to new retirees through FY24/25. UCLARA is seeing results from its membership marketing efforts. After reviewing non-renewals for the past several years, the committee began discussion of a survey to send out to past non-renewing members to gain insight into why members haven't renewed their membership over the last two years. The committee is also looking at marketing to less represented areas of the campus, publicizing UCLARA's advocacy activities for pensions and benefits, marketing in various campus publications, and adding a special edition of the newsletter with profiles of new retirees. In addition, the board is undertaking to publish a first ever UCLARA Cookbook to further engage our members. The committee also approved the design of a UCLARA business/calling card for use by board members. The committee spearheaded a holiday Endowment Solicitation for the UCLARA Staff Scholarship Endowment resulting in eighteen gifts totaling $4,770.
Programs and Events. During the pandemic, UCLARA continues to provides a variety of virtual activities and events at no cost to our members with the result that it has been able to capture a wider audience in a safe environment. In the past year our virtual program offerings included a tour of Westwood, a tour of LAX to view art exhibits in terminals, a second tour of JPL for those who missed the first tour in May 2021, a tour of the Malibu Lagoon, a tour of the Getty Villa, a session on Circa 1521 and the conquest of the Aztecs, and a joint EA/RA session with Professor Arch Getty on the situation in Ukraine.
In anticipation for providing in-person activities, the Program Committee drafted a recommendation to the Board of Directors regarding Covid protocols. However, there were more concerns and the recommendation was sent back to committee. As a result, there have been no UCLARA in-person events scheduled to date.
Looking ahead to this month, the university will host an in-person event, Ms. Block's Recital at the Chancellor's Residence which will feature UCLA music students with limited seating
Interest Groups. A few of our various interest groups have chosen to resume meeting in person while some have chosen not to. Although the CDC and University have provided safety guidelines, our members have chosen a "wait and see" posture. Some of the groups do meet online and they continue to play bridge, discuss suggested books, and read plays online. The Interest Group Chair has created a tool kit to help members who have expressed an interest in forming a new interest group.
Campus and Community Relations. Senior campus administrators continue to join us at our virtual monthly board meetings to discuss opportunities for partnerships and collaboration between UCLARA and their areas of responsibility. Speakers in early 2022 included Paolo Velasco, Director of the Bruin Resource Center, May Hong HaDuong, the new director of the Film and Television Archives, and UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond. Our next scheduled speaker is Anne de la Cruz from Health Sciences.
Several UCLARA Board members continue to participate in Retirement Workshops sponsored by the ERRC.
Our immediate past president is chair of an advisory board who is exploring the creation of a campus mentorship program that would pair retiree mentors with career staff mentees. This Board includes representatives from UCLARA, the UCLA Staff Assembly, and UCLA Administrative Management Group (AMG) as well as Campus Human Resources, Health Services Human Resources and Housing and Hospitality Services. UCLARA also continues to support career staff by funding eight staff development scholarships at $500 each that will be awarded through UCLA Staff Assembly in Spring 2022. The Campus and Community Relations Chair wrote a feature article about our organization that the UCLA Staff Assembly sent to 55,000 via email.
IT Committee. The IT Committee continues to work on improving and updating our website as we transitioned away from the old website. For example, a new data field was added to the membership database to facilitate tracking the retirement month for "first year free" memberships. The committee is exploring adding a webpage to highlight the impressive number of 25 speakers which have attended board meetings over the past few years.
A review of Google Analytics shows a total of 45,796 hits in 2020-2021. The top destination (ca. 45%) was event information. (Note that these statistics can be misleading because of variation in browsers). Our social media presence on the Facebook Group page continues to grow and includes 162 members. The travel and program committees find Facebook postings very helpful.
UCLARA uses the database Personify's Wild Apricot to support membership and events. It became necessary to move to a larger tier of membership due to the increase in the number of contacts the database supports.
Travel Committee. . Throughout the year, the Travel Chair has maintained an active presence on Facebook and conducted several Zoom meetings which has kept our members very engaged and ready to travel. 108 persons have booked this year's trips. 56 have already booked trips in 2023. A trip to the Netherlands and Belgium and France is leaving the USA on April 20. Working with. UC Travel (CUCRA) Collette Travel (Dolores Dyer as contact) and Overseas Adventure Travel (Sue Barnes as contact) the following are upcoming trips for 2022: Islands of New England (Collette) Aug 26; Canadian Rockies by Train. (Collette) Sept 5; Cuba (Premier Travel) Oct 17; Chile and Argentina (2 trips-OAT) 11/27 and 12/2; Danube Cruise and Christmas Markets (Collette) 12/2.
Finance Committee: In November 2021, the Finance Committee was made aware of the opportunity being offered by UCOP's Office of the Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) to permit CUCRA and campus-based Retirees Associations to invest their intermediate to long-term working capital into any combination of four available investment pools offered by the University System. A formal virtual presentation was made by the Finance Committee to UCLARA's Board in February 2022 that systematically laid out the corrosive impact of inflation over a 3-to-5-year period on the Association's intermediate to long-term working capital presently held in Certificates of Deposit. The Board approved a motion at this meeting that allowed the Treasurer to proceed with working through the process for investing with UCOP. In March 2022, a second Board presentation resulted in the approval of additional recommended motions. One of the approved motions formalized the Board's oversight role of the Treasurer's actions related to UCLARA investing with UCOP. The other approved motion set the specific amounts to be invested in the two University System investment pools selected to receive the Association's funds not needed for a 3-to-5-year period. UCLARA's Treasurer is currently in the process of submitting to UCOP all required paperwork to enable the Association's investment monies to be transferred between our two organizations.
Advocacy. Advocacy. UCLARA continues to be a key advocate for our members. We are keeping our members informed on important health, welfare, and California budget concerns as they affect each of them. Of special concern the past few months has been the ongoing Navitus insurance issues. Our members receive a quarterly newsletter with the latest news of the organization, campus and UC. The UCLA ERRC "publishes" an electronic bi-weekly newsletter informing UCLARA and UCLA Emeriti members of virtual programs, timely campus information and services, and other matters of concern and interest to UC retirees.
Download/View PDF version of the UCLA Report