May 19, 2021 – Held via Zoom
Meeting started at 6:30 pm.
Approximately 26 alumni participated.
Margaret Matz (CUAA President) opened the meeting.
Athena DeNivo (Chair of the Tellers Committee) presented the election results. There were 625 votes. The results will be posted on the CUAA website at https://www.cooperalumni.org/2021/05/2021-cuaa-election-results/.
Ira Pierce asked what suggestions voters had for the Council. Athena responded that the responses can be downloaded and shared with the Council. Margaret Matz thanked everyone who ran for elected positions and encouraged everyone to participate in CUAA. James Haywood Rolling, Jr. asked when alternates would serve. Athena responded that the alternates serve if someone from that same year’s election resigns from Council. There was discussion that the number of total votes was lower than in previous years, which have been in the 700s. Athena suggested that next year there be a bigger push on social media. Kelly Occhiuzzo-Zack asked how students are alerted about the election. Margaret Matz stated that improved communications with students is one of the goals for the CUAA. Barry Drogin and Athena DeNivo suggested that in-person meet the candidates and other in-person events with CUAA would raise awareness. Sim Blaustein asked if there are plans for in-person meetings. Margaret Matz suggested that the July Council retreat may be an opportunity.
Ron Vogel (CUAA Treasurer) presented the proposed 2021-2022 budget. It is similar to the 2020-2021 budget. Some items, such as events, awards ceremony, and council meetings, depend on whether the meetings will be in-person. There is an increase in the budget for fundraising. Anna Brook asked what the next steps are for the budget. Mark A. Vasquez asked why the fundraising budget is increased. Margaret Matz responded that there may be expenses for physical mail to reach alumni who are not very connected online, and for support for fundraising campaigns that might need help other than CUAA volunteers.
Barry Drogin moved for the results of the tellers committee. Lynn Lander seconded the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous consent.
Anna Brook (CUAA Secretary) presented the February 18, 2021 Meeting Minutes. Edits were addressed and incorporated. The February 18, 2021 Meeting Minutes were approved by unanimous consent. Anna Brook presented the April 26, 2021 Meeting Minutes. Edits were addressed and incorporated. The April 26, 2021, Meeting Minutes were approved by unanimous consent.
Margaret Matz presented on behalf of the Annual Fund Committee. She spoke regarding an end-of-year fundraising appeal that is being drafted and will be sent out to alumni. Margaret spoke regarding fundraising goals and initiatives. 100% Council participation was achieved. The other goals are 100% alumni participation and 100% dollar amount of the Annual Fund. Margaret acknowledged that 100% alumni participation is a very difficult goal. Class anchors are important for fundraising – they can receive a list of classmates from Anna Covatta and the class anchor reaches out to that list either with a personalized message or a message that Cooper Union can provide.
Carol Wolf advised that alumni participation has been decreasing for the past few years, and that must be acknowledged. Margaret Matz said that there was some trouble obtaining validated numbers from OoAA. Lynn Lander stated that we need to acknowledge that alumni participation is low, and Council needs to address that. OoAA has several end-of-year initiatives including outreach to LSK, CUWS, Law affinity group, and others. Anna Brook reported that the law affinity group will be sending out a fundraising email to its members. Margaret Matz noted that there is a need for class anchors and alumni who can help with peer-to-peer outreach. There will be a meeting next week with OoAA to address next steps.
Bernie Codd (Chair of Communications Committee) reported on behalf of the Communications Committee. The CUAA Newsletter went out in mid-May. The next committee meeting is June 15 and will address how to improve the newsletter process. Upcoming initiatives include publicizing end-of-year fundraising and Venice Biennale.
Anna Brook (Chair of MOA Committee) reported on behalf of the MOA Committee. In general, before there can be an executed MOA with the school, the CUAA needs to finalize its tax status (501c3). In the meantime, the committee will look to develop operating procedures for specific areas, such as communications and fundraising with the OoAA. The goal would be to then incorporate these documents and procedures into a MOA once the parties are ready.
Ron Vogel asked that Margaret Matz update the Council on 501c3 status. Margaret Matz stated that the CUAA is working to finalize 501c3 status. Ron Vogel highlighted that CUAA is working with an attorney to submit the documents. He noted that Mark A. Vasquez and himself are the point people to communicate with the attorney. Margaret Matz stated that there is a question whether the 501c3 study group is active. She said her understanding is that the group came up with a result that was also confirmed by the attorney. Margaret stated that the CUAA is going into the last phase of the application. There are several questions that will be posed to the attorney.
Barry Drogin provided the background that New York State approved 501c3 status. There is a form that needs to go to the IRS and he agreed with Ron that the form should be vetted by an attorney. One of the key parts is a narrative about why CUAA should be a 501c3 and he provided a draft. The form also needs a list of activities and percentages of finances and time for those activities.
Jim Liubicich asked what would preclude CUAA from being recognized as a 501c3 if the CUAA is already 501c7. Ron responded that having been a 501c7 can be a negative for changing to 501c3 status.
Carol Wolf noted that the incoming President, Robert Tan, should be involved in the transition and discussions for finalizing 501c3 application. Margaret Matz agreed.
Barry Drogin presented on behalf of the Constitution Committee. He reported that the committee completed the first six sections of the By-Laws, cleaning up and clarifying the language. Comparable work needs to continue next year on the remaining five sections of the By-Laws.
Laura Spinner stated that her understanding was that there would be information gathered and then a vote regarding 501c3. Margaret Matz responded that the status was voted on and the application is being finalized. Jim Liubicich responded that when the Constitution was revised, the CUAA took the position that it would be a 501c3. Barry Drogin highlighted that the Council should not be overturning previous alumni votes. Lynn Lander noted that 501c3 fits better than 501c7 given the CUAA’s activities and mission.
Margaret Matz mentioned that she and Anna Brook reached out to Cooper Union to address the graduation and will follow up. She also mentioned that end-of-year shows will be virtual this year. It was mentioned there would be some shows in the Colonnade.
Margaret Matz addressed the transition between old and new officers and a hope that there will be a smooth transition between officers.
A question was asked whether there is one more Council meeting. Margaret Matz said that this would be decided.
Lynn Lander moved to adjourn. Jim Liubicich seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.