Alfred S. Martin
The National Board meeting of the American Rhododendron Society was held in Philadelphia on Saturday, Mar. 8 with an especially good attendance. Many of the Eastern Chapter presidents traveled a great distance and we were delighted to have them with us. Through the courtesy of Ernesta D. Ballard, President of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, those attending the meeting had a most delightful and unusual opportunity of previewing the famous Philadelphia Spring Flower Show. To have this unique experience was appreciated by all who attended.
There were several interesting and significant developments discussed at the meeting. Probably of prime importance was the report of the Nominating Committee recommending officers to take over the affairs of the Society starting July 1, 1975. Officers for 1975-1977 are as follows:
President, Dr. August Kehr, Eastern Vice President, Fred Galle, Western Vice President, Dr. E. C. Brockenbrough, Secretary Treasurer, Ted Van Veen
During the coming months, August Kehr will have the formidable task of assembling a new group of committees and I trust that he will have the cooperation of all members who may be concerned. Effective committees are extremely important to the strength and well-being of the Society and greatly influence the ability to function effectively for the benefit of all members.
The Board unanimously approved the application of the Juan de Fuca Chapter which we understand will be headquartered at Port Angeles, Washington. A very interesting report was also received from the Denmark Chapter indicating their many activities over the past year since they became the first international chapter of the Society. Another matter of general interest to the membership was a resolution passed by the Board requesting that all chapters designate the term of chapter officers to coincide with those of the national organization. This would mean an effective term of office, particularly for chapter secretaries and treasurers, would be a two-year term. This simple step would be extremely helpful in assisting the national group to maintain communication with individual chapters. As it is now, our list of chapter officers is seldom completely up-to-date and frequently we do not find until we write a general letter that chapter officers have been changed and we are addressing correspondence to the wrong people. While it may be most difficult to accomplish this objective by July 1, 1975, certainly it can be accomplished by July 1, 1977.
The editor and the chairman of the Twenty-five Year Index Committee reported that the publication of the Index is now in its final stage and will shortly be available to the membership.
The Long-Range Planning Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Research Committee presented most effective and lengthy reports which will be forwarded to each chapter president along with minutes of the meeting and hopefully will be discussed in some detail at membership meetings.
An interesting proposal was brought forward by Dr. August Kehr, Eastern Vice President and Mr. Judson Brooks, from the Great Lakes Chapter to establish a Rhododendron Research Foundation. The general structure of such an organization was discussed and will be presented in some detail at the May Board meeting in Seattle. Such a project would be of outstanding service to all members of the Society but could not. possibly be effectively created and supported without full cooperation of the entire membership both as individuals and as chapters. Without broad based support, such a foundation could not survive.
Mr. James Quigley of Arthur Young and Company who has done so much for us in the tax field attended the meeting. It seems apparent that the information that is going forward to the chapters was read and understandable since there were reasonably few questions. It was pointed out that it might be desirable for those chapters who are not currently covered by group exemption to make application during the current year. Only twenty-two chapters are currently covered. One of the great advantages in being under the group exemption under paragraph 501- (c) (3) of the I. R. S. Code is the ability of the chapters to accept gifts and donations and provide the donors with a tax-deductible shelter. The same might be true also for those few chapters who are covered individually under this section of the Code.
By this time, all members have received ballots for the nomination of directors to take office July 1. Last year, we did have a far better than normal return. This year I am hoping again that we can evidence our interest and support by returning an even greater number of total votes for the election. This is one of the few ways in which we can effectively gauge the real interest of the membership and what the Society is attempting to accomplish. I know that it means a great deal to all those who have worked so hard over the past two years to communicate more effectively and to know that all of you are interested in seeing the continuing development of a strong national group dedicated to serving the best interest of the Society.