President's Message

Greetings fellow members:
As I write this, it is mid-October.  Here in Michigan, the leaves are turning, the skies are blue and the air is crisp.  We know that winter is approaching and that sadly it is time to begin the process of getting our cars ready for winter.  It has been a good “touring season”, however, particularly for Dodge Brothers, with the various events celebrating the 100th anniversary.  I hope that you had an opportunity to participate in at least one of the celebrations.
I want to use this space to inform you of some important club related matters that are transpiring.  The DBC Board of Directors met on October 9, at Hershey, PA and discussed a variety of issues.  Here is a summary:
1) Report of the budget committee.  As mentioned in the Oct/Nov magazine a committee was formed to examine the creation of a budget for the club’s operations.  That committee (Dick Perry, Rodger Hartley and Phil Kennedy) reported their findings and recommendations, which were unanimously approved by the board.  A budget template has been created which clearly defines various categories of income and expenditures.  This will provide a guide for keeping the club’s finances in order and will make it easy to see trends and identify trouble spots before they become serious problems.  A permanent budget standing committee will be maintained, consisting of a chairperson appointed by the President and two members chosen by the chairperson.  Committee membership will be one year renewable terms. Dick Perry has agreed to chair the committee for a second year and will be seeking two additional members.  If he calls on you, please say ‘yes’.
2) Review of the club bylaws.  Also under the guidance of VP Dick Perry the Board began a review of the club’s bylaws, something that has not been done since 2008.  While it does not appear that any major revisions are needed, there are several areas that warrant clarification.  The Board decided to take some more time to study the bylaws and will resume discussion in the weeks ahead.  Once the board agrees on any changes they will be presented to you, the members, for your approval.
3) It is time for a new roster.  The Board approved publication of a new roster.  Elsewhere in this issue you will find a postcard to mail to our membership director, Les Hoffmann, if anything has changed in your contact information since the 2011 roster.  This is the only notice you will have so please do it today!  The deadline for submitting changes is January 31, 2015.
4) It is time to update our Directory of Vendors.  If you have had particularly good results from a vendor, please let us know.  Conversely, if you have experienced a problem with a vendor, let us know that also.  Please be very specific in your complaint.  If we find several members having trouble with a vendor we will drop them from our list.  Send vendor information to Past President Joe Cozza.  His contact information is on the inside of the front cover.
Finally, I want to clarify some things about the club’s efforts to establish a Dodge Brothers museum.  If you attended the Centennial Tour in June, you had an opportunity to view the initial attempt at a museum on the grounds of Meadow Brook Hall.  In the Family Garage there is an exhibit highlighting the business ventures of John and Horace Dodge, while in Danny’s Cabin there is a display focusing on their
personal lives.  These displays were created by the staff of Meadow Brook Hall with assistance from several outside groups, including the loan of several artifacts by DBC members.  Since the Centennial Tour, I have received several emails expressing concern and misinformation about our club’s involvement in a museum.  So let me try and clarify what I believe our role should be in establishing a Dodge Brothers Museum.  
First of all, it is a Dodge Brothers Museum, NOT a Dodge Brothers Club Museum and no money from the club’s general fund, including member dues, will be used to fund the museum. In June, the Board of Directors voted to begin a fund raising campaign in support of the museum.  We set a lofty goal of $500,000 and will solicit donations from club members as well as from individuals and entities outside of the club.  All money raised will be placed in a “Museum Fund” for the express purpose of supporting the establishment of a permanent museum on the grounds of Meadow Brook Hall.  Museum funds might be used for such purposes as purchasing artifacts, building or renovating a display, supporting an educational project related to the Dodge Brothers or establishing a Dodge Brothers research library.  Meadow Brook Hall currently owns or has on loan six DB/GB vehicles that will require maintenance from time to time.  As you will see in the financial statement elsewhere in this issue, there is currently about $31,000 in the Museum Fund.  The Museum Fund has been in place for several years and a few of our members have already made significant contributions to it.  Some of the things we have used “museum fund” money for in the past are: 1) state historical markers in Niles, MI (birthplace of John and Horace) and Hamtramck, MI (site of Dodge Main); 2)  funding the restoration of a window at the Ford Piquette Ave Plant in Detroit, MI where the brothers supplied most of the mechanical parts to Ford cars between 1904 and 1910; 3) helped fund the publishing and printing of a new (2014) booklet by Dr. Charles K. Hyde, “The Dodge Brothers, Detroit’s Automotive Geniuses”;  4)  made a modest donation to the Kokomo Automotive Museum in Kokomo, IN as a thank you for storing and displaying the club’s 1919 Graham Brothers Truck for 8 years.
To summarize, as a club we are not making a commitment that will put us in over our heads or jeopardize the financial well-being of our club.  We think that a permanent exhibit exulting the lives and work of John and Horace Dodge is long overdue and we hope that every DBC member will contribute, in some way, to this important task.  We have an excellent opportunity with existing infrastructure at Meadow Brook Hall.  What better group of people to support such an effort that the members of the Dodge Brothes Club