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Leaving 2016 on a High Note…

In my final post for 2016, I want to highlight the incredible value fraternals bring to communities in the United States and Canada every single day.  It’s this value – and these values – that make the Alliance’s advocacy, education, information, and networking efforts to foster a bright future for the fraternal model all worthwhile.  On behalf of the Alliance staff, thank you for allowing us to lead and serve you for another year.


  • Recent posts have promoted Alliance member contributions to the new Smithsonian Museum exhibit on “Giving in America” and the pending merger of Catholic Financial Life and Degree of Honor (DOH).  And while those items may seem wildly disconnected, this link ties them both together.  The DOH museum, driven largely by the efforts of Nikki Spencer, the society’s marketing assistant, depicts the history of fraternalism, DOH’s story as the nation’s oldest female society, the lodge system, the youth movement, and more.  Most importantly, it’s DOH’s own private Smithsonian, assuring that the society’s groundbreaking contributions to the fraternal system will never be forgotten.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  This could be a great model for many other societies to follow, as it allows you to communicate your organizations’ incredible histories to your members in a compelling and cost effective way.emba
  • Employes’ Mutual Benefit Association (EMBA) may very well be the Alliance’s smallest member society in financial terms.  But that doesn’t mean that your society can’t make incredible contributions to the communities in which their members live and work.  Take a look at this story about the society’s initiative to provide a service dog to a returning veteran suffering from PTSD and tell me that the fraternal model – and the tax exemption that allows it to exist – doesn’t provide incalculable (and often overlooked) value to people who need it most.  Thanks to EMBA Secretary Joe Kopinski for sharing this article with us.  As he noted in his email to me, “This is a highlight of my 34 years with EMBA.”  We couldn’t agree more.holiday-chocolate
  • Several years ago during an Alliance Annual Meeting I made a remark in passing about my staff’s love of chocolate.  Whenever we interview candidates for open positions on the staff – even temporary ones – we make sure that they share the same passion for the cocoa bean that the rest of us do.  Most candidates think this is a joke.  I assure you, it isn’t.  Every Christmas since I made those remarks we are literally flooded with gifts of chocolate from our members.  And let me tell you that each and every delicious piece of Godiva, See’s, and the wonderful local chocolatiers from our members’ home towns is thoroughly enjoyed.  Yes, our combined cholesterol now tops 4,000.  And, yes, our waistlines have all expanded a bit in December. But we really, really, REALLY appreciate all the thoughtful tokens of your generosity and support for what we do.  Here’s wishing you a joyous and peaceful Christmas and an innovative and prosperous New Year.

Best regards…jja

One Response

  1. Heartwarming service dog story! Stryker is a handsome fella. Dogs like him cost several thousand to train, so thank you EMBA!

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