Weekly Update 4/8/2022: It is always a great day when we can share good news with our members. Since I have two pieces of very positive news to share, I suppose it makes today exceptionally good!
For starters, our in-person AREA MEETINGS ARE BACK! After not having held an area meeting since early March 2020, we are thrilled to announce that we will hold our North Shore Area Meeting at the Peabody Marriott on Friday, May 6, 2022, at 11AM.
If you are a newer member, then you may not know that pre-pandemic we held as many as 12 area meetings across Massachusetts each year. Attendance ranges from 125 to over 500 members at our Annual Meeting in September – which is scheduled for Friday, September 9, 2022, at Lombardo’s in Randolph.
An important note: We will continue to hold virtual Tele-Town Hall meetings indefinitely. These meetings have proven to be very popular amongst our members and grants everyone equal access to fully participate, regardless of where you may live or your ability to physically attend a meeting.
The second piece of good news is something that I am extremely excited about. It has been a long-term idea that began more than a decade ago, which we believe will become a major asset for our members.
Mass Retirees has created and is about to launch a new nonprofit foundation. The Mass Retirees Foundation for Retirement Policy and Education is a 501(c)(3) that will operate under the umbrella of our Association, but as a separate standalone legal entity.
As the Foundation’s name suggests, its purpose is to conduct research specific to public retirement – be it related to pensions, retiree health insurance and healthcare policy, Social Security, and Medicare to name just a few examples. Our defined benefit pension plans could be an additional focus.
While there are other research organizations focused on retirement issues operating within Massachusetts, none have a specific focus on public retirement. In fact, we believe that the Mass Retirees Foundation might be the first of its kind in the country.
Since we just recently received IRS and state approval to move forward, the Foundation’s operational details remain a work in progress. However, our goal is to be able to identify 1-2 research projects that can be launched in 2022. Perhaps one project that is pension related and one that is health insurance focused. Our goal is to fund the research and educational outreach through grants and tax-deductible donations, one of the key factors that led us to create a 501(c)(3).
To kick things off, the Foundation’s board is comprised of Frank Valeri, Joe Connarton and myself, with me serving as president. In the coming months we will add additional board members, with a focus on building a diverse board with experience in formulating public policy and/or major fundraising.
The overarching goal behind this new entity is to conduct fact-based creditable research to help support public retirees, as well as the overall public retirement and public service community. For far too long organizations such as the Pioneer Institute, Mass Taxpayers Foundation, and the Mass Fiscal Alliance have served to undermine public retirement policy with questionable studies and inaccurate reports. The Mass Retirees Foundation will serve as a creditable counterweight to these organizations.
Today’s announcement is just the very beginning of the process of building the Mass Retirees Foundation from the ground up. We will be sharing further details with you in the weeks and months ahead.