December Executive Board Week: Festive AND Productive

Written by: Denise Doring VanBuren, President General
December 17, 2019

Wow! What an enjoyable and productive week of Executive meetings at our National Headquarters this week!

A primary highlight, of course, was our 18th annual DAR Christmas Open House, as we threw open wide the 17th Street doors and invited more than 1,000 visitors into the beautiful Pennsylvania Foyer, which was adorned with a magnificent patriotic Christmas tree that saluted our nation’s military.  Visitors and carolers alike strolled throughout the building, visiting our DAR Museum Period Rooms and Gallery, the Americana Collection, the DAR Library and other attractions. Of course, the big draw was the festive O’Byrne Gallery, where Santa Claus himself welcomed those on the nice list (….and counseled those who may fear they could be on the naughty list this year). Dozens of volunteers created all of this holiday magic, including those who served cookies and hot chocolate, accompanied by a warm smile and hearty best wishes for the season. I am so proud to report that we also collected more than 500 books that will be delivered to Walter Reed Medical Center for distribution to military families.

View photos from the 18th annual DAR Christmas Open House here!

Visitors marveled at not only the stunning architecture of our buildings but also the splendid decorations that were so carefully planned and created by the giving and talented members of our Property Beautification and Hospitality Committee – and judging from this year’s décor, no title could be more appropriate for this group of dedicated women. I thank them for the glorious holiday season that they staged at our national headquarters – it was truly beautiful and hospitable to behold.

Check out our Board Week slideshow here

During the week, we attended the U.S. Army Band’s All American Holiday Concert in DAR Constitution Hall and your Executive team also had the pleasure of touring the White House Christmas decorations and the U.S. Capitol building. On Wednesday, we were treated to Treasurer General Dawn Lemongello’s delightful “Sunshine Luncheon,” Thursday brought our team’s inaugural “Yankee Doodle” gift swap and Friday featured the annual Employee Holiday Party to thank our hard-working staff for a remarkable year of accomplishment.

Amidst all these wonderful (and delicious!) experiences, we also deliberated plenty of important business. Several highlights of the many resulting motions included:

  • Distribution of the third-quarter allocations of the Ella Atwell Fund that benefit the Kate Duncan Smith DAR School, Crossnore School & Children’s Home and Tamassee DAR School.
  • Approval of various operational and governance policies regarding the DAR Insignia Store operation, which is on schedule to open for business at Congress 2020.
  • Authorization to create a new non-competitive “Historic Preservation Certificate” that can be presented to recognize outstanding excellence in preserving local history, e.g. the local family that saves/preserves an historic home, the community business that converts a landmark building through adaptive reuse into its headquarters, volunteers who preserve documents or clean cemeteries, etc.
  • Launch of “DAR Constitution Hall: The Next Act,” through the adoption of more than 1,400 seats as part of our Giving Tuesday campaign – nearly fifty percent more than our goal of 1,000 such adoptions!
  • Review and approval of an updated Employee Policy Manual.
  • Creation of a new chapter-level NSDAR Literacy Champion Award certificate to be presented to recognize outstanding service to promoting literacy.

Throughout the week, we marveled again and again at the beauty of our buildings, the dedication of both staff and volunteers, and the impact that DAR makes around the world. Thank you, ladies, for affording us the privilege of leadership in our National Society. You inspire us to bring our very best to our important responsibilities, and we are grateful for your confidence.

2020: here we come!

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