Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
Election Results Are In!
We have lots of good news to report this week. First, the GDUI 2015 election to fill two vacancies on GDUI’s board and to accept the proposed 2015 bylaws ended at 12:59 p.m. last night with great results and – especially for a non-profit organization like GDUI – good voter turn-out statistics as well. We want to welcome Dixie Sanderson and Vickie Curley as the newest elected directors on GDUI’s board. We are so pleased to congratulate you both and to be able to count on your excellent contributions to GDUI during the coming two years. We are proud of the campaign mounted by our three candidates for office.
Everyone achieved great recognition by GDUI’s voters, and the only thing to be a little sad about is that all three candidates couldn’t have squeezed into the two available board seats. Ken, we so appreciate all that you do for GDUI as a member of several committees and a hard-working moderator for several of our e-mail discussion lists. There will be new opportunities to run for national office in GDUI in coming years, and we hope to see you on our ballot again!
Our proposed bylaws for 2015 were adopted by a resounding margin, and we are proud to say that our newly revised constitution has strengthened GDUI’s democracy, recognized the importance of our GDUI affiliates, further empowered our members, and now conforms seamlessly with the DC Not-for-Profit Code. I want to thank all the members of GDUI’s Constitution and Bylaws Committee who spent many hours preparing these excellent bylaws to assure their conformance with requirements in the DC Code and with the principles that have always governed our member-driven organization, as well as participating on our GDUI-Bylaws discussion list, and answering members questions and providing easy to understand information during our two GDUI Candidates’ Forums. Maria Hansen, John McCann, Ellen Telkor, Lynn Merrill, and Rick Roderick, a simple thank you hardly seems enough, but we all mean it, sincerely, from our hearts.
The other very heartening aspect of our 2015 election was the successful implementation of an even more universally accessible voting system, provided by VoteNow!, http://www.vote-now.com/. James Claiborne who managed GDUI’s election and account for the company went further above and beyond the call of duty than we have ever known any contractor to do, and we are so grateful. James and his colleagues at VoteNow! spent a great deal of time making sure that the telephonic and online ballot were exact matches for our needs (and those of the DC Code – providing an ability to abstain, for example), and James was on the telephonic scene late into the nights during both of the week ends during which voting was open. He solved problems for voters and made sure that anyone who contacted us, and thus the company, to report a difficulty could cast his or her votes. Many of you shared very positive comments on our online ballot, on lists and via telephone, and we are extremely pleased with the services that VoteNow! provided. We are hopeful that other ACB affiliates, and eventually the American Council of the Blind itself, will follow our lead and make universally accessible voting available for all members.
And, thank you, Will, for finding us such an excellent company to conduct our 2015 election!
I want to share one more thank you to all of you who participated in our election as voters. I can remember years when GDUI’s board worried if we would even make our quorum requirement of 15 percent. Last week, voter turn out was at 40.7% of 472 total members eligible to vote as of the record date. If you were one of those who voted in our 2015 election, please pat yourself on the back, and thank you.
Number of Guide Dog School Surveys Online Increases!
Dixie Sanderson, who took on the responsibility for creating our survey forms, retrieving the information from the guide dog schools, and compiling the information, reported last week that three more schools have submitted completed surveys. Dixie and Will and our web master, Ted Rodifer, were able to add the three newly completed surveys to our online collection in record time. Thank you, everyone.
If you are wondering which guide dog training program might be the best match for your individual needs, our guide dog schools surveys will make your comparison a lot easier than otherwise might be the case. If you are wrestling with such a decision or know others who are, please don’t hesitate to refer them to this valuable resource at http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/gdui-school-survey/.
Summer PawTracks to Arrive in Your In Boxes Tomorrow!
When I spoke with Nolan earlier today, he told me that – barring unforeseen complications (which as all of us who use computers understand can certainly occur), PawTracks should arrive in your e-mail in-boxes by tomorrow evening. This issue will be filled with all kinds of information about our coming Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs GDUI Convention, which will be held in Dallas, TX, at the downtown Sheraton hotel July 5-8. If you’re planning to come, we know you won’t want to miss this issue of PawTracks.
Final Date to Share Your Gratitude with Your Guide Dog School is Just Around the Corner!
As dog guide users, we all know how important our schools’ investments in personnel, breeding and acquisition of dogs, training time, and money are for creating excellent matches for each of us. Because they pour so much time and energy and so many dollars into our partnerships, and for many other reasons as well, we in GDUI want to recognize and thank all of the guide dog schools. As our way of saying thanks, The 2015 GDUI Program Committee is pleased to host our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception, which will be held on Monday evening, July 6, at the ACB/GDUI conference and convention in Dallas, TX. To honor our schools and those who will be representing them at our convention, we are preparing a tribute booklet, which will be presented as a keepsake to all the trainers and staff-persons representing our schools who attend. The tribute booklet provides a tangible way to thank our schools for the guide dogs who mean so much to us. We want to convey, from deep in our hearts, a respectful regard that resides within the heart of every dog guide partnership.
Even if you are not planning to attend the convention, you can participate in this special Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception as a sponsor of the Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs tribute booklet.
We are offering three sponsorship levels. We hope one of the following levels will appeal to you.
Silver Sponsorship – $10
As a Silver-level sponsor, your name, your dog’s name, and the name of your school will be listed in the tribute booklet.
Gold sponsorship – $25
As a Gold-level sponsor, your name, your dog’s name and the name of your school will be listed in the booklet. You will also be able to include a brief message of no more than 35 characters.
Platinum sponsorship – $50
As a Platinum-level Sponsor, your name, your dog’s name and the name of your school will be listed prominently in the booklet. You will also be able to include a personalized message of no more than 70 characters.
The deadline for sharing your information and your chosen level of sponsorship is June 12, 2015.
There are several ways to share your information and your sponsoring contribution with us: You can send us your name, the name of your dog and school, along with your chosen message(s) via regular postal mail with payment by check, via our web site with a PayPal payment option at this page, http://guidedogusersinc.org/2015-convention/guide-dog-school-reception-sponsorship/,
or via phone.
To pay by credit card via phone, contact Jane Sheehan at [toll-free]:866.799.8436.
To pay by check via mail, make checks payable to GDUI. Be sure to include a clear print or Braille copy of the message you want us to include. Mail to: GDUI, c/o Office Manager, 14311 Astrodome Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20906.
Sponsorships postmarked later than the deadline date of June 12cannot be included. Please note, messages should not contain the name(s) of specific individuals associated with your guide dog school. We will do our best to keep the messages as close to the original as possible, however, we reserve the right to make final editorial decisions.
Until next week, thank you all for your friendship and support.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
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For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646.653.1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.
We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.