At lot has happened since the last newsletter column that I wrote. Council and the Executive Committee with a lot of help from Liz Scott our consultant from Brighter Strategies has progressed nicely on the new SPSSI Strategic Plan. SPSSI president Wendy Williams discussed the new bold ideas for SPSSI at the June conference in Pittsburgh, which was met with great enthusiasm. We all look forward to seeing the draft of the Strategic Plan and having an opportunity to talk more about it before it is finalized. Of course, the strategic planning can only progress as far as SPSSI’s financial situation allows. And I’m happy to say that our financial status remains strong. As I reported at the Summer Council meeting, on January 1, 2018, the market value of SPSSI’s financial portfolio totaled $3,157,824 which included $2,757,490 held in our long-term portfolio investments and $400,334 held in our short-term portfolio, made up of cash and equivalents. At the end of April, our total portfolio equaled $3,121,721, with $2,732,978 in long-term investments (a loss of $25,345 or just under 1%) and $388,743 in short-term investments (a loss of $2,735 or little over ½ of a percentage point). The total portfolio lost $28,080, or .9 of 1 percent (.009). The explanation for our loss was that the market was at an all-time high in mid-January and then dropped substantially in early February, but gained back some of that loss bythe end of April and has steadily continued to gain over the summer months.
It is hard to believe that time has moved by so quickly but Anila Balkissoon just celebrated her one year anniversary as the SPSSI Executive Director. A lot of change has occurred for SPSSI during Anila’s first year, including moving Central Office to a new building, changing SPSSI’s financial managers, and of course the election of a new SPSSI president and the accompanying changes on the SPSSI executive committee and Council. Despite all these changes, Central Office continues to be run efficiently and smoothly. Congratulations to Anila and her staff (Brad Sickels, Cyndi Lucas, Sarah Mancoll and Victor Adebusola) who continue to serve our membership with the highest level of professionalism. As I start my second term as the SPSSI Secretary/Treasurer, I look forward to working with all our Central Office staff for the next several years.
Speaking of Central Office, Council discussed the possibility of renting out some of the space in our new Central Office, sharing the kitchen and conference room with a new tenant. Anila is looking into the technicalities of making this happen. This would allow us to offset some of the costs we incurred in purchasing our new building last year. I will keep updating the membership as we make progress on this important venture.
Finally, I want to comment on the SPSSI Local Policy Initiative which is now in its third year of operation, enacted after I presented a proposal to establish the project at the 2015 Summer Council Meeting. The project funds up to three local-to-state level policy groups to review existing research, conduct additional research as needed and offer the findings to local and state level policy makers to assist them in data driven decision-making. The review committee gives special consideration to groups that involved new PhD’s embarking on careers