2020-11 From the President: PDGR funding effort is underway

Greetings, I hope you are safe and well.

Our October UMRA Forum with Dr. Josie Johnson, recipient of a Professional Development Grant for Retirees (PDGR) award, was both inspiring and enlightening. The conversation addressed social injustice and systemic racism and our need to be engaged in the conversation. I urge all to read her book, Hope in the Struggle: A Memoir.

Speaking of the PDGR program, our crowdfunding effort to raise funding for 2021–22 is underway. Please visit our crowdfunding page and make a gift to support the grant program. Your gift will be matched thanks to two generous donors, both members of UMRA. If you contribute by credit card via the website, your gift will be added to the “real time” tally. If you donate by another means, it will take longer to show up on the display.

Our monthly programs—UMRA A.M., Living Well Workshop, and UMRA Forum—now via Zoom, continue to be well attended. Given the University’s fiscal challenges, the Office of Information Technology will start charging UMRA in December for the OIT services that are making these events run smoothly. In the meantime, UMRA is wrestling with how to continue financing these programs and has started an effort to identify UMRA volunteers who may be interested in mastering the technical aspects of Zoom to support the production of these monthly events.

Your leadership team has updated the UMRA Bylaws, and the Executive Committee and Board have approved them. The UMRA Operating Manual has been updated to reflect these changes and current practice. Both will be placed on the UMRA website.

The University’s multi-year Driven campaign is approaching completion. UMRA, collectively, is a major donor to this campaign. Your gifts to the PDGR crowdfunding effort will be counted toward UMRA’s giving to the University’s campaign. Representatives from the University of Minnesota Foundation will be reviewing the campaign with the UMRA Board at its November meeting.

As you all know, the general election is on November 3. I trust you will express your preferences either in person or by mail. The guest speaker for our November 24 Forum will be Dr. Kathryn Pearson from the Department of Political Science. She will present her analysis of the election and answer our questions.

Stay safe and well, and let the leadership know your recommendations for the continued vitality of UMRA.

—Frank Cerra, UMRA president