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WAPPS announces a Member Memorial Fund

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  • WAPPS announces a Member Memorial Fund

    After our industry lost our wonderful Audrey, I was left thinking quite a bit about all of the groomers that I have come to know; all of their individual stories and lives, all of the hard working groomers who do the best they can every day, and also of their families and their businesses- myself included.
    I got a quite a few emails suggesting that we get together and put an effort into creating a national support fund or savings fund to be somehow put into place for groomers to have in the event of their death to help their surviving families. A sad and scary thought, but still, one that is the possible reality that we all should think about and prepare for.
    So, in effort to somehow try to put something into place, and since I cannot fathom all of the work and responsibility it would take to get people to work together to put into place a nationally based fund, I decided to set up this (savings) Memorial Account for all active WAPPS members.
    What I have done is to set up an specifically designated account where one third of all the pledging WAPPS members' membership fees will be put in at the time that they either sign up or renew their membership. So, those who are recurring members will make an annual pledge each time they renew, and new members will automatically have this as part of their membership fee allocation. There are no additional fees for members, and to keep it simple, I will only be taking the set amount out equally from each member.
    Our annual dues are already very low, I do all of the website and all related class hosting and meeting efforts to keep it simple and keep things done on time and with less cost, other than the cost of my time, which I gladly give anyway! So to offset the production costs of producing membership benefits and things like our certificates and hosted classes and seminars, I worked with a wonderful member from several states away who we have on our roster, and who is incredibly knowledgeable and talented in her ability to address "PR" and effectual promoting of businesses (you know who you are and you are GREAT!!). She came up with ways to still get members all of their extras, benefits and small details for groomers that I have always wanted to offer and felt would be appreciated and helpful for all who join. All the while still bringing down costs, lessening our eco-footprint (from things like paper newsletters and educational articles and turning them into email form), and allowing for me to actually be able to put more of our non-profit membership dues into action towards things like more hands on classes and seminars and efforts like this.
    We already still pledge a percentage of our annual WAPPS dues and my sales for the Canine Spa Therapies products towards combative efforts such as Gilda's Club and the National Arthritis Foundation- things that affect all men and women, and take their toll on our industry each year. But, with consideration to the bigger picture and helping all members equally in the event that they or their families genuinely need the extra help, I feel great about putting this idea into action.
    As President and Founder of the WAPPS, I elected to not be eligible for the program, but I myself have full health benefits and extra insurance in place, and the idea was for those who might not be so fortunate to have a little extra help if needed, as well as their families who often suffer many setbacks after losing a loved one that relate to the financial burdens left behind.
    The program is quite simple- the funds accrue by simple deposit by me each time a new member enrolls. Payment of the program benefits would work by petition, where a member's family and/or friends can alert us to their situation, and then submit an application that explains the situation and requests to be considered for the payment of benefits. Of course this application is reviewed by our governing officers and looked at in depth for decision, and if everything checks out, the entire sum of the account thus far is paid to the member's surviving family members or into their business for sustain- it would be up to the petitioner individually. Since it may at one time be a higher or lower level of accumulated funds depending on how many members have joined or if the program was recently utilized by another member, the program may benefit one more than someone else, but it will still be something extra for them that is put in for all in good faith that at least something will be there if we might need it. I will also issue a mass member announcement email such as the ones that some of us have gotten from time to time when one of our peers could use our help and support, with a secured Paypal account for anyone wishing to make an additional donation if they so choose- but that will be entirely elective per individual. There is no liable for myself or officers as the program stands alone with no pledge from myself or our officers, so it is pretty simple and fail safe.
    So, with this in place, if other state or regional or even national Orgs. solidly decide to do this for their membership rosters, (keeping it simple and equal for all members makes it actually quite easy to oversee and keep one's arms around) it could grow into something quite great for all groomers who care enough to be active members in local progressive support systems for our industry as a whole. And since our roster grew to over 400 members from not just the the Midwest and then the continental US, but into other countries as well last year (I am so proud of that! ), the benefit plan being put into place for this calendar year (-started this pro-rated back to January 1st.) might just do something great for someone in genuine need.
    So, there you have it, my latest big idea. Love to hear any concerns or questions anyone would have. Again, there might always be someone who tries to take advantage of the system, but with all of our officers looking at the member's situation, and checking what proof of need we are granted, it should be easy to find that dishonesty. And honestly, if someone lied about being deceased,,I would leave that awfulness on their shoulders...
    Now, the only thing that I am concerned with is having this in place for members overseas-- do you think perhaps we should have this program across the board for all, or disclosed in the membership benefits statement as for those only in the continental US? We certainly still have plenty of benefits for members even aside from this program to make it worth while for all. Please give me your feedback!
    Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt