After thoughtful consideration of all contributing factors, it is with much sadness that we announce that the Parent Chapter of the Grumman – Northrop Grumman Retiree Club will be closing at the end of this year.
Since 1967, the Club has worked tirelessly to ensure that our great company legacy and culture are preserved and honored through educational, philanthropic and social activities. Your generous donations to our Charitable Giving Fund have enabled the Club to support numerous national and local charities. And, your continuing and generous donations to the Scholarship Fund have made possible 197 scholarship awards, totaling $389,000, to children and grandchildren of members across all chapters.
As the Club thrived, the membership and the number of regional chapters grew. For example, at our 40th anniversary (2007), membership was 5300, with 23 chapters in 13 states. Present day membership stands at 1105, in only nine chapters including Bethpage Parent Chapter. This drop in membership is primarily due to the fact that the pool of potential new enrollees has dried up. Sadly, the passage of time and the aging of members has led to annual attrition by virtue of member passings. Attrition accounts for reductions of membership averaging 10% annually over the last few years. Moreover, as the average age of the membership goes ever higher, the attrition rate will inevitably increase as well.
The dramatic membership decline has inevitably caused attendance at scheduled events to decrease to the point of cancellation of some events. The Bethpage Chapter has reduced the number of monthly meetings due to lower attendance, which never recovered to pre-COVID levels.
Finally, there is the issue of volunteer workers both at the Officer level and at the hard working, getting things done level. All chapters are suffering from this problem but no more so than at HQ. Our long-serving office staff handling the many administrative tasks that keep our Club “alive” is shrinking, with very few new volunteers stepping forward to replace the few who tirelessly carry the workload of dues collections, database maintenance, financial account maintenance, meeting planning, speaker contact, picnic activities, and caterer coordination, Holiday luncheon planning, and the publishing and distribution of the monthly Newsletter. We are also experiencing a lack of people willing to step up and take over club officer roles. Of course, this is not only here at HQ, but is also the reason many of the smaller chapters have shutdown.
For all the above reasons, it has become apparent that our valued Club, which served retirees well for decades, has a limited future as a viable entity. Your Club’s Officers and Board of Directors have had discussions about how and when it would be appropriate to cease Club operations. At a meeting on April 14, 2022 a motion was made and unanimously passed by the Board to direct the officers to begin the process of planning for the Club’s shutdown. Then, at a Board meeting on February 28, 2023 the Board voted to cease active Club operations at the end of 2023. At that point, the Club’s Scholarship Program will also cease to exist.
Since the Club is incorporated as a Not for Profit 501(c)(3) organization, the legal cessation steps will take the better part of CY 2024 to accomplish. Club dues for 2024 will not be collected. No traditional newsletters with chapter inputs will be printed after the January 2024 issue. We are establishing a committee for a “Sunset” social luncheon event, scheduled for Monday, May 6th, 2024. This event will be much like our 50th-anniversary celebration a few years ago. One or two abridged Newsletters in early 2024 will inform the membership of plans for that event. The Club office will be manned by a limited staff in 2024, and only to support the planning and successful completion of the Sunset Luncheon.
Please note that after the Club’s official closing, individual chapters, other than Bethpage, can continue to meet and operate as they currently do if they so choose. Regular meetings with speakers and donations to charities can continue but without the Not-for-Profit umbrella of the closed Parent Chapter We whole-heartedly thank all of you for your generous past support. Whether it was with monetary donations or by volunteering in the office or at events, we couldn’t have done it without you. We also want to express our utmost appreciation to Northrop Grumman, which has consistently provided the Club with a generous annual stipend since the merger in 1994. And, we thank the Bethpage Federal Credit Union for supporting our Scholarship Program by funding two awards every year.
Please realize this decision was not taken lightly as we all cherish our place in the Grumman family and truly wish we could continue and further enhance our great company’s legacy.
With sincerest appreciation ….
Your Officers & Directors
A Note about the Scholarship Fund
As mentioned in the letter above, the Scholarship Program will officially cease to exist concurrently with the closing of the Bethpage Chapter. However, the Scholarship Program has already ended all operations, with these two exceptions: The last Scholarship 50/50 will be held at the Bethpage Chapter October luncheon/ meeting; and, a final scholarship award will be made before the end of the year.
This award will be made to the next student in the line of ranking for the 2023 scholarships. The award will consist of donations already received by the Program plus the Program’s share of the final 50/50. It is anticipated that the amount of the award will be considerably less than the $2500 awards made in June.
The winner of this final Scholarship Award, and the winner(s) of the October 50/50, will be announced in a later newsletter.
(Note: The Scholarship Program can no longer accept donations.)