Dear Shoaler:

As luck would have it the Board of Directors had scheduled its annual Island retreat for Thursday, Friday and Saturday (today) of this week. It was a vital time for us all to be together in that place with time to do our business. Let me bring you up-to-date on that meeting.

After a lengthy update from Amy that reassured us that everything was being done to make the Island safe for you, we spent a morning with our fire safety consultant, Nick Cricenti of SFC and our corporation attorney, Tony Delyani. That discussion included all the possible solutions we could imagine. It finally focused on the advisability of making plans that would enable us to open the Hotel as soon as we get the green light from the Rye Fire Chief. We analyzed our loss of income and our additional expenses. We decided the best course was to follow the firm advice of our consultants and devote all our efforts to re-opening the Island to conferees in early August. This is clearly the best possible out come for you who still have a conference to attend (and we will be sure all the beds are filled with those of you who missed your conference are able to join us in August). It is also the best possible solution for us as a Corporation. To do otherwise would be catastrophic, indeed.

That has allowed us to keep the Pelicans employed on the Island, as Amy has informed you. Some of them will be involved in adding the path of the electrical consultants as they track the wiring through out the Island. Others will be fire safety work. And still others will attack the substantial backlog of non-technical maintenance work left over from former years. They are allowed to stay because of the training in fire safety and evacuation.

The Board spent considerable time determining the financial ramifications of the crisis we are experiencing. The decrease in income and increase in accumulated expenses to make our Island safe forces us to ask the Trustees of the Star Island Permanent Trust Fund, who have responsibility for the management and usage of our endowment, for a loan of $1.5 million dollars to see us through the remainder of this year.

Our plan to proceed is predicated on your concern for Star Island being translated into continuing, and, where possible, expanding your support of the Star Island Annual Fund. The Board of Directors, before it left the Island, indicated its commitment by pledging a substantial increase in its personal giving. We are at a serious crossroad and call upon all who have enjoyed Star Island’s unique experience to give more generously than ever.

You, as well as we, wish to be assured that we have learned the serious lessons this crisis imparts. We have established a broad-based committee to review what happened and recommend changes in Board policy and practice and in staffing needs. I am contacting individuals this evening who we have indentified have the skill and abilities which we think will make them particularly valuable participants in this effort. Once the group is in place, we will let you know their names, how to contact them, and the processes for their work so that you stay informed on this front.

We are clear that there is no one thing that caused this circumstance. It is the cascading effect of a number of things. We will be deliberate and thorough in working to understand what they were and rebuild our structure to prevent this from ever happening again.

We know the value of communication. We believe that you are as thirsty for it as we are. We understand the importance of it in keeping us united in our effort to preserve and maintain our beloved Island, particularly when we do not have the experience of gathering together for a week. The Board also worked on a communication plan and committed ourselves to doing all we can to keep you in touch with what is happening. I am sure it feels to many of you that we are holding back and not doing our part in communicating with you. I cannot argue with that feeling. But I can affirm our intention to keep you up to date as best we can in the coming days. It is very much in our interest as well as yours.

Speaking of communication, I want to add my voice to that of Amy’s in recognizing your pain and disappointment and in requesting thoughtful and appropriate discourse in your conversations with our staff. I had no idea how much time they are spending on helping us cope with this crisis until I was on the Island. They deserve your forbearance and courtesy. Thank you for your part in making that the way that we all treat each other.

We have always taken the threat of fire at Star Island very seriously. Nonetheless, the Board reaffirmed its commitment to making Star Island as safe a place to live and enjoy as we possibly can.

And finally, the Board took note that our Executive Director has done an outstanding job in managing and leading us through this crisis, a crisis with its origin long before her arrival among us. I cannot think of any Executive Director I have worked with in 40 years of non-profit experience who could have done a better job. Together, Amy and her staff, the Board, the Pelicans and all of us, will assure our ability to return to our spirit’s home on Star Island.

In the spirit of the Island,
Brad Greeley

PS: Let me also say that our finances will benefit from the generosity of donations in memory of beloved individuals, or other sizeable gifts, to our Permanent Trust. That income, protected in perpetuity, keeps on giving in the form of annual grants to Star Island.

In whatever way your may help our beloved island, we are grateful for your generosity and your faith in us.

Brian Winters
Development Associate
Star Island Corporation
10 Vaughan Mall, Suite 8, Worth Plaza * Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 430-6272 * bwinters@starisland.org * www.starisland.org