Greetings. Ben Costello, President of the Society here. 2022 was a banner year for the Society. There were many changes and accomplishments.
We started 2022 on January 1 as a new 501 c (3) non-profit. Prior to this change, we operated as a for-profit LLC incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Once we gained 501 c (3) status we reorganized. We created a new Board of Directors along with a separate Advisory Board. This arrangement has served us well.
Our website administrator Craig Grella (who also sits on our Board of Directors) has extensive experience with non-profits. This experience has proved invaluable. With his help, and with some adjustments to the website, our viewership has increased to the highest level we have ever experienced, even before our non-profit status. Also, we gained 41 new members since January 1, 2022. We started last January with 135 members. We now have 176 members. Craig will be filing his report soon and will explain the particulars of our year as a functioning website. He will also be making some suggestions that will be the subject of our next Board meeting.
In addition to our increase in membership and website traffic, we also had two very special accomplishments. First, we published the second volume of our ongoing Treasure of the Month series, Treasures of a Lost Fleet II. You can read about it here (December 4), here (November 20), here (October 7), here (September 22), and here (September 11). This was a year-long process that took the help and cooperation of a number of people to complete. We are very pleased and proud of this publication and so far it has been favorably accepted. Our second big accomplishment was a highly successful and well-attended conference held in Vero Beach from October 30 – November 1, 2022. View 2022 Vero Beach Conference pictures here. Read the 2022 Vero Beach Conference & Meeting Notes here and the Wrap-Up here.
As we head into the new year we are very encouraged by the success of the Society with its new non-profit status. Our goal for 2023 is to gain greater exposure through the careful use of social media and to begin the grant writing process. We are confident that our requests for grants to continue our archival research and educational programming will be met with a favorable response. Time will tell, but we enter the year with a positive and optimistic outlook. We continue looking for better ways to engage our members and to make sure that the Society continues long after we, the current leaders, are gone.
President, 1715 Fleet Society