Initiation fee and annual dues are purposely low to encourage membership. These funds provide a “base line” operating income but won’t necessarily cover all the support activities of the Club. Regular and voluntary donations often provide the majority of Club funds. We think this an appropriate way to raise money because it allows members to decide for themselves what their level of support will be and it can flex with the needs of Club members.
So, we encourage voluntary and regular donations in addition to annual dues.
Uses Of Club Funds:
- Food, drinks and venue charges for annual crew and family gathering. This is a social function we provide for the crew when we visit. Everyone associated with the crew is invited. Venue and food can change with the season and the boat’s schedule. We will usually set up games (volley ball, bags, ets.) to encourage interaction and also activities for the kids like a bounce house. We try not to create a lot of work for the crew so we will, at times, incur venue charges. This is an activity that helps crew members and families connect with each other and helps Club members engage with the crew.
- Presents for children of the crew. Working with the FRG (Family Readiness Group) before the visit, we will purchase toys for the kids at the base exchange. We are limited by Navy policy to $20/gift so utilizing the FRG’s access to the Exchange allows us to purchase favorably and maximize the impact of our purchases. The gifts are gender and age specific, we have a good idea from the Mom’s what each child wants.
- Regular contributions to the FRG (Family Readiness Group). The FRG is an official, command-sponsored organization of family members, volunteers, and sailors belonging to The ILLINOIS, that work together to provide an avenue of mutual support and assistance, and a network of communications among the family members, the chain of command, and community resources. The FRG is especially valuable to families when the boat is at sea.
- Expenses for Navy guest speakers at quarterly luncheons. We often provide air fare reimbursement and, room and meals at the Union League Club. Whenever possible we try to “piggy back” off other official Navy business our speakers might have to reduce our obligation in this regard.
- Travel, room and board for crew members to visit the State for various events. When the schedule allows we will bring sailors to the State for a civic event or a reward. We will regularly bring new Culinary Specialists to the Union League Club to work with their Chefs for professional training. This is well liked by the crew and the ULCC.
- One-Time-Only type expense to address special crew and family needs. We have a close relationship with the FRG and Command, and when we become aware of a special, OTO need where we can help within the bounds of Navy regulations, we do so. We have provided assistance in cases of hardship and bereavement.
- Website Operation. The Club has taken on the expense of developing and maintaining an internet website. This was done to manage communication with Club members less expensively than hiring clerical support. The site development is done by professionals and the content and updating are provided by Club volunteers.
- Administrative and miscellaneous expenses for Club operation; i.e. postage, printing, mileage, etc. It is a volunteer organization but we reimburse members who incur approved expenses while helping the Club carry out its mission.
When the Club visits the boat, members who participate do so at their own expense. These expenses are not provided for nor reimbursed by the 786 Club. Some of these expenses are tax deductible.
The 786 Club is a civilian, all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization, with the vision to create, “A Lifetime Alliance Between Crew and Citizen”. Membership is open to anyone interested in showing support and appreciation to the sailors and families serving on the USS ILLINOIS. The Club provides a unique way to have a personal experience with the officers, sailors and families who protect our way of life.
The Club is managed by a set of By-Laws. An elected 5 member board of directors provides oversight to a 5 member team of Club Officers who serve at the pleasure of the Board. There are no paid positions in the Club, all monies raised are used to benefit the crew and families and to cover the expenses of operating the Club.
The 786 Club’s legal address is that of the Union League Club of Chicago which generously provides venues for meetings as well as a variety of connections to important organizations, activities and people state wide. The Union League Club of Chicago has a long history of military support and formed the Armed Forces Council of Chicago in the 1980s as the 721 (USS CHICAGO) and 502 (502nd Infantry and 101st Airborne) volunteer organizations started. The Armed Forces Council provides a 501(c)(3) umbrella under which to operate. The 786 Club has joined the 721 and 502 as part of the Armed Forces Council and the Union League Club of Chicago.