Letter from the Board Chair Sarah Ketterer


Dear LA World Affairs Council Members,

I am pleased to share with you very exciting news about the future of our organization. The Board proposes merging Town Hall Los Angeles into the Council. Under the proposed merger Town Hall Los Angeles will be dissolved and incorporated into LA World Affairs Council and move its offices into our organization.

The benefits of merging Town Hall into the Council are substantial. We are merging from a position of strength and will continue to offer strong international programs and maintain all member benefits. At the same time the scale and scope of the merger will give us the ability to offer a wider variety of programs and organize larger events with highly coveted speakers. We will also expand membership with individuals who share a passion for understanding global trends.

As a current member, the Council mailed you a ballot on May 20, 2019. Your vote on the merger is one of the most important votes that you will cast as a member. We need a majority of members to approve the merger to successfully pass. If we do not have majority support, we will lose the substantial benefits that strategically position us for future growth and carry on our legacy for coming generations.

We have compiled a comprehensive FAQ that you can access below. If you have additional questions, please contact our staff – Alexander, Jessica, or Tracy—who will be more than happy to help. We deeply appreciate your vote in support of the merger as we look toward a new chapter for the Council.

Sincerely,
Sarah Ketterer
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1. Who is entitled to vote?

Each Council Member, irrespective of his or her level of membership, is entitled to vote on the Merger.

The membership must be in good standing as of May 3, 2019 or be within the 60 days grace period if the Member's dues are past due as of such date.

Memberships in the names of two individuals (e.g. spouses) are entitled to one vote.

2. What are the benefits of the merger? What kind of synergies will be created?

We believe that the merger will benefit both organizations as well as our members. The Los Angeles World Affairs Council was founded in 1953 with a mission to help Americans understand the world and the role the U.S. can play. Town Hall was founded in 1937 as a gathering place for individuals who play a key role in effecting change within our communities. The newly formed organization will provide individuals with opportunities to better understand the world we live in. As the line between local, domestic, and global continues to become increasingly blurred, the new organization will be well positioned to tackle the complex, intriguing, and critical issues we as global citizens face today.

As a result of the merger, our organization will have more scope and scale. We will have the ability to offer a wider variety of programs and events, and to organize larger events with highly coveted speakers. Additionally, we will have an expanded and even more diverse membership and audience base, which will enable us to create invaluable opportunities for internal networking within our community. Furthermore, we will have a stronger board of directors, which will add tremendous value to our organization.

Finally, we will be able to offer more programming in different areas of the city, which will enable our members to participate in more events throughout the year.

3. What will the new organization’s focus be?

We will continue to be an open public forum that educates and inspires individuals about the most pertinent topics that face our community. The world today is vastly different from the days when the LAWAC and Town Hall were originally founded. The lines between local, domestic, and global are becoming increasingly blurred. With that in mind, the focus of the new organization will be based on the idea that we should take a more holistic perspective on our community and our world--that local, domestic issues are often ultimately tied to global issues, and vice versa. In an increasingly globalizing economy, it is important to understand the challenges we face at both the micro and macro levels

4. Will LAWAC lessen its focus on World Affairs?

The Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall will continue to provide our membership and the public with global affairs programming. We will not replace any of our events related to global affairs, we will simply be adding more events to our calendar that happen to cover more domestic and local issues.

5. How will the events and programming change?

We will continue to focus on the pertinent issues that have a significant impact on our lives every day. However, the merger will enable the new organization to offer an even richer and more diverse collection of events and programming than before. Our offering will include a wide range of topics that cover local, domestic, and global issues. Moreover, our larger scale and presence will enable us to attract highly coveted speakers from various industries. As a merged entity, we will also be able to spread more of our events across the LA area.

6. Will the membership benefits change?

There will be various additional membership benefits as a result of the merger. As discussed above, members will have access to an even wider range of programs and events, and exposure to highly coveted speakers. We will have events across the LA area so that our members can participate in more of our programming. As an organization with more presence and and scale, we will be able to offer more value to our members.

With that said, the only membership benefit that will be dissolved after the merger is LAWAC members’ ability to vote (this does not apply for Town Hall members, as the ability to vote is not part of their membership). As this is a practice that is fairly antiquated and therefore uncommon today, particularly for an organization of this scale, we believe removing this from our bylaws is the right path into the future. More importantly, we believe that this change will not affect the quality of the organization or our members’ experience. For LAWAC members who have further questions regarding this topic, please feel free to reach out to our office.

7. Will membership dues increase? What will happen to the different membership tiers?

There will be no price increase in membership dues for any membership tier. Currently, LAWAC and Town Hall have different membership tiers and pricing. Our plan is to align the memberships by integrating Town Hall’s membership tiers into LAWAC’s membership tiers. In the case that there are price differences, the membership dues will be pro-rated. For more information about membership tiers.

Membership Integration by Tier

8. When is the merger happening?

We anticipate the merger to happen in July. There will be a transition period as the two organizations go through the process of becoming fused into one new organization.

9. What will be the name of the organization after the merger?

Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall

10. Are there any downsides to the merger?

Both entities came together and agreed to pursue the merger because we collectively believe that this will help us get to the next level. In an increasingly competitive landscape, we want to ensure that we are capturing the attention of the most relevant and inspiring speakers for our members. In reviewing the synergies associated with the merger, it became readily apparent that the membership bases were complementary and included the potential for substantial expansion. We believe that the network effects that come about due to the merging of the bases will guarantee that one plus one is greater than two.

11. Who will lead the merged organization?

The members of the Town Hall Board and the members of the Council Board will become members of the Merged Entity Board and will jointly govern the Merged Entity. For a period of eighteen months, the Merged Entity Board will have two Co-Chairs, one Council designee and one Town Hall designee. During that eighteen month period, the Secretary of the Merged Entity Board will be a member of the former Town Hall Board and the Treasurer of the Merged Entity Board will be a member of the former Council Board.

The current President of Town Hall, Kim McCleary, will become President and CEO of the Merged Entity. Town Hall’s employees as well as all current Council employees will become employees of the Merged Entity.

How to Vote Online

A Ballot has been mailed to all Council members. Members may vote online as an alternative to returning the Ballot by mail or email. The online Ballot is available at:

To access the online Ballot enter your username and password mailed to you with the voting package. For assistance, call the office at (424) 258-6160.

Designated President & CEO
Read Kim McCleary Blue
Biography
Why I'm Voting YES
Read Ted Green
Member of LAWAC and Town Hall
Read Kathryn Barger
Supervisor, County of Los Angeles
Information
Please review the documents below for important information about the vote:
Read Information Statement
Read Merger Agreement
Read Revised Articles of Incorporation
Read Revised Bylaws