Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter JULY 2003

Dear Marina Dock members and patrons alike,
Thank you for your continued support. We have just passed the summer solstice, June 21, the longest day of the year. I always found that description a little puzzling. We all (especially people of our ilk) know that there are 24 hours in everyday. I believe it means the day with the most daylight. After June 21, the daylight time decreases.

Anyway, we are halfway through this year and we are still open for business and carrying the message. I was going through some old papers recently and I found an old periodical from 1988 called "Recovering." It was put together by a group of locals who came up with this idea of a monthly recovery newspaper. It was kind of short-lived but I realized I had kept this particular issue for a reason. Inside there is a feature story on "the man himself" Francis Joseph B. It's too lengthy to include in this newsletter but maybe I will include it as a supplement at a later time. At that time (1988), Frank had 41 years. Here is an excerpt:

Applying the Answers
For 41 years he has been carrying the message on San Francisco's waterfront and beyond.

"Recovery to me means to get well on all levels. Just because I've been sober physically for forty-one years doesn't make me mentally and emotionally sober. I still go through sober insanity and sober confusion and indecision.

I grew up in an orphan home in Syracuse, New York. I had a tough time surviving there. Most of the kids were from broken homes; "misplaced". I was considered born to lose and when I drank it was to make sure I stayed lost. I couldn't stand reality or anything to do with responsibility. I started drinking as an altar boy. We used to steal the priest's wine on the altar and whatever he didn't drink. Of course, he was an alcoholic, too. The priests they sent out to this place were cast-offs who couldn't handle their duties. They were all misfits. And of course, when you are dealing with misfits, all you do is exchange neuroses and sickness. There were 25 nuns. We were rebels. They couldn't handle us. We'd been put there against our wishes.

My parents loved me but they were poor and I had a brother and sister and they couldn't afford to take care of us. I had polio and I was in the hospital for the first year of my life, 1918-1919. The Shriners paid my medical bill. Years later, when I got sober in San Francisco, my sponsor told me to volunteer at the Shriners' Hospital out on 19th Avenue. He said "Do something for somebody who has done for you." So, I volunteered for five years and that helped me deal with the "poor me" persecution complex. After a while I stopped feeling so sorry for myself".

I will be seeing "himself" next week and I am sure he will have some comments on this piece of history.

The Stock market is soaring, but…

We have not seen any real trickle down effect so far in terms of increased donations. Well, at least it is a step in the right direction. However, I must remind our members and patrons we are in survival mode and have been for several months now. I recently posted a number of steps in the social room that I now choose to call. "A Road Map for The Marina Dock's survival."
Something I have learned over the last few years is, in this line of business, you have to develop "the art of asking." It involves persistence, faith and humility. I am actually inspired by our Commander in Chief, G.W.B. I read in the New York Times last week about how successful he's been at raising soft money for his reelection.

The theme, I believe, of his campaign fundraising effort is "ain't too proud to beg". It struck me; here is a guy with an awful lot of power and resources actually admitting he is not above begging. So I thought what the heck! If it works for "The President" why not give it a shot? Perhaps, I am not asking for enough?

Maybe, I should tell people that what we really need is $50,000 (fifty thousand dollars) to pay the rent up front for the next year, which would allow us to pay off some of our other bills every month without being late on our rent. Last month we paid the rent on the 15th.

On Foundations and Donations

You may have read a couple of stories recently. One was about Pipevine, a foundation that disburses funds from donors to their chosen non-profit or charitable trust. Allegedly, for several years now, donated money was used to pay operating expenses like inflated salaries, expensive office suites and other apparently excessive charges, leaving practically nothing for the intended recipient. The other scandal involved an executive of Goodwill who is alleged to have siphoned off millions of dollars over a ten or fifteen year period.

Given this type of alleged skullduggery, it's not surprising that a great many philanthropists are now donating directly to their preferred causes. It makes sense to me. Why would you donate a sizable amount of money through a foundation to learn later that the intended recipient received about five or six percent of your original contribution, or in some cases nothing at all?
If you give directly, at least you know where the money is going. Doesn't it make more sense to have the intended nonprofit use the funds where they are deemed most necessary, rather than have a foundation use your donations for operating expenses, salaries and exaggerated expense accounts?

We have a year and a half left on our current lease we are doing everything possible to keep this place afloat but we need all the support we can get.

Potluck and Birthdays

We had a very successful birthday bash and potluck, Saturday the 14th June. I did it on the spur of the moment. People asked what the occasion was, and I responded, "We are all still alive and sober". Isn't that, in itself, a cause for celebration? We, I believe, can be spontaneous and free. But, if we have to have a reason, how about Jim B having fourteen joyous years and the scintillating Erica L, visiting from Santa Cruz, with two beautiful years? We had a killer chocolate mousse cake.

Who knows, if we get a few decent checks, the Fourth of July weekend (Saturday) could be our next big bash?

Anthony T. Murray ("Irish Tony")


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