Board of Directors’ Report to MSDC Members from MSDC's Board Meeting on Feb 19, 2024

by Andy Thompson, MSDC Secretary

Several times throughout the year, your Board of Directors (BOD) meets to discuss issues that arise. On February 19th, your BOD met to discuss four concerns. We encourage you to share with any member of the BOD your questions and suggestions for improving our club’s activities.

1) How many people receive and open our newsletter?

As of February 2024, 240 persons have asked to be and are recipients. As editor, Ken Rock noted that the software we use to send the newsletter allows us to see that of those 240 recipients, approximately two-thirds of the recipients open the email to view the titles of the newsletter’s content. Ken said that, historically, the “Prez Says…” column has been the most widely read feature. Ken provided the BOD with a map (created by the software and pictured above) that shows where, across the world, our February newsletter was opened. Those sites included cities across the U.S. mainland, one in Hawaii, one in Germany, and several in Canada. The main concentration has been the DC, VA, and MD region.

Action: John will email newsletter recipients who are not opening the email with a view to dropping them from future mailings. Separately he will also ask all recipients if they would consider new ways of supporting MSDC.

2) How is the process of automatic payment of annual membership dues going?

Ken Rock reported that the automated membership renewal seems to be working well. He noted two members reported possible glitches that seemed to result in an unintended double payment. When, for whatever reason, that has happened in the past, reporting it to our editor Ken and our treasurer John Weidner resulted in an immediate refund of the overpayment. Paying by check and mailing it to John ($20 for individual; $25 a family membership) continues to be a possibility. Contact information for every MSDC board member is found in each issue of our Mineral Minutes monthly newsletter.

Through this method of electronically paying dues and by having our monthly meetings via Zoom, MSDC has more than doubled our due paying memberships – to around 70. We do, however, hope that we can reestablish in-person meetings. Action: Ken Rock and John will continue to monitor our electronic dues payment system and will monitor members’ feedback on their experiences using the system.

3) What is the status of MSDC financial resources?

Over the past decade, we drew down and used up most of our earlier financial reserves by happily funding annual donations to the Smithsonian’s Department of Mineral Sciences and by helping to support a geology undergraduate’s summer research project (Foshag Award).

Action: Dave Nanney will contact key individuals who have expressed a willingness to support MSDC’s financial stability. Dave will report back to us and suggest next steps for supporting these donations which help MSDC fulfill our mission of furthering education in mineralogy and supporting collectors.

4) How can we respond to several members who have requested a MSDC members directory?

The BOD members discussed our recent history with this question and came up with a plan. The recent history has been that when the Eastern Federation of mineral clubs experienced conflict in its leadership, several local mineral clubs, including MSDC, were asked by factions to hand over our membership information so they could recruit us to take sides. Many local clubs, including MSDC, stopped sharing a members’ directory. Also, some people, for solid reasons (scams) became more sensitive about privacy concerns.

Action: BOD members voted in favor of generating our membership directory but will do so by respecting the concerns and preferences of our members. John will contact each dues-paying member, ask if they want to opt out of having some small amount of their personal information included in a club directory. They will be asked if they are willing to have their name included, along with their city/state, and contact information such as their email address. We assume for the time being that most members use emails, but we will be guided by how our members respond to John’s questions.

Note: MSDC BOD members encourage all dues-paying members to become more involved in our club ( Also, your MSDC Board members urge that each of us continues to support the stability and activities of our local sister clubs and, by extension, those of the Eastern Federation (