Monday, January 11, 2016

Members and friends...

Happy New Year to you and your families.  I hope 2016 dawned bright with hope for you!

State Captain Karla Richardson recently sent out a Mission review for 2015 but the number of Missions bears repeating.  424 Mission days were attended by you in 2015.  The number is slightly above 2014 and is a validation of our need going forward in these days of reduced losses from war.  The Board of Directors discussed the Mission Scope at our Fall meeting along with the Senior Ride Captains and no changes were made or recommended.

The 2015 - 10th Annual Patriot Ride was a special day this last year.  Over 3,350 riders were part of the day.  It's an amazing testament to our continued sense of patriotism to see that number of bikes and riders.  It was moved to the Anoka County Airport and the results were everything the planning committee could have asked for.  The phrase "State Fair for bikers" was a common theme.  The ride has moved to July 9, 2016, to help avoid the wet weather this ride has been plagued with in the past.  Please make sure you mark this website down and I hope to see you at the Patriot Ride again this year.  Thank you to Dennis Kirk and the hundreds of volunteers for their amazing support and dedication to this ride.

We are fortunate with our ability to raise and donate funds every year at the level we do.  We aren't about the money and never will be.  We are in a position to help and we take that seriously.  We raised about $86,000 last year with much of that (about $62,000) coming from the Patriot Ride.  The balance came from general donations and a small profit from the MN Patriot Guard store.

We used about $83,000 in our expenses and donations
1.     Wreaths Across America: $1,000
2.     Vets Home HOTH Expenses: $6,900
3.     Veterans Hunting Events: $4,700
4.     Administrative: $3,600
5.     Mission Expenses: $2,400
6.     Grants: $65,000
          a.     MN Military Family Foundation: $15k
          b.     Flags For Fallen Military: $4k
          c.     Toys For Military Kids: $2k
          d.     Minnesotans' Military Appreciation Fund: $10k
          e.     National Patriot Guard Riders: $2k
          f.      Tribute To The Troops Education Fund: $26k
          g.     MN Veteran Family Support-Project Backpack: $4k
          h.     Misc: $2k 

It's important to note a few things.
  1. All the money we spend (except for the National PGR donation) stay within Minnesota
  2. Our administrative expenses are at 4% of expenses and most of that is insurance and tax preparation.  As a 100% volunteer organization none of the funds raised cover any personal expenses of leaders or members.  As you make donation choices please keep this in mind for every charity you evaluate.
  3. We don't donate to individuals as a rule.  We aren't skilled professionals in evaluating needs and situations so we instead donate to groups who can do those things far better than we can.
  4. The Board votes on the budget and every donation request.  Majority rules for the vote dictate our decision so no one person has control over any part of this.  As a note to you not every vote is unanimous or passes so they are taken seriously and discussed.
  5. Our Treasurer sends copies of the check register and bank statements out to the Board every 6 months so, while a not a formal audit, all transactions are reviewed.
  6. Our income tax and charity filings are prepared by professional tax accountants.
We choose to always keep one year of expenses and donations in reserve to ensure that if our funding ever went away we would have a year for the MNPG and those we donate to time to adjust.  To that end we have just over $100k in reserve.  We don't foresee that changing or be at risk.
The Mission is the most important thing for us.  Anything you can do to help by attending Missions or telling your friends and neighbors to join is appreciated.  Many of us have been doing this for over 10 years and people have drifted away.  Work keeps many of us occupied during the week so Monday through Friday Mission support is critical.

The Board and Missions team thanks all you from the bottom of our hearts for what you do.  Without you there is no Mission.

Happy 2016!!!!!

Honor, Dignity, Respect
Doug Bley
President, MN Patriot Guard
High Plains Region Captain
Former Minnesota State Captain