President's Message - June 22, 2015

Technology - Strength or Weakness?

For generations America was the leader in technology development. It wasn't just the automobile or space exploration or military. Our universities engineered the delivery system to provide agricultural production technology to nations with starving citizens.



Today our technology is being enhanced abroad. Imported manufactured goods and food items fill our retail markets.


What does this have to do with Resource, Conservation and Development Councils in Tennessee?


The transfer of technology that followed manufacturing to foreign countries has resulted in a change of culture in our communities.


Today, US largely imports technologies and the low wages and lack of regulations in other countries have shattered scores of manufacturers and thus eliminated jobs. An increasing number of our citizens, either by choice or necessity, find themselves on government dole. Even worse, rather than take on any potential risks from new regulations and oversight, owners are reluctant to make capital investments. This malaise has percolated down from federal, state and local government agencies. People in our communities hold an uncertain feeling about government inaction and poor policies. Monies that were once committed to projects that RC&D Councils helped facilitate are now limited or eliminated. So, non-profit organizations must work harder in the fund raising arena to continue service to their communities.


If these observations are a bit too philosophical - think again - the world of RC&D has changed and reality must sink in. Proper planning and execution on the individual council level is now the golden rule for sustainability.


The Executive Committee of TN RC&D Council has taken in to consideration the current environment councils now face:


1. A proposal to refresh the existing Creativity Grant program in 2016 will be designed to help be creative in fund raising for councils - perhaps to fund a part time Program Coordinator. The council raising the maximum amount of funds would be matched dollar for dollar by the Creativity Grant - with a TN Council $5000 limit.


This could help the councils realize their potential in seeking funds from the community while serving the community.


2. Consideration will be given to have the 2016 Annual Meeting designed as a fund raising event for building a reserve for future TN Council sustainability grants. This could raise funds for a second place winner of the Creativity Grant of $2500.


An agenda item on the 2015 Annual Meeting will be the opportunity for members to give their ideas on rules for administering the grant.


During our 2015 Annual Meeting hosted by Cumberland Mountain RC&D Council, you will have a chance to experience a rebirth of the hazy feeling of things not going well with the economy.


"Rugby, a Victorian-era village at the Northern tip of Morgan County," became official in 1880. The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture describes the venture as being founded by British and American capitalists in a real estate enterprise. The plan was to include young Brits and relocated New Englanders idled by an industrial depression. Thankfully, the establishment of the Rugby Restoration Association reinforced the axiom - "Challenges present opportunity."


Plan to attend the 2015 Annual Meeting, August 13-14, 2015. You will love the adventure!


Bill G Williams, President
Tennessee Resource Conservation and Development Council