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Messages from the President

June 17, 2020

Dear Fellow Members,

I am pleased to report that we remain on track for reopening the Clubhouse under Phase 3 of New York City’s guidelines. Provided the city stays on course, we expect to open by the end of July with modified services and a limited staff on site. I’m sure this is welcome news given that members overwhelmingly indicated their interest in returning to the Club in our recent member survey. Thanks to so many of you for providing such thoughtful feedback that informs our approach.

We will take all health and safety precautions in compliance with recommendations and guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the NYS Department of Health. As the safety and well-being of our members and employees remains our number one priority, our measured and gradual approach for reopening with limited services is to ensure that we provide the highest standards in health and hygiene precautions. We want to be certain that Club members are comfortable with these first steps before rolling out additional services.

We will keep you posted on a firm date for the reopening along with specific services and details. We appreciate your loyalty, patience, and understanding as we embark on a new normal during these unprecedented times. In the meantime, please continue to enjoy our vast array of virtual programs and events.

Stay safe and well.

With warm regards,

Willa Berghuis Baynard ’88
President

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June 3, 2020

Dear Fellow Members,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are profoundly disturbed over the recent and devastating events in our country. Our hearts are broken over the tragic killing of George Floyd and others as a result of racism, injustice, and violence. We wish for a calmer nation in the days ahead as our citizens bring voice and action to the important issues our country faces. We are grateful for the leadership of President Bacow who shared this email with the Harvard community this week.

At the same time, this is an opportunity to reflect on our community at the Harvard Club. I want to assure our members that the Harvard Club stands in solidarity with the Black community and is committed in the fight against racism and discrimination. That said, it is not enough to make statements and to acknowledge the pain and suffering of those who are hurt and grieving. We must address the issue of how to bring about change and the path forward begins with listening and learning from one another. I am personally committed as President to advancing these initiatives and working with our leadership team to do so. We will convene a special task force in June to explore the issues and recommend an action plan to the Board. The more we can continue to support each other, the stronger our community will be.

Please stay safe and well.

With warm regards,

Willa Berghuis Baynard ’88
President

 

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May 4, 2020

Dear Fellow Members,

As much as we miss being together at our beloved clubhouse, it is heartening and not the least bit surprising to know that our Harvard Club community remains vibrant and active. Thank you to the Program Committee and our Harvard Club staff for the development of virtual programs and events and ensuring that we not only stay connected but that we also have an opportunity to broaden our member connections and expand our networks.

On a sad note, our Harvard Club family has experienced the recent loss of two staff members, Granville Nicholls, Main Dining Room Server, and Jesus Huachi, a member of the night cleaning team. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and coworkers.

Thanks to the incredible support of our membership, and the steady and prudent management of the Club by our management team and our Board, the Harvard Club has been on solid ground financially for many years. However, with the Club’s temporary closing, we made the very difficult decision to temporarily lay off many of our employees. Thank you once again for your generosity and words of concern for our employees. If you have not had the opportunity to donate to the employee relief fund established for our temporarily laid off employees, you can do so here. Our staff is extremely appreciative of the Club’s ongoing support, with one employee sharing the following message:

“Words cannot express how grateful I am to receive this. Thank you and the club so much for extending this to us. You are all doing an amazing job in keeping the members and employees united. The Harvard Club is definitely one of the best places to work.”

I’ve had many inquiries from members regarding the Club’s eligibility for federal stimulus package funds. The Club received PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) funds, but as the rules were clarified, and social clubs were deemed ineligible to receive those funds, we returned them promptly. With the Club’s losses in private event and food & beverage revenues, membership dues are vital in ensuring the safekeeping of our building during the closure, and a vibrant future for our Club. Although these are uncertain times for everyone, your continued commitment and support of the Club is deeply appreciated.

While we await direction from our state and local governments for the lifting of stay-at-home restrictions, our management team, in consultation with the Board, is busy studying and planning for additional safety measures and accommodations for social distancing within the clubhouse. We will be ready to open our doors when it is safe to do so, and I will continue to keep you updated as that eagerly anticipated date draws near.

Wishing you and your families continued health and safety.

With warm regards,

Willa Berghuis Baynard ’88
President

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April 7, 2020

Dear Members,

I want to thank you for your generous contributions to our employee relief fund and your messages of support and loyalty to the Harvard Club these last few weeks. As we are all experiencing upheaval and uncertainty in our daily personal and professional lives, your continued support of our employees, who are the backbone of our Club, is truly heartening in this time of unprecedented challenge.

I’d also like to thank the members in our community and their families who are on the front lines fighting this pandemic. We are forever grateful.

As our clubhouse is temporarily closed, our HCNY team will be providing digital and virtual content for members to stay connected until we meet again in person. If you have any suggestions for information and content to share with members, email communication@hcny.com.

Please continue to stay safe.

With warm regards,
Willa Berghuis Baynard ’88
President


March 24, 2020

Dear Fellow Harvard Club of New York Members,

I hope this email finds you safe and well during these incredibly turbulent times in our world. After we made the decision to temporarily close the Club due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we received numerous inquiries from members concerned about the well-being of our wonderful employees – they are truly our family at the Harvard Club.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and our management team have been working tirelessly to assess the financial impact on the Club, and determine the best way to support our dedicated staff during this crisis. As the Club has temporarily suspended all operations, the majority of our union and non-union hourly employees were placed on hiatus.

In addition to one week’s pay post closing, unemployment benefits, accrued paid time off, and continued health insurance, the Club will pay our laid off employees a weekly stipend for four weeks. Salaried employees will work remotely but on a reduced schedule, with several employees remaining on site for critical building maintenance and operations.

As many members have generously asked how they can contribute to the support of our Club staff, we have established an employee relief fund. You may click here to make a donation through your account at the Club. Thank you in advance for your generous donations – I know our employees will be forever grateful to our membership in this time of need.

Some members understandably have inquired about the status of their membership dues. As the crisis continues to change daily and even hourly, we believe it is financially prudent to continue to collect dues. Those dues pay the salaries and medical benefits of our employees, and keep our clubhouse secure.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I can’t thank you enough for your cooperation and understanding as we work through this unprecedented challenge. As we all eagerly look to the end of this crisis and a return to normal life, we also look forward to welcoming you back to the Club.

I will continue to keep you updated with any changes.

Please stay safe and thank you as always for your loyalty and dedication to our Club.

With best regards,
Willa Berghuis Baynard ‘88
President

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March 16, 2020

Dear Fellow Members,

As we face the rapidly-changing circumstances related to COVID-19, the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee in consultation with our management team has made the decision to close the Harvard Club of New York on Monday, March 16th at 5:00pm until further notice.

Please take note of the following:

  • Effective Monday, March 16th at 5:00pm, the Club’s operations will be suspended until further notice.
  • All member and private events are cancelled until the Club resumes operations.
  • Members who have belongings in the Fitness area can retrieve their items until Friday, March 20th at 5:00pm.
  • A small staff of essential employees will remain on site while other essential employees work remotely.

We are working on transition plans for our valued employees and ways to support them during this difficult period while the Club is temporarily closed.

The health and safety of our members, guests, and employees remain our top priority. We hope to reopen the Club soon but will continue to look to the CDC and local government and health agencies for guidelines in determining when it will be prudent to do so.

Although these are challenging times filled with anxiety and uncertainty, we take great comfort in knowing that we have the most loyal and committed members and appreciate your support and understanding.

We will continue to keep you informed of the Club’s status and updates will be posted to the hcny.com website.

Please stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

With best regards,
Willa Berghuis Baynard ‘88