GCU President/CEO June Report
"Exercising Our Rights"
Our great country, the United States of America, will be celebrating its 244th anniversary on July 4th, a day commemorating the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. We as citizens, should be most grateful and proud to live in a country with so many freedoms granted to us by the Constitution of the United States.
The Constitution is our country’s bylaws, the supreme law of the land we must all abide by as citizens. There are twenty-seven amendments to the Constitution as the first ten are known as the Bill of Rights, considered to be the most important in guaranteeing our essential rights and civil liberties.
The First Amendment reads as follows:
• Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,
or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We recently celebrated Memorial Day, a day that honors the men and women who have given their lives while serving in the military to maintain our democracy and freedoms, upholding our Constitution, keeping our Founders’ vision from faltering. These men and women and our current active forces are the true “heroes” we as a nation should be truly thankful to!
The GCU as a “financial services and community outreach company (fraternal benefit society), also has its Bylaws that addresses many of the governance components of our organization. In fact, this document was initially titled the GCU’s Constitution and Bylaws. We invite you to view the Bylaws that are published on the GCU’s website – www.GCUusa.com – .
A part of the GCU’s governance process is the election every four years of the Spiritual Advisor and Board of Directors. This year, 2020, is an election year and for the first time in the history of the GCU all adult benefit (insured members) members will have the privilege to vote for candidates that will lead our Society over the next four years. The GCU Bylaws were amended via a referendum conducted in 2018 that allowed for this change.
Prior to this amendment, past protocol called for holding a convention every four years. Representatives were elected by their local lodges and would convene to conduct & review various business matters and to elect directors to serve between conventions. The amendment proposed by the Board overwhelmingly was passed by the adult members calling for the Board of Directors as the supreme governing body of the GCU, as permitted by the Fraternal Benefit Society Code of Pennsylvania. As such, the Board of Directors would have the authority to amend the bylaws as needed, provide for the direct election of Directors and Spiritual Advisor, and implement the governance requirements of the insurance departments of the states where the GCU conducts business. This amendment also allows for the Board, to seek the most qualified candidates from its entire membership, and not just from the delegates authorized to attend the Supreme Convention.
The Board of Directors are to be commended for their foresight in modernizing our Society’s governance practices and developing sound business practices and procedures to mitigate threats to our business model and investment portfolio so that the hopes and dreams of our founders will live on and never be forgotten. Each member of the GCU is a stakeholder in our mission of “Protecting Families, Promoting Faith and Fraternalism, Strengthening Communities”!
Please be advised that the GCU has contracted with Broadridge Financial Services, a well-recognized leader in providing voting related services to corporate and financial institutions. Broadridge will be handling the entire voting process that will include tabulating the votes and preparing a final report of the results. The resumes of each of the candidates may be viewed on the GCU’s website – www.GCUusa.com – under the 2020 Board Election tab.
It seems like the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a back seat to the current protests being held throughout our cities being headlined within the news. We must continue to be cognizant of this virus and take the necessary precautions in mitigating its spread.
You were informed in previous notifications of our transition to our Business Continuity Plan with several staff members working remotely while continuing to service our members’ and agents’ needs. We are pleased to inform you that on June 1st our staff has returned to the office. Beaver County, where the GCU Home Office is located within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is currently in a yellow status as this status will be changed to green over the next week. We have reviewed our entire office workspace and have established proper office protocol measures to continue to assure our staffs’ and visitors’ safety under mandates by our governor’s office and guidelines established by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). So, we continue to operate as “business as usual” from within our office environment. Once again, my sincere thank you to our most dedicated Executive Staff, Department Directors and our “awesome support staff” for their contribution in our plan’s development and for their most conscientious efforts in the plans successful implementation and results.
Despite the many challenges faced with the pandemic as agents have been restricted in meeting with clients and prospective clients, the GCU business has continued to flourish. Assets and surplus have increased in addition to recording a slight net profit for the first quarter of 2020. I invite you to view a full report of the GCU’s first quarter results presented on page 4 of the June Magazine by our CFO, Tim Demetres.
Our fraternal programing on a national and lodge level is on a temporary hold under the current COVID-19 environment. Many events for 2020 have been cancelled or postponed. We will be in constant contact with our lodge and district officers informing them of when they are able to return to conducting their various activities.
In closing, our sincere thank you to our members and agents for your patience, understanding and support of the GCU during these most trying times. This is certainly a once in a lifetime experience (hopefully). So, as we celebrate the 4th of July, we are thankful for all the liberties and freedoms we have. In a way, the COVID-19 virus has temporarily taken away many of our freedoms, which certainly is a way of life that would be most challenging and dreadful. We should be most confident that a treatment and vaccine will also be developed in combating this latest virus in the very near future that will allow us to once again return to a way of life we have been accustomed to! My sincere wishes to you and you family for a fun and safe summer full of memories to last a lifetime!
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns!
Please remember to exercise your right as a GCU member to vote for the GCU Spiritual Advisor and Board of Directors!
GOODNESS IS GREAT!
George N. Juba