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10 June, 2022

Dear WICE Members and Volunteers,

We would like to invite all interested members to the next Board meeting on Tues, June 14th from 3pm - 4pm to discuss the imminent dissolution of WICE. Please see invitation details below.

As most of you have seen in the recent letters from the President, WICE will probably need to be dissolved in July because of a number of significant contributing factors:

  1. Lack of Leadership: despite a year of searching and letters to members, we have not been able to secure new leadership. The current executive committee of the board will be resigning at the end of this fiscal year (July 31st, 2022). Without a President and a Treasurer, WICE will be in violation of French law. One group of interested members stepped forward to take over WICE leadership but subsequently backed out. Another group recently also stepped forward, but this solution has also not worked out.
  2. Consistently falling membership: Since the mid 2000’s, membership has been consistently falling and is now down to around 245 (about 50 of which are volunteers). In 2008, WICE held an extraordinary general assembly meeting to vote on the dissolution of the association. Enthusiastic members stepped forward to keep WICE going but no efforts (including reconsidering the membership model, adding new courses, holding open houses, etc.) have proven effective at thwarting the steady decline in membership.
  3. Lack of course registrations: Except for the language courses, WICE course registration has fallen to a seriously low level, and most classes have had to be canceled, despite virtual offerings to combat COVID restrictions. WICE’s charter is to serve the English-speaking community by offering continuing education courses. WICE cannot continue under its charter if it is not fulfilling this mission. (There are legal issues to continue with just language classes as thiscould be deemed as unfair competition to language school businesses.) In addition to lack of course registration, there has also been a reduction in volunteers to create and run new courses.
  4. Severe financial difficulties: As a result of continued declining membership and very low course registration, income is insufficient to maintain operating costs. Because of this, WICE has been forced to regrettably give up its office and let go of its office assistant (the only employee at WICE). Expenses such as PayPal, Wild Apricot, technical support, telephone, and other miscellaneous expenses cannot be maintained with continued drops in both course registrations and membership fees.

We understand there is a will to continue WICE, and the current board is willing to work with a new leadership team, if one steps forward. However, in order to continue WICE, there needs to be a plan to save WICE to take to a member vote for the AGE meeting, currently scheduled for July 7th.

We invite all members to attend the board meeting on Tues, June 14th 3-4pm via zoom to discuss any proposed plan to continue and for the Board to answer any questions.

Please submit your questions and concerns and/or any questions regarding taking over leadership of WICE prior to the board meeting to the email below. If you do have a plan to continue WICE, we would appreciate seeing it (in English) before the meeting so that we can best address it.

Thank you for your participation.

Regards,

Ann Shepardson, Secretary of the Board
Ann.Shepardson@wice-paris.org


23 May, 2022

Dear Members, Volunteers and Friends of WICE,

I am writing as a follow up to my email of March 28, 2022.  At that time, I let you know that I would be stepping down as President at the end of the Spring trimester 2022, that the Covid pandemic has severely impacted WICE and that the WICE Board have been working hard to find new and innovative ways to keep WICE afloat. Because there are so few classes being held in person at WICE, one of the difficult decisions we decided to take to stabilize the finances was to cancel our office lease at rue Tiphaine effective June 30, 2022. This means that any in-person events scheduled thereafter will be held at another site, but that online classes and conversation groups can continue in the short term. 

As a Board, we have all been committed to keeping WICE going. We recognize, however, the need to establish a new working model. Essential to this effort is the filling of three leadership positions: President, Treasurer, and Secretary, without which WICE will cease to be a legal entity according to French laws regarding Associations. During the past year, we have advertised these positions widely both to our hundreds of members and beyond, without success. In my March letter, I also personally requested members to please take up the challenge and help. A few volunteers responded to the call, but were unable, finally, to develop a solid business model despite exploring several avenues and ideas.   

Our fiscal year ends on July 31, 2022. With no leadership, very few enrollments in most of our spring programs plus the necessity to meet all our remaining financial obligations, our current Board  sees no alternative but to dissolve our association: WICE: Where Internationals Connect in English which was founded in 1978.  As members of our association, you will shortly be officially notified of an upcoming Assemblée Générale Exceptionelle, currently planned for June 13, 2022, to approve legally by a vote this unfortunate proposal. 

To thank you for your loyalty and dedication to WICE, our Board is planning a farewell cocktail hour picnic on July 6th (rain date July 7 - invitation to follow)  and hope that many of you will join us to toast 44 years of learning and conviviality, the two major missions of WICE. 

With my very best wishes, 

Jill Bourdais, President 

president@wice-paris.org 


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