Back in March 2003, the membership level of the USCF rose to 95,388. As of April 2009, the number is barely over 79,000 at 79,135. That is a loss of 16,253 members!
Financially speaking, the numbers are also bad. Here are some basic USCF numbers from the April 2009 financial report which was provided to me by the USCF Chief Financial Officer Joe Nanna:
Total Revenues: $2,952,904 (less $397,681 bequests = $2,555,223 of actual revenue) in 2009 versus $2,633,658 in 2008.
Total Membership Revenues: $1,457,224 in 2009 versus $1,568,324 in 2008.
(Down $111,100 from last year)
Total Expenses: $3,015,457 in 2009 versus $2,619,019 in 2008.
(We outspent the previous fiscal year by $396,438, which basically wiped out the bequests.)
Excluding the bequests, which clearly cannot be included in normal revenues, that means that USCF has lost, so far, nearly $500,000 in this fiscal year. (This number does not include more losses which were incurred in the month of May.)
The federation’s market share is also down. According to various sources, there are as many as 4-5 times more tournament chess players, especially younger players, who are not USCF members, than there are members of our national federation.
Because of incompetence, the USCF no longer owns the Book and Equipment business. The entire business had to be outsourced.
For the last few years, the USCF has not been capable of holding its own annual U.S. Men and U.S. Women’s Championships. It has to rely on the good will of generous individuals putting up money to save these prestigious events.
The USCF can no longer to fully fund the U.S. Men and U.S. Women’s Olympiad teams. Once again, it has to rely on the generosity of outside organizations or charitable individuals. The USCF is even incapable of sending our national team to the World Team Championship. And unless sponsorship can be found soon, the USCF either will not be able to send our “A” team and will have to resort to sending an amateur team to compete against the world’s best.
The USCF has no money to fund serious training programs for our most young talented male and female players. The USCF has no money to properly promote chess or the even just the basic agenda of its own mission.
How could a national organization, an organization which claims that it has no money to do many things for the benefit of chess and it members, afford to spend $500,000, $600,000, $700,000 or perhaps even more than $1,000,000 in legal fees for political purposes? How could a national organization, an organization which at one time had annual revenues over $6 million, sink this low? Finally, how can we fix the problems, to make things better, when the problems are being hidden and kept secret from the membership at large?
I will publish a full 8+ page report which includes major updates on the USCF legal woes (lawsuits and legal battles in seven different states), massive financial losses, abuse of power, unethical conduct, and dire situation for this federation (critical facts that the current USCF management is hiding from the membership at large), on Tuesday night. This is why change is needed or else the USCF may not survive. Stay tuned.
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– GM Susan Polgar