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Dear Puertográfico Registrants,
The SGC International Executive Board has dedicated the time since Puertográfico was postponed to attempting to reschedule Puertográfico and creating a financially sound program for the handling of your registration fees. This has involved working with the Puertográfico Steering Committee, our accountant, legal counsel, The Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, and additional vendors with whom we held contractual obligations for our conference. While I am sad not to be gathering with you in San Juan and this has been a complex situation to navigate, I am pleased to say that everyone with whom we have worked has made this the most pleasant experience possible. We are very fortunate!
At this time, our next conference will be Verified by Proof in Providence, RI, April 7 – 10, 2021. We are determined to make Puertográfico happen, but scheduling has been challenging and this is not a time to rush any sort of planning. While Puertográfico will not be in the near future, when we finally meet in Puerto Rico it will be an amazing conference and we will have a big reason to celebrate!
As we have worked to get a handle on the financial repercussions of postponing Puertográfico our greatest concern was our contract with the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino. Its terms for underperforming or cancelation could have had staggering effects upon SGCI. I am pleased to report to you that we were able to employ the force majeure clause in our contract, an “Act of God” clause, to assert that we would be unable to meet the terms of our contract because of the COVID-19 pandemic, circumstances that are beyond our control. The Sheraton was immediately responsive to our notification and is processing the return of our $80,000 in deposits made as required in our contract. With our finances no longer tied up in a contract with no immediate prospects for a rescheduled date, we are able to use this sum to help us towards the goals of our registration fee handling program. We are also able to work without urgency and constraint as we plan for a future Puerto Rico conference.
SGCI has accumulated approximately $100,000 in reconciled, non-refundable expenses and outstanding commitments for Puertográfico. These include payroll and professional expenses, bank and merchant fees, travel expenses, exhibition fees, and awards honoraria. A close examination of SGCI’s financial position and our Puertográfico budget shows that we have a $175,000 budget with which we can safely work to offer refunds of registration fees. We have constructed a plan that will allow us to return as much of members’ registration fees as possible while ensuring that SGCI is financially secure and able to cover unanticipated expenses and continued operating costs. Donations and retained registration fees will help offset a projected $85,000 conference loss and prevent further damage to SGCI’s current assets. If this process ends with SGCI having a surplus of donated and retained funds, we will work to use these monies to create new opportunities for our student and emerging professional members.
For two groups of individuals, registration fees will be refunded automatically.
If you have trouble with our self-service registration fee handling process, please reach out by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration fee handling choices must be made by June 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM PST. No transfers or refunds will be processed after this date.
SGCI will not be offering refunds on membership fees. SGCI membership fees are used to cover our annual operating expenses. Without these monies to cover payroll, insurance, accounting fees, website hosting and maintenance, and other essential expenses, SGCI would not be able to function as the organization that we all value so deeply. In addition you receive member benefits like opportunities to participate in exhibitions and themed portfolios, eligibility to apply for events at the Providence 2021 conference, eligibility to apply for SGCI fellowships and opportunities, and other exciting ways to engage with our community. We appreciate your understanding the importance of your membership fees to our organization.
The past two weeks have been challenging for us all for so many reasons. Thank you all for your patience and understanding through this process. Your generosity of spirit has been of great comfort to all who have been working on the planning of Puertográfico and the resolution of its postponement.
While it does not seem that life is going to be easy for anyone for a while, we are all fortunate because we have the SGCI community to help us forward. I urge you to reach out to your print people; we all need to feel connected right now. We may be far from each other, but we are always together.
Be well and be safe!
President, SGC International