2023 PRESIDENT JEFF HOFFMAN
One hundred and four years ago, a group of like-minded Jacksonville business and civic leaders joined together to form an organization that they hoped would be transformative for the city and its residents.
My guess is that only in their most fervent dreams did they think that more than a century later, like-minded people would continue to join together, as Meninaks, for causes greater than themselves.
That’s what Meninak is. Like-minded people, working with each other to have positive impact on the greater good.
Early on, our organization emphasized the importance of supporting the youth of our community, through direct donations, scholarships and mentoring programs.
Evidence of Meninak’s generous members can be seen dotted throughout Northeast Florida as we assisted other organizations meet their mission of serving youth.
One of our longest-standing efforts is our charity project, which continues today. Several years ago, we added college scholarships to recognize the potential of our area’s young people and help give them a strong start in life.
While these direct contributions bring some immediate benefit – including our members – I’ve seen more than a few tears of joy at awards ceremonies for charity projects and scholarships and talks about mentoring – but more importantly, I believe these Meninak contributions are a direct investment in the future of our community. It’s almost cliché to say that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, but we know this to be true.
And as like-minded people, we believe it is our obligation to continue shaping the future by
what we do today, by what we do as Meninaks.
For the past several months, a number of us have gathered to discuss the future of Meninak and how we can continue our mission for the next 100 years.
As a result, I see 2023 as a Year of Meninak Opportunity:
Opportunity to engage more deeply with our community, building on a strong speaker program that we can share with others as we learn more about our city, our nation and our world.
Opportunity to invigorate our membership in ways that will solidify Meninak as our region’s premier civic organization and create an atmosphere that attracts new like-minded members.
Opportunity to serve our region’s youth in increasingly meaningful ways as we examine how to enrich our charity, scholarship and mentoring efforts.
Opportunity to bind together, as Meninaks, and enjoy the friendships and camaraderie that for many of us can be lifelong.
How we capitalize on these opportunities will be shared with you as the year unfolds.
Some ideas that we’ll want to roll-out may initially take us out of our comfort zone, but to meet Preston Haskell’s challenge to us -- to make a strategic pivot in order to grow and thrive -- we need to shake each other up a bit and approach each opportunity with the positive spirit that has sustained Meninak for 104 years.
Our past, our present, and our future rests in our hands. And I believe Meninak’s future is bright.
So, join me in 2023 as The Year of Meninak Opportunity and as we reenergize who we are as Meninaks:
As we say in our Credo:
I believe in freedom, in the right of the individual to live according to his and her conscience within the framework of a society organized for the common good. I believe in the will of the majority, provided that neither rights nor privileges of the minority are violated.
I believe in the dignity of humankind. I believe that each of us justifies our existence through faith in God and by service to others and that such service is best performed by giving of self as well as substance, heart as well as mind.
I believe that liberty is best preserved by an alert and informed citizenry; that each of us has an obligation to know the truth and once knowing, to let its light illumine the darkness of ignorance.
I believe in the youth of our country. I believe that service to youth is insurance for the preservation of democracy.
I believe in my community and its importance as a place in which I may grow spiritually. I believe in rendering an active, intelligent, helpful service to my associates, that my community may be a better place for my tenancy in it. I believe in "Meninaks in Action!"
I am a Meninak.
I look forward to serving you.