New Board Members Elected

St. George’s Society’s AGM was held on 20th January, 2016 at the General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen. During the meeting President Richard Sexton, MBE reported on the Society’s achievements in 2015 and four new members were elected to the Board of Directors.

In 2015 the Society had a record-breaking English Ball and GEORGE British Bash, together raising almost $700,000. Attendees enjoyed video highlights from both events as well as videos documenting the stories of people that the charity helped. Reports were also heard from CEO Karen Karpowich; Treasurer Stephen J. Storen; Secretary Ceasar N. Anquillare JP; Scholarship Committee Chair Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill, CBE; and Beneficiary Committee Chair Melissa M. Gibbs.

Past President Robert Titley presented the Nominating Committee’s report and Amanda Bowman, Matthew Broom (pictured above right), Clare Risman and Marc Walby (pictured above left) were elected to serve as directors for three year terms. The Society is grateful to Philippa Cheetham, MD, Susan Lopez, Natalie T. Pray and Nicholas C. Walsh who all completed their term on the Society’s Board of Directors.

A reception followHughed, during which C. Hugh Hildesley (pictured left) was presented by Her Majesty’s Consul General, Danny Lopez, with the Order of St. George’s Society, in recognition of his service to the Society. Since 2012, Hugh has raised over $500,000 for our charitable programs as auctioneer at St. George’s Society and GEORGE events. Hugh entertained guests with anecdotes from his time as an auctioneer at Sotheby’s including details of the most expensive piece that he has auctioned (the Guennol Lioness at $57 million); and the most unusual item he sold at a charity event (one ton of horse manure!)

2016 Membership Drive

Now is a great time to join or refer a friend to St. George’s Society, with incentives for new and existing members plus a new Corporate Membership level for small companies.

Members are indispensable to the success and growth of St. George’s Society and this month we have launched a member drive to attract new members and supporters to the Society.

There are a number of perks and benefits to membership, including invitations to film screenings, discounted theater tickets, special offers with retailers, pubs and restaurants and discounted entry to many of our events, including significant savings on tickets to our two annual fundraisers, the English Ball and the GEORGE British Bash.

For the months of January and February, we are offering new members free membership for three months on any membership level. New members are also invited to quarterly cheese and wine receptions to meet the St. George’s team and fellow members in an informal setting. The next event is on 26 January at 5.30pm.

CaptureIf you are already a member, we encourage you to spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues for the chance to win a great prize! Introduce a new member before the end of March and you will be entered into a draw to win Tea for Two at Tea & Sympathy, a quintessential corner of England in the heart of Greenwich Village. You can increase your chances of winning with every new introduction.

We are also excited to announce a new Corporate Membership level for companies with less than 50 employees. For $1,000 your company will receive five individual memberships plus a half-page ad in the Society’s annual report that is sent to all members and supporters in the summer.

Don’t forget that membership dues are fully tax-deductible and support the Society’s charitable programs to provide vital assistance to people of British and Commonwealth heritage in New York who are in need of financial and emotional support.

Click here to join today!

If you have any questions regarding membership please contact Samantha Hamilton

Society Spreads Holiday Cheer

In December, 2015 St. George’s Society brought holiday cheer to people in need through a toy drive for local children and by sending gifts and holiday checks to our sick, elderly and disabled beneficiaries.

santa hatThank you to everyone who supported the 2015 President’s Appeal, helping us to bring seasonal cheer to seniors in New York at a time which can be particularly difficult and lonely for many. Last month, each of our beneficiaries received a gift basket and special holiday check thanks to donations made to the appeal, including generous contributions from Board Members Douglas Paul, Vaughan Tredwell and Nicholas Walsh.

A number of our beneficiaries told us that the basket was the only gift that they received and many reported that they used the extra money to pay bills, replace old winter clothing or buy other necessities such as bed linen or food. One elderly lady wrote to say that “the money went towards my down payment on a pair of much-needed hearing aids.”

The Society also hosted a toy drive for local children in need at its second annual carol service. The event was held at the Queen Elizabeth II September 11th Garden in Hanover Square where carols were performed by the British International School of New York choir and the Trinity Youth Chorus. The event concluded with a tree lighting ceremony and was followed by a festive reception at Ulysses on Pearl Street. The toys collected were delivered to Baby Buggy, a charity that provides essential clothing, gear and services to families in need.

Thank you to everyone who supported our President’s Appeal and toy drive. We really appreciate your continued generous support.

GEORGE Honors Sir Steve Redgrave

On 3rd December, 2015 GEORGE hosted the fifth annual British Bash honoring five-time Olympic Gold Medalist Sir Steve Redgrave. It was a record-breaking year raising over $110,000 for St. George’s Society’s charitable programs.

The GEORGE British Bash was hosted by NBC Sports’ Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe and lead sponsorship was provided by No7, TransferWise and Virgin Atlantic. During the evening guests enjoyed live music, dancing and a silent auction supported by a number of iconic British brands including Asprey, Burberry, Links of London, LK Bennett, Reiss and Ted Baker.

C. Hugh Hildesley of Sotheby’s conducted the live auction which included Virgin Atlantic flights to London, a rowing suit signed by Sir Steve Redgrave, dinner for ten in the Good Housekeeping Dining Room at the Hearst Tower and several luxury vacations.

542After dinner (and before the dancing!) the Anglo-American Cultural Award was presented to Sir Steve Redgrave in recognition of his outstanding Olympic achievements. Sir Steve is the most titled rower in history winning gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000. He has also won three Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine World Rowing Championships golds. Guests enjoyed listening to Sir Steve talk about his sporting career and the London 2012 experience.

 “I am honored to be receiving the award and supporting the fantastic work that St. George’s Society does in New York” said, Sir Steve Redgrave, “it’s very special coming back to America where I had two of my Olympic Gold Medals”.

Click here to see video highlights from the event.

In addition to the GEORGE British Bash, we hosted a variety of fall/winter events including regular pub quizzes in partnership with the British Consulate General and the UK Universities Alumni Group, Network GEORGE, the Fall Kick-Off Reception, a screening of England v Wales in the Rugby World Cup, a Family Sports Day, GEORGE Bonfire Night, Remembrance Day Observance & Luncheon, a reading of In Fields Where They Lay, a Carol Concert & Tree Lighting and a traditional Christmas Luncheon.

We look forward to a variety of events in 2016, including the Society’s annual fundraiser the English Ball on 27 April at the Mandarin Oriental where we will be honoring Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP, Danny Lopez, Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York and Dr. Amanda Foreman, Award-Winning Historian and 2016 Man Booker Prize Chair. For further information about the event please contact Anna Titley.

Click here to view the 2016 event calendar.

SGS Scholar Gives Back

On 1st November, 2015 St. George’s Society scholarship recipient, Edmund Asiedu, participated in the hand cycle category of the TCS New York City Marathon to raise funds for the charity’s scholarship program.

Edmund contracted polio at a young age in Ghana which led to his physical disability but he has always been determined not to let this hold him back. In 2013, St. George’s awarded Edmund with a scholarship that enabled him to complete his degree in Social Work at Lehman College (part of The City University of New York) and he is now pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Baruch College.

“I am so grateful for the support that I received in my time of need helping me to pay for my tuition and other expenses. Without the assistance of St. George’s Society, it would have been difficult for me to survive. I wanted to use this opportunity to raise funds for more scholars like myself who have the determination to succeed but lack the funds to complete their studies and launch their careers.” said Edmund.

Edmund completed the marathon in a personal best of 1 hour 57 minutes and came 26th in the men’s handcycle category. He raised $790 for St. George’s Society.

Click here to see a video about Edmund’s story.

St. George’s Society member Gareth Hughes also participated in the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon and raised $8,621 for the Society’s charitable programs. Gareth completed the marathon in a personal best of 3 hours 27 minutes.

If you are taking on a challenge this year and would like to raise vital funds for St. George’s Society please contact Samantha Hamilton for more information on how to launch your own fundraiser.

SGS History In Queen’s Collection

A book detailing the history of St. George’s Society from 1770 to 1913 has been added to the private library of Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle.

In October 2015, the St. George’s Society team met with Oliver Urquhart-Irvine, The Librarian and Assistant Keeper of The Queen’s Archives from the Royal Collection Trust at Windsor Castle to learn more about their plans to digitize the private Archives of George III at Windsor Castle. Karen Karpowich, the Society’s CEO, gave Mr. Urquhart-Irvine a copy of the Society’s History from 1770 to 1913 and received a letter a couple of weeks later confirming that the book had been accessioned into the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, the private library of Her Majesty The Queen.

The book includes portraits and biographies of a number of the Society’s Presidents as well as the words of “A Song for St. George’s Society” that was sung at the second anniversary meeting of St. George’s Society of New York on 23rd April 1771. It also describes many of the Society’s early banquets celebrating St. George’s Day. These celebrations have evolved over the years into the Society’s most prestigious and important annual event, The English Ball. This year’s English Ball will take place on 27 April at the Mandarin Oriental where awards will be presented to Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP, Danny Lopez, Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York and Dr. Amanda Foreman, Award-Winning Historian and 2016 Man Booker Prize Chair.

10 things to know before moving from the UK to NYC

By Alexandra Da Cunha

Toddling Round New York chronicles a British family’s experience of moving with young kids from London to New York.

Family

Alexandra Da Cunha moved from London to New York in the summer of 2014 with her husband and two daughters, now aged two and four-and-three-quarters. She writes about the highs and lows of expat parenthood on her blog, Toddling Round New York. Before the move, Alexandra was an Account Director in Public Relations.

There are many similarities between London and New York. There’s also a whole lot of differences. In no particular order, here are some really useful things to know before your own move to NYC:

1. Tips. Everyone gets tipped here. Restaurants expect 18-22% for good service, taxi drivers like you to add a dollar, hairdressers, supermarket check out staff all like tips (not obligatory). Clothes shop staff work on commission, so don’t get tips. Schools may well ask you to contribute for staff and teacher tips at Christmas. Doormen, concierge and janitors in your building also bank on a generous tip at Christmas. There’s a sliding scale for how much you give each person in your building, factoring in how long you’ve lived there, how much help each one gives you throughout the year, and how fond you are of them. It’s not unusual for a friendly Manhattan apartment doorman or concierge to get $100 tip at Christmas.

2. Food. It’s unusual to get a big kitchen in Manhattan. One you can actually cook a meal in is called a chef’s kitchen. Thankfully New York City has an exceptional number of restaurants, so to survive, they have to be good. Eating out is a real pleasure, but most will deliver to your door too. Lots of places have kids menus, almost always involving hot dogs, pizza, mac & cheese or chicken with fries, and rarely come with a side of veg or salad. Brunch is big here, it’s quite common to invite someone over for brunch rather than supper. High Fructose Corn Syrup crops up in all sorts of foods, including ones marketed at children. Don’t even get me started on trying to order a decent cup of tea, just ask for something else instead.  Go to Myers of Keswick or Tea & Sympathy to buy British food when you’re feeling homesick.

3. Subways. The subway takes some getting used to. Southbound is called ‘Downtown’, and northbound is ‘Uptown’. Platforms do not have clear signage, so make sure you have a subway map on you to double check your destination. I still sometimes find myself in Brooklyn when I meant to get to Union Square. Lots of the smaller stations do not have interconnecting platforms, so if you’ve accidentally come to the wrong platform, you have to go all the way back up to the street, cross the road, and go all the way down to the correct platform. When this happens, you may also have to negotiate with the subway employee locked inside their cubicle (they never come out) to let you through the ticket barriers, as the Metro cards sometimes refuse to let you through so soon after you’ve swiped elsewhere. Add kids and a stroller into the mix, and you really want to make sure you get the right platform first time.

4. Schools. Try to time your move for the school year. We arrived mid-August which worked really well, as we had a couple of weeks to get over jetlag and unpack before the start of school. Obviously depending on the age of your children, it’s really helpful to start school at the same time as all the other families so your kids will not be the only new ones, and the parents won’t know anyone else yet either. I’d say that 90% of my social contact is with the other school moms, it was such a help to get to know them right at the start of our time here. Also, school is a massive help in getting the whole family settled in to your new lives. It gives structure to the day, interest and stimulation for the kids, and you get to meet a whole load of local parents to befriend. For that reason, it’s worth looking into schools to last your whole planned tour, as it is very disrupting to have to pull out of that social group and start all over again, for the kids and for you. Kindergarten starts the year after children turn five, but it’s common to start ‘Pre-K’ aged three. New York schools close a lot – T got 12 weeks off for the summer and endless public holidays throughout the school term. Daycare for younger kids generally stay open most of the year. Consider using a professional schools broker to help find suitable schools with places available for your planned arrival.

5. Language barriers. Baby cots are called cribs. If you say ‘cot’ here, they think you mean a very small bed that slides away under a bigger one. This can be annoying if you’ve taken the trouble to book one for a hotel on your arrival. Nappies are called diapers, breastfeeding is nursing and pushchairs are strollers.

6. Electrics. Your old electrics won’t work, the voltage here is so low. Sell all your British kettles, lamps, toasters, alarm clocks and hair dryers and buy new here (try Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond. Craigslist is the equivalent of Gumtree, there may be some bargains if you have time to trawl). For your bigger electrics such as your desktop computer, you can buy a transformer to use it out here. American toasters have a ‘bagel’ setting, and the microwaves have ‘popcorn’ settings. Excellent. On the whole electrics are cheaper here, and there are frequent sales like Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Columbus Day….

7. Healthcare.  Health insurance takes quite some getting used to after the NHS. Make sure you always carry the family’s insurance cards in case of emergencies, as doctors won’t treat you without it. Dental and vision are not normally included in standard healthcare cover, you have to make sure yours is either included or separately covered. Root canal treatment can cost $1,800 without insurance. Epi-Pens cost $600 for a pack of two syringes. Also, New Yorkers use specialist doctors for every thing – they have allergists, dermatologists, pediatricians, OB/GYNs… it can be bewildering at first. Calpol = Tylenol. The dosages for children are much more accurate here, they do it by the child’s weight rather than age.


8. Taxes. Taxes are complicated, even for born-and-bred Americans. Give yourself at least two weeks to fill out your tax returns and keep records of everything you can think of like every bank account you have open (even abroad). You have to think twice about remortgaging or paying a lump sum off a mortgage whilst you’re here, since this could open you up for additional liability. Try to negotiate a tax advisor for both UK and US taxes for the length of your time here.

9. Banking. American banking seems v old school and bureaucratic compared to the UK, even if you open up a bank account with international options like HSBC. Setting up a new American account is painful, you have to fill in an astonishing amount of hypothetical detail like how many payments you plan to make in an average month. Chip and pin is rare, most places require signatures which are rarely checked against the back of the card. Online banking isn’t really online, as we found when trying to make an online payment to a friend. Weeks afterwards, he finally received a cheque (spelt ‘check’ here) which had been handwritten by someone in the back office and physically deposited in his bank.

10. Directions. New Yorkers walk fast as it’s the quickest way round Manhattan; don’t dawdle or block the pavement. They will always help if you need directions, just make sure you get to the point and don’t start with British waffle, “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, can you help me find this place?” gets their backs up. Get right to the point, “Which way for XXth Street?” and they’ll point it out. City Mapper is an excellent app to help you plan the best route to wherever you need to go, assuming you’ve managed to get your smart phone sorted. And always know the ‘cross street’ of the address you’re aiming for, since New Yorkers never use street numbers.

To read the full list of 22 helpful things to know before you move from the UK to New York and for more of Alexandra’s blog posts visit toddlingroundny.com