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Dear Columbians,

Columbia Club is and has been a voice of stature for 130 years. Under the tutelage of strong leaders and loyal membership, our Club remains an inspiration for community leadership, civic engagement, personal development, and lifelong fellowship. Today, however, our Club’s resolve is being tested.

The Indianapolis downtown community is evolving from good to great. Soon, thirty-five thousand new residents will be occupying downtown apartments, condominiums, and homes. Office occupancy is reaching historic highs. Technology focused companies are arriving monthly. Plus, an expanding number of sports, business, and convention organizations are seeking additional high-end hotels and expanding convention space. New businesses are now intentionally targeting our community for expansion, while unemployment is at an all-time low. As the average age of our workforce drops below age 42, independent workers will dominate those living, working and playing within the downtown community.

Even today, neighboring streets are alive and energetic; from the early morning hours, supporting commerce, until the late evening hours, supporting a revitalized night life. The result is an energized downtown, populated by a diverse workforce who are blending work and personal interests.

Fortunately, market forces are responding. Renovation, new construction, and expanding gentrification abound within the Indianapolis community. Unfortunately, our Club is not keeping pace! It seems that Columbia Club, like many private city clubs, is falling out-of-consideration within a developing
community. Despite aggressive marketing, a declining membership reflects this trend, as we experience a 1-2% annual drop. Our Club also operates at a financial loss from June through September; while downtown entertainment venues are most profitable.

To remain relevant, viable and vibrant, Columbians must rethink membership. A recent market study reveals that resurging opportunities do exist for us if we are willing to deliver unique services that better align with emerging lifestyles. A parallel trends analysis identified several expanding membership options that, collectively will position our Club to “jump the competitive curve.” Thus, ensuring sustainability long term. While each of the seven offerings individually ignites membership interest, their combination revitalizes the unique to Columbian WOW.

Your Board of Directors, along with committee leadership have formulated a Strategic Plan that will deliver dynamic results by 2020.  This plan will expand membership benefits beyond the existing 6:00am to 6:00pm weekday model, as well as embrace the evolving interest of a diversified workforce seeking unique professional and after-hours options.

This plan guarantees that what we have inherited from the generation of Columbians before us, will continue to deliver member experiences that are memorable and purposeful.

Please consider becoming a Charter Member of the Columbian Platinum Society with a donation to the Legacy Fund. Together, we will provide game-changing, unique to Columbian venues within and atop of our Clubhouse. Together, we will ensure that lifelong experiences will continue beyond our generation. Together, we will guarantee that our Club will remain relevant, viable, and vibrant, as we collectively elevate membership experiences from good to great. We are asking you to please pay it forward and join other Columbians as a Charter Member of the Platinum Society.

James Ittenbach

Columbia Club Past Board President