There is nothing unusual about the 50th Birthday of an individual. I had the pleasure to celebrate mine a few months ago, and my feeling was that I am in better shape than when I was in my twenties.
On the other hand, Golden Anniversaries of Organizations are another matter. An organization is an artificial being from the legal point of view, but is made up of real human beings. The membership of an organization is constantly changing, so it may have a short life, to no one's surprise, or it may have in theory a perpetual term of existence.
It all depends on the strength, passion and involvement of its members. The Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men, Inc. came into being in October 1959, and was organized with the stated purpose of the good and welfare of all Polish-Americans, mutual benefits for its members and participation in community affairs.
Some people fifty years ago must have felt that there was a void, either in their individual lives, or in the life of the Polish American community. Therefore, they decided to set up an association where they might act for the benefit of the Polish American community, and at the same time, create a platform for the Polish American businessman and professional, where they can meet, discuss the current issues, create a network between the members, exchange ideas, and have a voice on the wider forum to represent the views of its members and community.
Throughout the fifty years, the members have undertaken many initiatives, supporting charitable causes, both in the US and in Poland. Among others, the organization supported: Kosciuszko Foundation, Polish American Congress, Blind Children's Home in Laski, Poland, Polish Immigration Committee, numerous Polish cultural groups, Polish-American schools and Parishes. Members took an active part in organizing support for representatives of the Polish American community running for political office.
Their involvement paid off - the Poles had been successful in having their representatives in the NY State Senate and Assembly, and in being elected as judges in the New York courts.
After the Silver Anniversary of the Association, another wave of Polish immigrants came to the US and many settled in the New York Area. Soon the newest immigrants started their own businesses, obtained professional licenses, and history started anew - these immigrants were ready to be involved in a professional organization, to give their time to civic and voluntary causes, to create a network, and to have a voice as a group in American life.
Many of those individuals joined the already existing Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men, Inc. It was an interesting convergence: on the one hand, an established organization, whose meetings are conducted in English, according to the formal requirements of the Roberts Rule; on the other hand, new members, unaccustomed to such formalities, more "revolutionary" in their ideas, and having their own set of issues, problems, and ideas that were specific to the new immigrants.
Despite these differences, or maybe because of them, the Pulaski Association did not break apart, but grew stronger. The organization was very active in the support of charitable causes, as evidenced by its $25,000 support for the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., financial support for the documentary movies about "Zegota", (an effort of the Polish Home Army during World War II to help the Jews to survive) financial support for a number of schools, orphanages, cultural centers and museums, both in the US and in Poland.
A few years ago at the initiative of its then President Peter Pachacz, the Association started the Scholarship Program, and since then every year scholarship grants are awarded to three of the most deserving students from the Polish-American community.
The Association organizes open seminars for the members of the public at large, with subjects like taxation, building and development regulations and legal, investment and financial issues, among others.
The Pulaski Association keeps in contact with other professional organizations from the New York metropolitan area, and with the Polish Student Organization. We need to reach out to other organizations and groups, as well as to the younger generation, so that we may have a stronger voice in matters concerning the community, and to have political representation in more states and on the Federal level. Acting together for the benefit of Polonia is the best way for the Pulaski Association to succeed in the next fifty years.