Friday, September 25, 2009

Fundraising Seminar, CPA Hearing in Boston, Last Call for Ken Burns Preview, Yankee Stadium

Friday, September 25, 2009

Essex County Community Foundation Seminar

On Thursday, I spent the morning on the campus of Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill where I attended a seminar offered by the Essex County Community Foundation. The subject of the seminar focused on fundraising strategies for not-for-profit organizations in this difficult economy. It was pointed out that fundraising in New England is a task that requires organizations to carefully craft their message so that the needs of the organization are well illustrated. New England as a region while generous has never provided as much of its disposable income to charitable ventures as other regions in this country. .That makes it imperative that the fundraising message for initiatives like Essex Heritage must be carefully crafted, and the benefits of the work accomplished most evident to the region. It was generally thought that in 2010 that, even though Americans will give over $300 Billion to charities of all kinds, the total amount provided overall will be slightly down from the current year. The diversity of this region was also outlined, and the depth of the need for charitable giving was identified as it was identified that in this region alone, that there are 2500 not-for-profit organizations all seeking support. It is also a diverse population that lives here as there are over sixty languages spoken, and over 17% of the residents who call Essex County home were born outside the United States. All of that said, it will continue to most important for Essex Heritage to continue to differentiate why it would be important to support this endeavor.

The presenters spent a substantial amount of time asking all of the attendees to look carefully at their individual mission statements to determine if the needs of the organization are well identified, so that contributors who might be inclined to offer support can identify a reason to provide help. Essex Heritage is currently moving through a long range planning process, and many of the issues that were raised at the seminar will certainly enter into my thinking as we move through that process. As I reviewed the Essex Heritage mission, we were all encouraged to craft a simple preliminary vision statement for our work. The personal statement that I developed would help focus on both the organizations needs and also the compelling reasons to choose Essex Heritage over dozens of other worthy charitable organizations. I know that we have a long way to go before we craft our undated long range vision for Essex Heritage, but I came away from the session today thinking that at least in my mind, Essex Heritage builds broad based coalitions that foster regional cooperation that focuses on the preservation of the precious resources in this region for future generations. In the last quarter of this year Essex Heritage will once again offer the opportunity to support the work being accomplished at the Commission in an annual appeal for support. The results of that effort will help support the mission of Essex Heritage.

Community Preservation Act hearing at State House Next Week

On September 29, 2009, the Community Preservation Coalition has organized a series of presentations before the State Legislature that would sustain the Community Preservation Act in the Commonwealth. In this region approximately one half of the communities have adopted this legislation and those that have done so, have seen the funds raised as a boon to their local economies and preservation efforts. Just recently at a special town Meeting in Rockport, $300,000 in CPA funds were voted to be distributed to a half a dozen projects that ranged from affordable housing initiatives to historic preservation projects like a grant to the restoration of the Old Sloop building of the First Congregational Church, the Rockport Public library, the Rockport Art Association’s Old Tavern building, and the Rockport Community House. Essex Heritage has issued a statement in support of the work of the Coalition and we certainly hope that the proposed legislation is viewed favorably...

Preview of Ken Burns Documentary

In past entries we have noted that on Saturday, September 26, 2009, as part of the Essex Heritage Trails and Sails Weekend, at the National Park Service’s Regional Visitor Center in Salem, a preview of the latest Ken Burns documentary will be shown. The showing that is free to the public will be shown at 4:00 p.m. and is on a first come, first served basis in the 200 seat theatre in the Visitor Center. The documentary focuses on the growth of the National Park Service, and is a wonderful statement about the local resources that we have in Salem and Saugus and with the Heritage Area that we maintain in Essex County.

Weekend Trip to New York City

My wife and I, along with a bus load of other seniors from Danvers are leaving Saturday morning for a weekend trip to New York that includes a Red Sox game against the Yankees at the NEW Yankee Stadium. When we first planned the trip we thought that game might have some bearing on determining the winner of the American League East Crown. It now seems that the winner is likely in place, but the Sox still are looking to secure a spot in the playoffs as a wildcard entry, so the game still means something. It will also be interesting to view the new stadium, that has been so controversial all this year, with home runs flying out in record numbers and empty seats also at some times in record numbers.

As always your questions, comments and observations about the work of Essex Heritage are always welcome. I can be contacted at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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