Monday, June 14, 2010

Essex Heritage President to Name Development Committee, Trail Development in Newbury, and Favorite Logos



As Essex Heritage continues its efforts to become less dependent on public funding and more reliant on other forms of support the need to establish a Commission Development Committee becomes even more important. That need has been met with the recent appointment of a committee to address those needs. Towards that end last week, Essex Heritage President Kevin Tierney announced that he was appointing a Development Committee to assist Director of Development and Communications Mary Williamson accomplish her important tasks The committee will be made up of Essex Heritage Trustees and several Trustees have already agreed to serve on the committee. President Tierney has a couple of additional individuals to ask, and until that process is complete we will not make a formal announcement, but I can state that I will be a member of the group This new standing Commission committee that will help identify opportunities to increase the reach of Essex Heritage will be in place in the next week or so, and will be a great aid to the efforts of Essex Heritage to build awareness of its mission.

The Commission in its earliest days received substantial annual support from a federal allocation made through our strong association with the National Park Service and that funding source still exists although over time the federal commitment has been reduced. The national funding for Heritage Areas across the country has remained basically constant while at the same time, the number of Heritage Area’s in the country have been expanded by almost three times in recent years. This new interest nationally in Heritage Area’s has resulted in a reduced level of funding for Essex Heritage and has challenged management to seek other sources of funding to support our core programs. At the same time as the federal funding has been reduced, the economic conditions over the last few years has ended funding completely from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The funding from the State had only been in place for a couple of years, and was being used primarily to support the far-reaching Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program. It is our hope that as economic conditions improve in the future that the funding from the Commonwealth might be restored, as our commitment to regional preservation projects assures wide spread us of the funds across many communities. In the eight years that the Partnership Grant Program has been in place, well over 300 grants have been provided to our not-for profit partners and communities within our sphere of influence that totals over $1.8 million dollars. These commitments have accomplished a great deal and over $18 million in additional resources have been invested in the region.

Essex Heritage has been the beneficiary of wonderful corporate support in this region over the life of this initiative. Increasingly, we have seen that more and more corporate entities in this region have recognized the value of the expansion of the “quality of life” issues that Essex Heritage has become known for supporting across the region we serve. In addition to the wonderful corporate support that we have seen, each year more and more residents of this region are offering financial support to assist us in our accomplishment of our even mission. In this space a couple of posting ago, I noted that we are in the final stages of developing a membership program that we anticipate will help raise much needed funding in the future, but even with the increased support that program will produce more needs to be done across the total fundraising spectrum. We believe that the advice and council that this new committee will provide can be the catalyst for accomplishment of these needs.


With the recent official openings of the bike and pedestrian trails in Salisbury and Newburyport a couple of weeks ago, it was nice to a report that a neighboring community that was organizing to participate as well. The Community of Newbury and their organizing committee recently held an informational meeting with the other communities in the Eight-town collaboration that is linking their communities over the 28 miles Border to Boston Rail trail. The trail effort that is being managed by the staff at Essex heritage and will travel over abandoned rail corridors and ticked way roads between Salisbury and Danvers. The Newbury piece of the trail will follow Scotland Road and Main Street into Byfield Center and then into Georgetown. The long-range objective of the trail organizers is to link town centers, neighborhoods, schools, parks and recreational and natural assets across the county. If any Newbury residents need to gather more information about the effort in that community contact Martha Taylor at or call her at 978 465 0862 or one can always find information at the Essex Heritage web site at


Several weeks ago, local media sources provided a list of the most recognizable companies and logos in this region. Needless to say, when the list was published Essex Heritage was not to be found in the top ten companies. The top ten included such household names as ESPN, GE, Dunkin Donuts, LL Bean, Ben and Jerry’s, Samuel Adams, and Ocean Spray to name just a few. In fact I suspect that if one were to produce a list of the top 1000 most recognizable companies in Eastern Massachusetts we would not find Essex Heritage. We have worked diligently over the decade plus that we have been in existence to build awareness of our work, and some of our efforts like Trail and Sails have helped, but even with our low public recognition levels we will continue to pursue our mission, and with the help of our many friends and partners across this region, in time maybe Essex heritage will be become better known for its work in developing regional networks that work collaboratively to better this region.


On Tuesday, June 15, 2010 there will not be anyone at the Essex Heritage offices as the entire staff will travel to Washington D.C that day. If you need to contact any one of us that day, leave a phone message or an e-mail message and we will get back to you as soon as is possible. You may notice that the posting for Tuesday, June 15, 2010 was made on Monday evening as I am accompanying the office staff to Washington, and our flight leaves Boston’s Logan Airport at 6:30 a.m. and with arriving at the airport early, it did not leave much time to handle a posting that morning.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thanks You. Tom Leonard

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