v25-2 From the President

Vol. XXV No. 2 - SUMMER 2014

By: Robert Remer

…And Now For the Next 25 Years - Part II - You Our Members

Last issue we started an important conversation with you.

Your board of directors has begun the process of charting the next 25 years of the Edgewater Historical Society. We talked about the challenges and costs of maintaining a museum for the past 11 of our 26 years; we are fortunate to have a modest endowment to help us assure that our even more modest operating budget is not jeopardized by the increasing needs to maintain the firehouse as it gets older. We also must look at our future space needs, as our safely available room has been outstripped by burgeoning collections, exhibits, and programs. Once we opened the museum and began storing Edgewater’s historical artifacts and ephemera, we accepted a perpetual responsibility of preservation – a responsibility that must, in tight times, trump our other transitory, albeit essential, functions like exhibits, programs, community preservation, and education. So we will have to be looking to find ways to add space whether through offsite storage, a possible addition, space saving storage file systems, technology, other efficiencies, or a new facility down the road.

In this issue I would like to thank and talk about you, our members, and your role in our sustainability for the future.

We exist because you, our members, wanted us to be here and you have consistently supported EHS. Your membership and your dues are the largest and strongest part of our support. We have a very modest operating budget of just under $35,000; that covers our basic operations of the museum (heat, light, insurance, cleaning) plus all our programs, exhibits, the collections, the annual home tour, the quarterly award winning Scrapbook, and more.

We budgeted $9,000 this year for membership dues, or slightly more than 25% of our entire budget. Your dues have consistently been our largest source of revenue. The rest of our funds come from the Spring benefit, the annual Home Tour and various other donations.

A few years ago we had about 400 memberships; at the end of 2013 we had about 600 memberships and when you consider family memberships that was over 700 individual members. We think that is pretty good, and we want to continue to work with you to be broadly representative of our community by increasing membership even more.

As we try to do more things better, we are finding that our revenues are becoming more critical than in the past when we did not have as many programs, exhibits, collections, etc. So there is our challenge. For EHS to continue to grow, get better, be relevant AND be sustainable, we have to focus more and more on increasing our revenues. That is where you, our members, come in. We have tried to be responsive to you by doing the best job we know how. We have also added some “perks” to your membership like member only receptions before exhibit openings or free DVDs from exhibits or making house histories available at cost.

As we move forward, we want to hear from you about what you want from your membership and what you would like us to be doing. We also will be analyzing where members live in Edgewater and trying to find ways to increase our presence in all our neighborhoods.

We would also like to enlist you in our efforts to recruit more members, your friends, your neighbors, fellow parents at your children’s school, etc.

We also urge you to renew your membership this year if you haven’t done so already. This wonderful newsletter is one of your membership benefits and we want you to be able to continue to receive it on a regular basis. Without your renewal we cannot continue to mail it to you.

A healthy future depends on you and your support. In the coming issues we will continue to report on our sustainability deliberations and I hope you will join the discussion. Thank you.

While on the subject of our members and thank yous, we had a fabulous Spring benefit attended by many of you and others from the community at the award winning Ethiopian Diamond restaurant. You will read elsewhere about the event itself, but we want to thank the great team that put together and executed a wonderful event. Starting with kudos to event Chair Marty Stewart, whose team included Tiffany Middleton and Anna Shaatsman who organized the silent auction; Vitaliy Vladimirov who did the graphics for the invite and publicity; Betty Mayian for a lot of everything that made it a success; Dorothy Nygren, for filling many voids and keeping so many things moving along; Barb Strauss for keeping track of all the responses AND the money and Pat Duff who welcomed our guests. Thanks also to Bryce Payne, Betsy Kane, and Pat McPartland and Tracy Poyser for helping us with photographing our guests and making it a great evening.

Last issue we said goodbye to our 25th year. We celebrated the success of our gala, settled in for a winter worthy of hibernation, and now we’ve returned charting the next 25 years of your historical society.

Thanks to your support we ended last year with a modest surplus; and we can dutifully let you know that the finances are in pretty good shape for now. Over the years we steadily built a responsible surplus. Over the coming months the Board will examine how to situate EHS for a sustainable future. We will keep you informed, welcoming your suggestions.