Village News (November 8, 2018)
By Barry Dyck
The Bottom Line
This is the time of year when charities examine the trajectory of their bottom line and begin reminding supporters that the end of the calendar year is approaching. And so it is at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). This column will attempt to inform the reader of specific financial opportunities at our museum.
Our “operating fund,” which does not include capital projects, is the most important area for consideration. If our income doesn’t cover our expenses, we acquire debt. This fund includes things like utilities, building maintenance and repairs, office supplies, salaries, and other day-to-day expenses. (The kind of expenses that can’t be avoided but are not very appealing to donors.) We try to anticipate and budget for these kinds of expenses, but on occasion unanticipated issues will surprise us. In some cases they can be postponed, but in others they need to be looked after immediately.
For example, this summer our air conditioner in the Livery Barn Restaurant (LBR) broke down. Because it was a hot summer, we had no choice but to replace it as quickly as possible. When a summer storm damaged the fantail on our windmill, the repair again had to happen immediately because people travel from far away especially to see our windmill, and our LBR needs the flour it produces. Both of these were very expensive repairs.
This year we need to cover about 30% of our operating expenses through sponsorships, fundraising activities and donations. That amounts to well over $300,000. The rest is funded by our operating income (from our restaurant, gift shop, facility rentals and admission) and by government grants. At this time of year, our facility rentals are still generating some income through workshops, meetings and Christmas parties. But our restaurant is closed, admission revenues are lower than in summer, and our gift shop is doing less business than in summer. So we are looking to our supporters for generous donations toward our operating fund at this time.
In addition to general museum operations, we have various specific projects needing attention. Most of these are of a capital nature, such as replacing aged and leaking roofs, rebuilding our sawmill, replacing broken highway billboards, replacing 28-year old water heaters in the Village Centre, and repairing and repainting heritage buildings. For various reasons, all of these are important projects. Although we do apply for various grants toward these projects, we also need to encourage our donors to consider an extra donation to any one of these projects, over and above their regular donation to our operating fund.
Last but certainly not least, we have not fully met the $3,000,000 target for our Foundations for a Strong Future campaign. The campaign has gone well, as many people and organizations have been generous. To this point, $2,266,000 has been donated and pledged to this campaign, so there is still room to get involved in this initiative. Again, we encourage donations to this campaign after one’s usual donation has been made to our operating fund.
December is traditionally a good month for donation income. We look forward to the blessings that the generosity of our constituency will bring us as we wrap up 2018.
Calendar of Events
*MHV Off-Season Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM*
November 10, Christmas Market – 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
November 10, Unveiling of Peace Monument – 2:00 PM
November 12, Garden Club: Art in the Garden – 7:00 PM
November 23, The Klassens, Paraguayan harp concert with dessert and coffee – 7:00 PM
November 26, The Russian Mennonite Story book launch – 7:00 PM
December 2, Vespers Service – 7:00 PM