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Director's Report April, 2002
- Fundraising Program Update: April again saw a significant amount of focus on the evolving fundraising campaign. Of special focus was the challenge of how to coordinate the various existing and projected Lewis & Clark fundraising efforts within Montana. The state Commission, in partnership with the Montana History Foundation, hosted meetings in April with representatives of the Pompeys Pillar Historical Association, the Great Falls Interpretive Center Foundation, and the Travelers’ Rest Historical Preservation Association to discuss how to work cooperatively to maximize efforts and to minimize confusion and competition. The Charles Bentz planning team has finalized its interview process and anticipates having their report for Phase I completed in early May. Things are happening rapidly in this arena; look for more information to come forward in the very near future regarding the Commission’s plans for implementation of Montana’s Bicentennial fundraising campaign.
- The Bicentennial license plate continued to sell well statewide. Through March 4,347 plates had been purchased. Please continue to promote! Thanks. On April 25th I traveled to Billings to address the TAC (training & communications) workshop attended by the County Treasurers from around the state. I was able to explain the intended use of plate sales and answered questions they had. Also during the month, the Commission distributed “personalized promotional” license plates to each regional commission and tribal government with the request that these plates be utilized to enhance local publicity (i.e. a raffle, newspaper or radio exposure, a presentation to a local celebrity, etc.).
NOTE: The state Commission is now selling “collector” license plates for $30 each. Please have interested buyers contact Rita to place their order (these non-vehicular plates can be personalized as well).
- To address the increasing need to acquire administrative support for the Commissions grant programs, an arrangement was struck during April to “out-source” this effort by expanding the partnership between the Commission and the Montana History Foundation (MHF). From mid-May through the end of this fiscal year Amy Baird, a soon-to-be-graduate of Carroll College, will work ½ time through the MHF to provide the desired grants administration. The Commission’s proposed budget for FY’03 will reflect that this arrangement would continue. Amy has been working part time for the Montana Historical Society as its Membership Coordinator. We very much look forward to having Amy join the Commission “team.”
- On April 6th I made a breakfast presentation to the Montana Cattlewomans Association. They were conducting their annual conference in Helena.
- Rita and I both traveled to Lewiston, Idaho, to participate in numerous Lewis & Clark-related meetings:
- On the 11th the Circle of State Advisors met and among many topics discussed was state participation in the upcoming National Signature Event to be held at Monticello, Virginia, from January 14th –19th, 2003. Montana will join numerous other states in having a prominent display booth, and possibly hosting a media opportunity. COSA also discussed the National Park Service’s Corps of Discovery II project. It was also decided to work with the State Travel Directors to determine the feasibility of having a second “interest & awareness” study conducted. The Circle of State Advisors also met on the 11th, but I was unable to attend and so am unable to offer a summary update.
- On Friday, April 12th I attended, in part, meetings of both the National Bicentennial Council and the State Travel Directors. Of prime focus of the National Council was their decision to move forward with hiring the Metropolitan Group to develop and implement a communications and fundraising program. The State Travel Directors shared updates on their respective marketing efforts as well as decided to explore the costs and anticipated benefits of conducting a second round of a “Bicentennial Interest & Awareness” study. Idaho is taking the lead on the research project; Montana, through the Institute of Tourism & Recreation Research, will partner in a new study if sufficient interest is demonstrated by other states.
- The 7th Annual Bicentennial Planning Workshop was then held on Saturday and Sunday. To me the most impressive areas of this year’s workshop (in addition to the efforts of the host committee) was a session on how the Corps of Discovery II would make location and set-up decisions, and the vendor show. It was very impressive to see just how large the Corps II “footprint” really is, and to visualize the many great products being made and marketed already for the upcoming Commemoration. Great Falls will host a meeting of the key planning groups in April of 2003 (it is presently undecided whether the format for the 2003 meetings will also have a workshop format as in previous years, and/or have a similar vendor show).
- Upon returning from Lewiston, Idaho I met with Kit Kimball and Robbie Wilbur from the Department of Interior on April 16th to review areas of concern that the state Commission may have with Bicentennial planning involving DOI agencies. I believe it was eye opening for Kit and Robbie to get an overview of the scope of involvement that the DOI has in Montana with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Both pledged to elevate and possibly prioritize various Montana issues within their agency.
- On April 17-19th I attended the annual Governor’s Travel & Tourism Conference held this year in West Yellowstone. I moderated a Lewis & Clark session featuring Peggy Bourne and Jeffrey Dietz, the coordinators for Montana’s two National Signature Events (Discovering the Big Sky; 2005, and Clark on the Yellowstone; 2006). Interest in Montana’s travel industry is continually rising as the Bicentennial nears.
- In an effort to enhance the public relations and publicity of the Bicentennial I was interviewed in late April by KBLL, a local Helena radio station who wanted to run a week-long series on Lewis & Clark. And, to compliment that effort the Helena-based Independent Record ran a feature Lewis & Clark article on Sunday, April 28.
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