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Director's Report June, 2003
Fundraising Campaign Update:As of the end of this month the total of gifts and pledges reached $708,000. A very significant pledge of $25,000 was secured from one individual. Work continued to establish a new Regional Coordinator in the Missoula/Western Montana area; an August 1st date has been targeted for that contracted service to be initiated. Stephanie Lang, the Campaign Office’s Manager these past number of months left to take another position in early June. With her leaving came the task of hiring a new office manager and campaign associate. Mary Asbach was selected from the numerous applicants to fill this position starting in mid-July. The Coordinating Committee met via a conference call on Monday, June 23 to get a brief campaign update and to review progress being made.
- Publicity Update:
- Tom Cook and I met in June to discuss the various options available for the state Commission’s recently sanctioned Publicity/PR campaign. Tom will immediately draft an Implementation Plan Outline to delineate such activities as sponsoring a TV and/or radio program, drafting pertinent press releases and enhancing the new electronic press kit.
- I was interviewed by KXLF (CBS) TV on June 26th as part of a report on overall visitor trends in Montana.
NOTE: In researching for this interview I found that interest and inquiries are up substantially at key Lewis & Clark sites around the state this summer.
- On Monday, June 30th, I was interviewed by the local KBLL radio station in Helena on their “Coffee Break” show.
- Work continued in June on two Challenge Cost Share grants the state Commission had partnered with the Montana Tourism & Recreation Initiative (MTRI) to secure. The first grant was actually some funding not claimed by a Montana recipient from the 2001 CCS program. That $10,000 will now be utilized to place new Gateway Interpretive Signs in 13 additional highway rest areas. The Montana Department of Transportation committed to provide the installation costs as the grant match. Posters will also be made of the sign’s design. The second CCS grant I worked on this month was the recently awarded 2003 grant ($20,000) for continuing the implementation of the Interpretive Sign Strategy in five more regional bicentennial commission areas. A special Corridor Planning Workshop will be held in July to assist these regional commissions in planning for signs in their respective areas.
- Planning for Montana’s 5th Annual Lewis & Clark conference moved into a higher gear this month. This year’s theme is “Many Cultures-One Land,” and is designed to build on the success of the recently completed national “Confluence of Cultures” symposium. Work now is focused on confirming speakers and performers. A “Mark Your Calendar” postcard was mailed the last week of June. If you would like additional information contact the state Commission office or Gail Brockbank, the conference planner, at 406-442-4141. Sponsorships and vendor display booths are available. Anticipate receiving conference registration materials in mid to late July.
- On June 7th I traveled to the James Kipp Recreation Area (north of Lewistown, where Hwy. 191 crosses the Missouri River) for the fifth annual Missouri River Encampment. It was a great event with six Indian lodges and an equal number of Lewis & Clark “lean-to’s” set-up for visitors to inspect. Lunch was buffalo burgers and more extras than one’s plate could hold. The encampment actually ran the 7th and the 8th, with Indian dancing both days. This annual event is co-sponsored by Fort Belknap and the Missouri Breaks Regional Bicentennial Commission.
- I met with Rick Hays, the President of Montana Qwest, on June 10th to discuss some sponsorship/grant ideas that Qwest may be interested in partnering with. No firm decisions were made, but it was great to know that Qwest may once again be interested in working on Bicentennial projects in Montana.
- The July 2003 edition of the Commission’s “journal notes” newsletter was drafted, printed and distributed this month.
- On June 16, 17, 18 I traveled to Glendive, Sidney, Culbertson, Wolf Point, Glasgow, and to Boheiman Corners to meet with regional commissions and the planning committee for the 2005 “Lewis & Clark at the Confluence” event. These local committees are doing great things in preparation for the Bicentennial. Most regional commission meeting notes are posted on the state Commission’s web site at: www.montanalewisandclark.org (then to Chapters and Commissions).
- When Rita’s allergies kick into high gear it’s finally springtime in Helena, and is time to sit down and prepare her annual performance review. To absolutely no one’s surprise, her efforts rated as “Excellent” again this year. Rita, thank you for all you do for the state Commission and others throughout Montana’s Lewis & Clark “family.”
- The Commission’s Grants Committee met via a conference call on Wednesday, June 25th to review the Commission’s financial status in relationship to being able to fund the five remaining, most highly rated project grant applications for 2003. It was agreed to recommend that those five remaining project grants be funded as proposed by the Grants Committee at the Commission’s February, 2003 meeting. The Executive Committee of the state Commission was then polled to see if they concurred with this recommendation. The Executive Committee voted unanimously to accept the Grants Committee’s funding recommendation. Presently the paperwork is now being finalized to distribute those funds.
NOTE: While convened, the Grants Committee discussed possible changes to the 2004 grants programs. If anyone has suggestions for change or modification, please contact one of the Commission’s Grant Committee members, and/or send those thoughts to the Commission office in Helena.
- In late June I was contacted by the National Trust for Historical Preservation regarding the new Interpretive Sign Strategy now being implemented in Montana. The Trust had become familiar with this strategy (although I’m not sure how), and wanted more information for a project in the Bay Area in California. Congrats to the interagency MTRI Focus Team, communities and agencies that have taken that strategy and turned it into a reality that may be a template for groups outside of Montana.
- On June 26th I traveled to Great Falls to meet with the Montana Tribal Tourism Alliance (MTTA) to discuss primarily the details of their partnership with the state Commission for the upcoming Fall Conference in Lewistown.
- On June 27th I traveled to Lolo Pass to participate in the official grand opening of the new Visitor Center at that location. That same day a special memorial plaque was dedicated in memory of the late Stephen Ambrose. The creation and placement of the plaque was a joint effort of the Montana and Idaho Bicentennial Commissions. Stephanie Ambrose-Tubbs and her mother, Mora, were in attendance and offered some very personal and touching comments. Hal Stearns represented the state Commission, and spoke of the gift that Stephen Ambrose had of bringing history to life for millions of people.
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