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Director's Report March, 2002
- Fundraising Program Update: Without doubt March was very focused on the further development of the Commission’s new comprehensive fundraising program. The following briefly summarizes the work accomplished this month.
- Interviews were conducted by the Charles Bentz consulting team as progress continued to complete Phase I of the fundraising program which will include the solicitation of corporate and individual monies. Approximately 45 interviews were conducted to determine a leadership team, financial goals and implementation strategies.
- Discussions were also held regarding the benefit of coordinating and cooperating with Lewis & Clark-related fundraising efforts statewide. More such discussions are planned.
- Letters of support were written to Montana’s Congressional delegation to encourage funding support in the current session of Congress for the National Park Service’s Corps of Discovery II project.
- Three Congressional Appropriation Requests moved forward from our state Bicentennial office in hopes of securing funds for: A) the completion of a statewide Public Safety Plan, B) re-granting through the state Commission’s existing project grant program, and C) the implementation of the statewide Interpretive Sign Strategy.
- Some preliminary planning was done regarding the option of requesting proposals from vendors interested in partnering with the state Montana History Foundation and Commission to develop a limited merchandising program to increase the publicity and recognition of the new license plate image (lapel pins featuring the Commission’s “mountains & teepees” logo image may also be included).
- March 7th marked the start of planning for the Fall, 2002 Montana Lewis & Clark conference. This year’s conference will be held at the BW GranTree Inn in Bozeman on October 3rd & 4th. The state Commission will meet immediately prior to the conference. Gail Brockbank , with Premiere Planning, will once again work with Rita and four volunteers and the Commission’s Conference Committee to provide valuable planning leadership and coordination.
- On March 8th I was invited to join Hugh Ambrose, Michelle Bussard (the Executive Director of the National Bicentennial Council), and Jessica Jarratt (with the Metropolitan Group) in a meeting held in Helena. The Metropolitan Group was very recently hired by the National Council to work with communication, fundraising and marketing. This new firm will propose a detailed proposal to the Board meeting of the National Council in Lewiston, ID on April 12th. FYI – Jana Prewitt (formerly key Bicentennial contact on staff w/the DOI in Washington, DC) was also recently hired by the National Council to provide critical public relations coordination.
- During March I researched and explored options to secure assistance with grant administration. No final commitments have been made as yet (and won’t be until the FY’03 budget is presented and approved by the state Commission), but I am currently leaning toward proposing the hiring of a ½ time employee for this task. However, I am also visiting with Fish, Wildlife & Parks to see if ‘out-sourcing’ the Commission’s grant administration to their existing grants program makes sense. With three grant cycles presently in various stages, and more grant programs anticipated to be offered in the future, a new program management approach is warranted.
- Rita and I also worked this month to prepare for our participation in the upcoming 7th Annual National Bicentennial Planning Workshop. For the first time Montana will be represented with a booth display to highlight the many planning efforts within our state. COSA will meet in Lewiston on April 11th to discuss numerous topics of importance to Montana’s planning. I will also be a panelist in a breakout session to highlight how Montana’s Bicentennial Master Plan became a reality and how it has served to coordinate projects and activities.
- On March 30th I traveled to Bozeman to participate in the dedication of the new North 19th /I-90 Rest Area. This new rest area is a ‘prototype’ of the style of rest areas now being constructed in Montana, and features six Lewis & Clark interpretive signs along a sidewalk surrounding the rest area structure. The state Commission provided significant funding for the creation of these new signs in a 2000 grant award.
- On March 19th I met with Mary Boyle, the Publicity Coordinator for Travel Montana, to begin the discussions to develop a comprehensive publicity/PR campaign for Montana’s Bicentennial Observance. More on this effort in the near future.
- And finally, on March 25th I met with Jane Weber and Alex Swaney (Montana Arts Council) to review and strategize how both the visual and performing arts can be encouraged to be a part of Montana Bicentennial events and activities. This topic may be included as a session at the 2002 Montana Lewis & Clark Conference.
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