August 3 marked the the first meeting of the Finance sub-committee, whose members are are Chris Cox (Chair), Brent Eugenides, Kristin Clarke and Penny Newbury. The committee discussed how it could best accomplish its assigned tasks for the new 501 c 3:
- secure an interim fiduciary agent
- create a fundraising plan
- create an operating budget and capital budgets
- set up a bookkeeping system to track grants and report financials
Jim Butler, Executive Director of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SECCOG) agreed to have his agency be the interim fiduciary until the new agency was incorporated, so that’s great.
The sub-committee then discussed the need to have more information from the Governance Committee regarding the mission and vision of the new agency, in order to create a fundraising plan and fiscal/budget forms and report templates that would match the scope of services offered by the new agency. We hope to hear from them soon!
However, some things can be done right now: Kristin is a Board member of the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, which promotes arts, history and cultural sites in the region and whose structure may be similar to that of the new agency’s. So we’re going to look at their budget templates and charts of accounts for some guidance. Additionally, it may be possible to share some resources and/or office space in the near future, since the two agencies complement each other in many ways, CCC being promotional and advocacy-based in nature, and the TRHP agency taking on more of an oversight and programing role, in addition to marketing and promoting the sites in the borderless park.
There are many parts to the THRP budget, the two main components being the infrastructure creation budget and the ongoing administration/programming budget. Obviously, many pieces of infrastructure have to be in place first, starting with two things: the water taxi, to transport people between the sites, and a signage study to determine the design, size and placement plan of all THRP signs on both sides of the river and all approaches. As we mentioned in the previous post, the legislature has granted the Transition team $100,000 per year for two years as initial startup funding; much of this first year funding will go to retrofitting the water taxis for use by next spring/summer.
Prior to its first meeting, members of the Transition Team investigated the submittal of a State Urban Act Grant proposal, to cover the cost of the sign study as well as initial infrastructure projects including the water taxi operations budget and a van to take visitors up to Fort Griswold and then over to the Nautilus exhibit.
The subcommittee agreed that the creation of a four-year budget would be sufficient to start, and the Chair will begin to form a fundraising (revenue) plan citing appropriate line items and approximate dollar amounts. Some possibilities included The Connecticut Humanities Council and the National Endowment of the Humanities, as well as the regional LEARN regional education service center, which could possibly provide funding or collaboration in educational programs that tell the story of the region through its parks.
First, however, the sub-committee plans to meet on August 18th with Penny Parsekian, who has been with the TRHP since its inception, and Pam Adams, who was Director of the Connecticut State Parks System. Both will be able to provide insight into what services and activities the State Parks System hopes that the new agency will provide. With this information as well as the new mission and vision of the agency, we can better form an outline of the fundraising plan, with sequential steps.