Happy Summer AWHM Friends!
I want my message to you this month, again, to be one of transparency. Hey! We are finally open again. Many things have happened since March 10, 2020 when we shut our doors in response to the Covid-19 Emergency, and I want to make sure that you are all informed.
- Our partners, Shore Gallery, were forced to cease their operation at the cottage when we closed the doors. During the time that we were closed, the Board of Directors voted to suspend Shore Gallery’s rent until they were able to operate. They are up and running in the cottage again. If you have not had a chance to visit the space, I encourage you to do so. I am happy to share that all of our members will receive a discount of between 10%-20%, depending on membership level on purchases. In addition, all patrons are available to add a donation for the museum upon checkout.
- We have not had a very good start to our “Season” so far this year. All of our events had to be cancelled for Spring and Summer; many of which would have produced significant revenue for the museum. Martha Davenport had spent most of the last two years lining up and booking these events. The cancellation of these events cost the museum about $13,000. Fortunately, we were able to close out our Winter season with a cocktail party, hosted by Mark and Margie Cromwell that netted the museum about $16,000. Thank you Martha, Mark and Margie for all of your hard work.
- Speaking of funding, I wanted to share that our Community Organization Grant that is provided to us by the City of Virginia Beach has been fully funded for the upcoming fiscal year despite the many setbacks that have been caused by the pandemic. This grant plays a large role in our operations for the museum and a reduction to this grant is something that we have faced before. We are very blessed to have great support from City Council members Barbara Henley, Rosemary Wilson, Michael Berlucchi, Jim Wood, Louis Jones, Arron Rouse, and Mayor Bobby Dyer. This is great news moving forward! I also want to thank our Director, Lynn Hightower, for obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program Loan from the Small Business Administration that is completely forgivable and becomes a grant if we are able to spend all of the money on salaries and utilities. This will provide us with $10,871.60 in additional revenue this fiscal year.
- We have been granted a Conditional Use Permit by the City Council to use the museum and its grounds as a venue for weddings, concerts, parties, reunions or business retreats. This opens the door for us to generate a large amount of revenue. If we can just survive the pandemic and civil unrest. Our de Witt, is a PRIME location for special celebrations and provides a revenue opportunity that we MUST capitalize on.
We have much to celebrate but also still face some challenges. As always, I thank each of you for your continued support of the AWHM and the Back Bay Wildfowl Guild. If you would like to become more involved, we always welcome volunteers at the museum. If you can’t give of your time, we greatly appreciate any financial gift you feel so moved to pledge to the museum. All gifts are tax deductible. Please contact Lynn for more information. All for now. As a reminder, I welcome your feedback, questions, or comments and look forward to seeing you later in the Fall at our next Guild meeting.
Jason Seward (firstname.lastname@example.org)