The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

August 26, 2012

Funds in check at arts center | Annual operating budget is $210,000

BY TOM LAVIS
TLAVIS@TRIBDEM.COM

— Like many nonprofit organizations, the Community Arts Center of Cambia County is dealing with finances the best it can in order to continue providing quality programs and exhibitions.

But the arts center is in better financial condition than many others.

Under the leadership of John Augustine of Davidsville, treasurer and founder of Central Contractors Supply Co. of Johnstown, the organization has been able to fulfill its mission.

Augustine’s responsibilities include signing all checks, reviewing investments and discussing the investments with the board of directors’ finance committee, which meets three times a year.

The annual budget for the arts center is $210,000.

The bulk of the money is spent on programming and operating expenditures.

“Our utility bills are very high,” said Rose Mary Hagadus, executive director.

“We are very frugal when it comes to turning off lights and monitoring the use of heat and air conditioning.”

Hagadus said every dollar saved can be used for programming.

“Fees charged for classes cover only the instructor’s fee and supplies,” Hagadus said.

“Eighty-six percent of our money comes from private funding that includes individual memberships, our seven fundraisers throughout the year and family foundations.”

She said no contribution is too small.

“Each $5, $10 or $25 gift adds up and really makes a difference for us,” she said.

Hagadus said the arts center is fortunate not to have any mortgage or long-term debt.

“When we built the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center in 1988 at a cost of $680,000, we incurred no debt,” Hagadus said.

Money came from Martin Goldhaber, a career Pepsi man and former owner of the local bottling plant in Johnstown, and the Jacob Fend Foundation of Johnstown.

Major tasks facing the board include growing the nonprofit’s endowment fund and renovating the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center, which is nearly 25 years old.

“The building needs major repairs and we have developed a three- to five-year plan to address replacement of the roof, painting and improve the parking lot,” Hagadus said.

The arts center generates funds in several ways, but the largest private contributions come from its sustaining fund drive with a goal each year of $30,000.

While the community has been most generous through the years, the 2011 fund drive did not reach its goal.

“The Log House Festival is our second-largest fundraiser,” Hagadus said.

“Other events to generate money come from the Holly Bazaar, the Basket Bonanza, our annual book sale, the Great American Auction and Terri Lynn nut sales during the holidays.”

An arts center membership costs $11, which allows for a 10 percent discount when taking part in individual classes.

The arts center boasts 1,200 members.

“We keep the prices low to attract more students and adults, which translates into more users for the arts center,” Hagadus said.

However, the arts center relies on contributions, corporate support and grants from foundations.

“At one time, we received a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts grant of $15,000,” Hagadus said.

“It has been cut to $6,800, and we have to scramble to find ways to make up that shortfall.”

When it comes to the finances, the arts center relies on an endowment to ensure that it will be viable in years to come.

“We have never touched the interest on the principal in order to allow the endowment to continue to grow,” Hagadus said.

“We have been able to retain prices while expanding programs and introduce new elements,” Hagadus said.

“We are very proud that we have been able to maintain a high level of programming and see what we started many years ago continue to grow.”

Hagadus said another way to keep expenditures in check is relying on a dedicated corps of volunteers.

“The volunteers do many of the chores that would occupy the time of staff,” Hagadus said.

“The Community Arts Center would be in a difficult position financially if it were not for the generosity of people giving of their time and talent.”

Volunteers play a key role in keeping the arts center going.

“We have a base of seven volunteers who come in every week, and when we have a special event, there is a group of about 225 people who lend a hand,” Hagadus said.

The future looks bright.

“We feel that we have proven our viability in the community,” Hagadus said.

“The Community Arts Center is on solid financial ground, and we want to continue keeping it that way.”

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