Heritage fundraiser a united effort

Heritage fundraiser a united effort

Image Credit: Dave Mast

While owning and preserving valuable pieces of local history and important properties that keep Holmes County history alive might not be an achievable goal for the average person, there is a way for every individual to help keep local history alive and prospering.

Holmes County Heritage Partnership is a group of Holmes County nonprofit historical museums and arts organizations that formed six years ago to provide opportunity for people to invest in the county’s history one donation at a time.

One thing Holmes County is very good at is understanding the value in organizations and businesses working together to bring people to a community or the county.

For each of the members of Holmes County Heritage Partnership, working together has proven to be a valuable way of life and survival, especially during this recent pandemic.

HCHP was founded in 2015 when Sharon Strouse brought several nonprofits together to forge the partnership. By banding together, the partnership has created a way for nonprofits throughout Holmes County to raise funds collectively. Rather than promoting their individual organizations, they would unite and promote everything the county has to offer in the way of nonprofits.

“Our nonprofits are all the same, yet we are all different in our own unique ways, and this program has allowed us to work in unison to grow together,” said Mark Boley, director of the Holmes County Historical Society. “One of the most awesome things about Holmes County is that the people understand the value of supporting one another. People in our county recognize the value that our member nonprofits offer and are graciously willing to support us in our endeavor to give something positive back to the community.”

Boley said promoting the group as a whole and bringing awareness of what all the members have to offer to both locals and visitors of the county were paramount to the start-up and success of the organization.

“When you’re in it together, there is strength in numbers,” Boley said. “It lifts up the smaller groups who may not have the manpower or finances to promote themselves, and when we put all of our mailing lists into one central mailing list, we expand our target area to many more people. It also shows that we truly care about each other and the well-being of each of the partners. It’s not about competing with each other but working together toward a common goal.”

The group currently boasts seven nonprofit organizations including seven local museums and organizations: County Line Historical Society, the Holmes Center for the Arts, Holmes County Friends of the Library, Holmes County Genealogical Society, Holmes County Historical Society — under which both the Victorian House Museum and Millersburg Glass Museum fall — and the Killbuck Valley Historical Society and Museum. Joining the group this year is Clark Community Center, which has a loyal and committed board willing to do whatever they have to in making the center successful.

“It was an honor and privilege to even be considered to join the partnerships, and we are excited that they felt we were worthy of qualifying because we know what a blessing that has been for the members,” CCC President Cheryl Seabright said. “Not only will this help us financially, but it should help alert the people of Holmes County to what we are doing and everything we offer, and hopefully, it will help grow our volunteer base.”

Seabright said Carol Norman and Betty McNutt played critical roles in connecting the CCC with the partnership.

One thing the Heritage Partnership has done is make giving to the area members a breeze by allowing donors to send everything to one centralized place. Donors who receive one of the fundraising letters can simply select the organization or organizations they wish to support, and they can donate any amount they wish to contribute and break down their donation any way they want.

Option two is to donate anonymously, an option on the fundraising letter that allows donors to submit any amount to be processed evenly to each of the entities.

Last year the fundraiser brought in approximately $40,000, which aided each of the organizations and kept them vital. The fundraiser provides for each of the partnership members, and each of those members continues to express real gratitude to the community for its support.

It is the same for the Killbuck Valley Museum, where director Bob Porter said with very little income coming in, the Heritage Partnership plays a key role in providing a needed financial boost.

“I don’t know where we would be without the partnership,” Porter said. “For the smaller members like ourselves, this fundraising effort is critical.”

The letter fundraising campaign is truly a team effort, with individuals from all of the members participating. While the mailing list reaches between 1,300 and 1,500 people, those who don’t receive a letter are invited to donate.

Anyone wishing to do so can simply call Boley at 330-674-0022 to donate or request a donation form. Credit cards are now accepted, so donations can be taken over the phone, and receipts will be mailed to donors.

Checks or membership inquiries can be made out to Holmes County Heritage Partnership and mailed to P.O. Box 212, Millersburg, OH 44654. Another way people can donate is by becoming a member. These memberships are inexpensive and continue to be a lifeline for each of the organizations.

County Line Historical Society membership costs are $15 for an individual or $30 for a business or organization. Holmes County Friends of the Library membership is $15 for an individual, $20 for a family or $50 for a business. Holmes County Genealogical Society is $15 for an individual and $20 for a family. Holmes County Historical Society is $20 for individuals, $30 per family or businesses can become members for $50. A membership to Killbuck Valley Historical Society, Friends of the Museum is $5 per person, $10 per family and $30 per business.