During last Sunday’s heavy rainfall, we observed a number of leaks in the roof of the Livery Barn Restaurant (LBR). It’s both embarrassing and dangerous to have water-collection buckets standing on the floor of the restaurant during one of our busiest days of the week. It’s also good to know that our guests come to enjoy the ethnic cuisine, social time with friends, and good customer service. The condition of the roof is not foremost on their minds.

We have known for some time that the life of the LBR roof is nearing its end. Repairs have stretched its life for the last several years, but it looks like we will need to “bite the bullet” and replace the roofing material entirely. Our first cost estimate for the job is $33,000.

We’ve also been patching the flat roof above our galleries and artifacts storage rooms for a number of years, and by now it’s also showing a lot of wear. For the last several years we’ve actually done the same repairs annually. We have been advised that a more substantial rebuild is needed, estimated to cost $5000.

This brings me to the subject of fundraising. While we raise between 50% and 60% of our budget through our business activities (admission, gift-shop sales, food-services revenue and facility rentals), we still need to raise between 20% and 25% through donations and fundraising activities. The balance of our revenue comes from government grants.

Fundraising activities include the Tractor Trek, which is a joint venture between MHV and Eden Foundation; our golf tournament; waffle sales at Summer in the City; and festival sponsorships. When we have projects such as painting the windmill or restoring a heritage building, we invite individuals and organizations to partner with us financially. Often there is government grant money available to support these partnerships as well. Our MHV Auxiliary is also a very effective and valuable fundraising arm of MHV.

Once a year we write a letter to past supporters, members and volunteers and invite them to make undesignated cash donations which can be used where needed most.

Anyone who values the work of MHV can be supportive simply by promoting MHV and bringing family and friends to visit the museum and enjoy the LBR’s ethnic cuisine. More focused support can be provided in a number of ways. Make a cash donation. Stop by our debit machine and make an electronic donation. Arrange for a monthly pre-authorized debit from your bank account. Register a team in our golf tournament. Sponsor a tractor driver (or several) in the Tractor Trek. Sign up to sponsor the restoration of a heritage building. Buy a life insurance policy and name MHV as the beneficiary. Or name MHV in your will.

The Dalnavert Museum in Winnipeg has recently closed its doors due to lack of operating funds. The news media has reported that this museum was largely dependent on one supporter. When that support was withdrawn, not surprisingly the museum was in trouble. MHV is fortunate to have numerous supporters. No donor or grantor provides more than 10% of our budget. Only the Province of Manitoba provides more than 5%. Our support base is broad, and we want to keep it that way. Even the support of long-time donors eventually comes to an end. Hence we are always looking for new people to engage in the work of MHV.

About the Author

Gary is responsible for the overall management of MHV. Guiding the staff, informing the board, and networking with officials, volunteers, corporate sponsors, individual donors and other guests. He has a business diploma and a MA in Global Studies from Providence Theological Seminary. With his family he did humanitarian work for 18 years in Asia, including being a CEO of a Compost Enterprise in China. He loves to discuss the Mennonite story and how it is relevant in our world. Learn more about the MHV.

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