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Director's Report December, 2001
- In early December Rita accepted two invitations to participate in grant writing workshops. On the 3rd Rita was in Great Falls to speak to a group assembled at the Great Falls Interpretive Center, and on the 4th she was in Missoula at the request of the BLM to address a similar group interested in learning more about grant writing. On both occasions Rita gave an informative overview and answered specific questions regarding the Commission's project grant program. Attendance at both locations was good and those in attendance were very interested in improving their grant writing abilities.
- Throughout the month of December development and review continued on the Bicentennial License Plate marketing plan. A "Marketing Summary" was prepared by H20 advertising and distributed to state Commission members and Regional Commissions on December 12th. This summary outlines the various marketing components to be implemented in early 2002 to promote sales of this new plate. It is strongly suggested and encouraged that all involved with the Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial statewide assist in this marketing effort. Please contact our state office with any questions and/or suggestions.
- On December 3rd I met with Pam Gosink, the interim director at Travel Montana, to discuss marketing strategies. Among these strategies was the possible participation of Travel Montana and the state Commission in the National Signature Events to be held nationwide, and the four-state cooperative marketing plan that Travel Montana is currently a part of (WA, OR, ID, MT).
NOTE: since this meeting, Betsy Baumgart was named as the new full time director for Travel Montana. As the newest member of the state Commission, Betsy will offer a more complete review of Travel Montana's Bicentennial marketing plan during the February 12th Commission meeting in Dillon.
- On December 6th, Sara Groves and I met with Mike Oliver to discuss possible fundraising strategies with the Montana Congressional delegation. Mike and I will arrange meetings in the immediate future with Senator Burns, Senator Baucus and Representative Rehberg's offices to better determine their respective interests in carrying Lewis & Clark-related appropriation requests forward in 2002.
- I submitted a final report to the National Park Service on December 7th for the $10,000 Challenge Cost Share Grant the state Commission received in 2001 for the initial development of Montana's Public Safety Plan. The state Commission will again work with the Montana Sheriff's and Peace Officers' Association in submitting a CCS application in 2002 for Phase II of this planning effort.
- The movers are coming on January 18th!! After months of looking (and waiting), the state Commission office will relocate to a larger space. Our new location will be in the Capital Plaza (just south of the Capital Hill Shopping Center, and just east of the Department of Commerce building). Our phone number and mailing address will be un-changed; look for the new site location address to come your way via an e-mail update (we right now don't know our Suite #).
- In preparation for making a formal application for a Board of Investment Loan (an 'advance' of future sales of the new license plate), we have been working with the accounting folks at the Montana Historical Society to prepare our "best estimate" for a projected cash flow from now through the end of the current fiscal year. This projection will be the basis for the amount of loan to be applied for in late January. The state Commission will finalize the necessary loan documents during its February meeting.
- The Montana Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission's fundraising consulting firm, Charles H. Bentz Associates, Inc. continued to develop the Case Statement for the upcoming Leadership Planning Study. Using material provided by a number of stakeholders including Bicentennial Commission staff, Travel Montana, the Montana History Foundation, and various Lewis & Clark experts, the Case Statement will describe the importance of supporting Bicentennial projects and the long-term benefits of a successful Bicentennial commemoration. The document will be completed and distributed to Commission members in January.
- John Bentz, Vice President of Bentz Associates, visited Helena December 11 and 12. The purpose of this visit was to assist the Commission in building a comprehensive interview list for the Leadership Planning Study. People interviewed during the Study will include individuals already involved in the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial and philanthropic, corporate, and political leaders throughout the state. The input of these influential individuals will be presented in Study results and ultimately will aid in the development of a campaign plan.
- A press conference was held with Governor Martz and Lt. Governor Ohs on December 17th to announce the new Bicentennial license plate. This new plate will officially go on sale statewide on January 2, 2002. Press kits and brochures will be sent to Regional Commissions, Chapters and MTTA contacts in early January with the request for these local groups to approach news contacts for enhanced publicity. In addition, local groups are encouraged to seek appropriate businesses and/or utility companies for inclusion of a special 4x5" insert announcing these new plates. Please contact our office for more information.
- On December 19th I was interviewed by a writer who is drafting Bicentennial stories for both Sunset Magazine and National Geographic. Both of these publications are working in partnership with the National Bicentennial Council.
- On December 20th I met with Jane Weber and Peggy Bourne regarding the planning progress of the 2005 Discovering the Big Sky Signature Event. Peggy Bourne works for the City of Great Falls, as has very recently been "assigned" the duties as the new director of the Great Falls Signature Event planning committee. Welcome aboard Peggy!
- In an effort to update the Commission's Resource Directory, Dave Walter with the Montana Historical Society is presently reviewing (and updating) the Suggested Reading list. Look for more information on that to come out soon.
- A special note of thanks to Rita for staffing the office solo the last week of the month as I took most of that week off. Among many other tasks, Rita sorted and prepared the 44 project grant applications that we received by the December 21st deadline prior to sending them to the grant review and scoring committee. Grant recipients will be announced during the February 12th state Commission meeting.
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