The September 12 fundraising gala that the Foggy Bottom West End Village is sponsoring has prompted many people to ask: Why do you need a fundraiser? Why aren't our annual membership fees enough? Susan B. Haight, President of the FBWE Village Board of Directors, has the answers to those questions and more. Here is a summary of her remarks:
Why do we need a fundraiser?
We need to raise additional monies because the membership fees we collect each year do not cover the cost of operating our village. There are many recurring costs such as staff salary and payroll taxes, office supplies, utilities, liability insurance, programming costs, accounting, and legal and licensing fees. We also have to cover the cost of communications and materials needed to market the village.
But we pay annual membership fees of up to $900 per household. Isn't that enough to cover the village costs?
The short answer is no - it's not enough. Membership fees cover approximately 40 percent of our operating costs. We rely on donations and gifts to cover the other 60 percent. The fundraising gala can help us pay our operating expenses and make us more sustainable.
Can't you reduce expenses?
Not really. If you look at our expenses, some are startup costs. But most are very basic. Some expenses may go down over time, but others, like liability insurance, are sure to increase. We will never collect enough fees to cover the expenses needed to provide all the services that are needed. That's why we are having the gala fundraiser.
How much do you hope to make from the September 12 gala?
Our goal is to clear in excess of $20,000 after expenses.
Is the money I spend for gala tickets and events tax deductible?
Yes - up to a point. The amount of any tax deduction will depend on a set amount that covers goods and services and these are listed on the gala website page.
What is the difference between the gala fundraiser and the Founding Donors Campaign Fund?
The gala fundraiser is to help us cover operating expenses. The Founding Donors Campaign Fund was launched in 2014 to start a prudent reserve fund that will enable us to build a solid financial foundation for the village.
What was the village budget for 2014?
During 2014 - our first full year of operation - the village had $141,083 in revenue and $127,693 in expenses, leaving us with a surplus of $13,390. That surplus helps us build a reserve to manage the ebb and flow of future revenues and expenses. We are in the process of finalizing our Annual Report which will be posted on our website and we will also provide a print version for members who don't have or use the Internet.
Can you explain why we even need a village for the Foggy Bottom West End neighborhood?
The Washington metropolitan area has about 57 villages in different stages of development. The oldest and biggest is the Capitol Hill village. We launched our village in 2013 and we are one of the newest. We are a nonprofit volunteer / membership organization and like the other villages, we provide services and social activities to help residents live independently for the long term. In short, the villages try to help people age in their homes. Each of the villages serves different communities. The Dupont Circle Village, for example, has many more houses and single family homes than Foggy Bottom West End. We have more high-rise buildings and only a few single-family homes and townhouses. This makes a difference in the services that are needed. Our village boundaries mirror those of ANC2-A, our Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
How big is the FBWE Village?
We have 160 members but our goal is 250. We have different kinds of memberships. Some are social and others are standard which entitles members to an array of services such as transportation, in-home services and help with technology. There is much more information about the village, its mission and services, as well as its programs on our website, I hope everyone will support the gala with their attendance, and purchases, as I am confident that we will have a wonderful time - and All That Jazz.