Chairman’s Update – May 13, 2015

Bill Rivers began the meeting by briefing the Board on three recent meetings/events:

  • The City Council passed the FY 2016 budget for the City with its associated 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). FY 2017 of the CIP includes $2.3 million for a new pool at Warwick and FY 2017 and FY 2018 include approximately $20 million for Chinquapin (plus our $2.5 million contribution in FY 2018).  In the discussion on the budget, the City also confirmed that there was $150,000 in the FY 2015 budget to start work on Warwick.
  • Carolyn and Bill are meeting with the City staff and DASH bus officials about how to transport kids from the closed Warwick pool area to Old Town this summer.
  • There was a meeting with the Potomac Marlins, City staff and AAA regarding a cover for the Old Town pool to make it a year round venue.  It was estimated that it would cost about $ 1million to do that (including winterizing the bathhouse, adding pool heaters, etc.). The Marlins felt that they could generate revenue for the City through use of the pool, but that they didn’t have any start-up capital to contribute. Further discussions will be held with the company that does pool enclosures (particularly structured membranes), but there is no active plan to convert Old Town at this point.

He then passed on Bob’s comments about the financial status of AA:

  • There is a balance of $7,512.48 in AAA’s checking account.
  • The ACT 4 Alexandria Day of Giving generated a total of $3,990.00 through Razoo and a matching donation by check from Simpson Development.       After Razoo administrative fees, we netted $3,908.04.
  • There are no outstanding invoices or expenses at this time.

Carolyn then briefed the group on the status of the USA Swimming “Make a Splash” program.

  • Significant progress has been made. She has been working with City staff and Barry Marlin of the Potomac Marlins Swim Club.
  • The City of Alexandria and the Potomac Marlins Swim Club are now local partners.
  • City participation has been approved through the City attorney and other appropriate offices.
  • We will have a year to implement the program and then start qualifying for grants and the Make a Splash Tour.
  • Focused on providing swimming lessons to all, with particular emphasis on minority children.

Melynda then gave an update on the “Spring for Alexandria” event on Friday, May 15. This is a day that volunteers help clean up and beautify the City. AAA is scheduled to work at the Old Town pool between 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm. Bring cleaning and gardening supplies.

The discussion then moved on to fund-raising and how we would reach our $2.5 million goal for Chinquapin.   Bill reviewed the sources of funds for the Miracle League Field and the Ruthanne Lodato Accessible Playground.

He then indicated that he felt AAA needed to have pledges for at least $ 1 million by the next budget cycle for City Council to approve use of the City funds for Chinquapin. The balance of the $1.5 million would be raised in the following year.

Bill and Melynda briefed the group on the bids from two graphic designers for the large donor packages. Both bids were for around $3,000.   They suggested that we scale back the proposed package and see if the designer (s) could produce something for $500 or $1,000. This could be individual pages that we would put in a portfolio to hand out based upon the anticipated interests of the prospective donor (i.e. competitive swimmers may be drawn to the use of an Olympic Trial pool, while others may be more interested in extending learn-to-swim opportunities for children in Alexandria).

The group agreed to the scale back and felt that the saved money could be better spent on other initiatives to highlight AAA actions. Melynda will contact a designer and see what their reaction would be to the smaller project.

Bill proposed that we divide the board into two groups: one would focus on actions to increase the visibility of AAA and the Chinquapin initiative while the other would focus on contacting the potential large donors. He expanded the proposal to set up the two groups as one led by Craig with Laura, Roger, Jeanne, Dennis, and Mary Lou to develop a list of actions within two weeks to raise visibility. Those actions could then be done by the expanded membership of AAA (maybe using an on-line sign-up service such as Sign-Up Genius). The other group would be Melynda, Bob, Carolyn, Bill and Dennis who would focus on visiting the large donors.

Bill indicated that specific people were needed for each group to get the goals accomplished. Based upon the initial work done by Roger and Aaron on trying to establish contact points for larger donors, it became obvious that it would take some time working with each organization to target and reach the best contact.

He gave an example of the progress that he and Melynda have made with St. Stephens/St. Agnes. They had an initial contact from the Miracle League who set up a meeting with a set of interested parents at the school. Bill and Melynda met with them and convinced them that this was a worthwhile project. Those parents then approached the school for a meeting. Bill and Melynda will attend that meeting. This process has gotten them to at least meet with the right people, but it has taken a couple of months already. And it would not have been possible if they had not known that initial contact. At most large donors, we won’t know an initial contact so we will have to work hard to find a way to get to the right people.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. The next meeting will be Wednesday, June 3 , at 7:00 p.m. at Chinquapin.

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