By Tim Leeds
A week after an anonymous pledge saved the H. Earl and Margaret Turner Clack Foundation's Heritage Center from possibly closing, the boards of the foundation and the H. Earl Clack Museum have begun working together to come up with more money to keep the center going.
The boards held a rare joint meeting Monday evening and formed a fund-raising committee.
The foundation announced last week it had received a pledge from a local anonymous donor for $15,000, the amount it needs to pay to the city of Havre so the city can make a final mortgage payment to the U.S. Postal Service. The foundation had previously announced it didn't have the money for the payment and feared the Postal Service would take back possession of the old Havre Post Office, which houses the Heritage Center.
Foundation board members said the pledge didn't eliminate their money troubles and that more money is needed for future operating expenses.
Gary Wilson, vice president of the foundation board, said fair manager Mike Spencer told him the foundation can have a space to use at the fair. The members of the boards formed the committee to start planning activities there, including a possible raffle, an information and donation location for the foundation, and a 50-50 drawing in which the winner and the foundation would split the money from the ticket sales.
The board members said they will plan to hold a kiss-the-pig contest during Festival Days. Leonard said she participated in that kind of contest about eight years ago to raise money for tourism. Prominent community members were nominated to kiss a pig, she said, and the "winner" was selected by how much money was donated into each contestant's collection jar.
Wilson said the foundation has activities planned for the community through November. The activities include a children's hands-on Native American arts and crafts class Saturday, a hands-on children's tour of Wahkpa Chu'gn bison kill site and lectures and celebrity luncheons.
Wilson said last week the foundation has received about $18,500 in donations, including the anonymous pledge. Foundation board member Ardelle Hurlburt said that was only enough to pay the foundation's bills through August, including meeting the Aug. 30 deadline for the $15,000 lease payment. There would be nothing left for September, she added.
Leonard told the members of the boards they should be holding an annual fund-raising event.
Wilson agreed, saying, "People don't mind giving money if they think they're getting something in return."