Dreamland Ballroom – Both Love and a Struggle
It has been 5 years since I started FOD, Friends of Dreamland Ballroom, and like so many people who launch a start-up say, “If I had known then what I know today, I probably wouldn’t have started it.” Well, I am no different.
This is not because it is a bad idea, but rather because it is soooooo much work. I had no idea that each year a quarter of my life would be devoted to raising funds, and fundraising for a non-profit that does not feed the hungry, save pitiful pets, or help children, is hard. My passion is old buildings. I love the old craftsmanship, the history, and stories that go with old buildings. For instance, the chipping plaster on the walls in Dreamland is made from pig and horse hairs. IKR!Â Isn’t that cool? When a chunk falls off the wall, you can pick it up and see the hairs sticking out that are binding it together. Today they would use fiberglass. And don’t get your tape measure out, because nothing is symmetrical. One window may be 70 inches wide and the window right next to it may be 80 inches. No prefab products in 1916.
The accomplishments of FOD and the restoration of Dreamland Ballroom have been successful. After 5 years we have:
- Secured the floor of Dreamland (that is 8000 sq ft of flooring) $60k
- Secured and updated the boxes, $25k
- Secured and updated the balcony, $8k
- Installed 2 restrooms, $10k
- Installed a server area, 2k
- Wired the whole place, 10 k
- Installed lighting
- Repaired the stage lights, 2k
- Architectural and engineer feasibility studies $20k
- Stairwell repairs and added a second set of stairs $5k
- Built a loyal following
- Created â€œDancing Into Dreamlandâ€ fundraiser
- Created “Pave the Way” fundraiser
- Published a book
- and more!
But we still have a lot to do. We have no elevator for the elderly and handicapped. They cannot see Dreamland Ballroom. We have no heat and air, which Dreamland needs to help better preserve her with temperature controls.
It is time for FOD to reinvent itself. We have accomplished much, and now we need to change our focus to something new. The old ways still matter but 2015 is going to be about working smarter, not harder.
Kerry McCoy is founder and president of FlagandBanner.com and owner of Taborian Hall where Dreamland resides. She is also publisher of Brave Magazine. If you would like to interview Kerry or have her speak at your event contact firstname.lastname@example.org.