Good news has happened again for our non-profit, Friends Of Dreamland (FOD). Shortly after the coronavirus outbreak, while we were all still trying to get our footing and wondering what was going to happen to our world and our jobs, Friends of Dreamland got some great news.
The phone rang from a number I did not recognize. Even still, I always answer my phone. And, boy, am I glad I did! On the other end of the line was Congressman French Hill. At first, I thought it was possibly a courtesy call to small business owners offering coronavirus instructions. After we exchanged niceties, he unveiled the good news and purpose of the call. He said, “The National Park Service (NPS) has just announced, once again, that Friends of Dreamland was awarded another $499,000 grant to finish the elevator access project to make Dreamland Ballroom ADA compliant.” He also told me to keep the news under wraps until the NPS makes their formal announcement. Last week, in a national press release, they listed the winning recipients of the Civil Rights Grant and now I am shouting from the roof top the good news and thanking all that helped make this happen.
In an earlier blog titled Don’t Give Up Before the Miracle Happens I wrote about the drudgery and the highs and lows of continuing to pursue ones dreams and careers. It was 1990 when I fell in love with the old broken-down red brick building, called the Taborian Hall, with a hole in its roof big enough to land a helicopter and visible from the I-630 freeway. That was 30 years ago. It wasn’t until 2009 that I realized and had to accept that I would never have the funds to restore the Dreamland on my own and needed help. With many of my good friends and some FlagandBanner.com employees, past and current, we founded the Friends of Dreamland and began to teach ourselves about the business of non-profits and grant writing.
It Takes a Village
As an ol’ capitalist and sole proprietor who is used to calling the shots, the change in thinking from profit to non-profit was hard for me. After a few years, I stepped down from the board and turned it over to those who know best. But, as suggested in the photo from the AR Democrat Gazette above, I am never far away. My 40+ years of business experience and contacts make me a great consultant. And having my business on the first and second floors of Taborian Hall, just below Dreamland on the third floor, make it easy for me to share not only my wisdom, but my employees, supplies and equipment with FOD.
The good news would never have happened without the support and vision of many people. The board members who gave their time and energy, the donors who gave their treasure, the civic leaders that wrote letters of support, and those skilled volunteers who shared their talents made it all possible. In all this praise, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge one person in particular.
Four years ago, son Matt was bitten by the Dreamland bug (he may have always been). His passion for the space and its folklore is contagious. Since taking a leadership role as FOD’s Executive Director, the momentum and good luck has grown. His heart is in the right place and his work ethic has never been in doubt. That is a winning combination to keep the Good News coming. Congrats FOD.