By Pete Smith
After being snubbed in Carmel’s arts grant process, the Carmel Clay Historical Society almost flubbed a chance at a similar grant from the Carmel City Center Community Development Corporation.
The historical society requested a grant of $28,350 from the nonprofit 4CDC but didn’t initially make a clear case for how the money would be spent or provide detailed financial data to support its budget statements.
This prompted the 4CDC to schedule a special meeting April 16 so that Carmel Clay Historical Society Executive Director Katherine Dill could answer questions from the board.
“I have no problem with trying to support you,” said 4CDC board vice president Jack Ragland. “I don’t understand how you budget.”
The board members asked the Historical Society to explain:
● How much it was paying consultant Peggy Monson to help it with a capital campaign to raise funds to build a new archive facility.
● Why it claimed a 2012 budget of a little less than $50,000 but actually had a 2012 budget of $104,000.
● Why the organization had $114,000 in cash on its balance sheet.
“Before I came, we were in the red. And I feel we deserve some credit for how far we’ve come,” Dill said, noting that the Historical Society would be fiscally irresponsible if it spent money before it had it.
Dill said Monson is paid in 3-month installments of $11,000 and that the group’s cash balance was being held for a future building and that it couldn’t be spent on operations.
She said the grant – which eventually was awarded by the 4CDC – would be spent on part of Monson’s salary and on the annual Holiday Home Tour in December.
The 4CDC is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization which collects rent from commercial tenants in the James Building at the Center for the Performing Arts and the Old Town on the Monon building on Main Street. It also doles out less than $4,000 in rent subsidies per month to businesses in the Carmel Arts & Design District and assists the Carmel Redevelopment Commission in its mission.
The Historical Society maintains more than 3,000 photos and two dozen paintings detailing Carmel’s history, and they’re viewable at the Monon Museum. And in addition to hosting a summer garden tour, the group also offers multiple history programs and tours aimed at local elementary school students.
The Historical Society announced in 2013 that it was drawing up plans to build a new archive facility on the grounds of the historic depot next to the Monon Trail. The society also planned to kick off a fundraising campaign to raise money for the project, but that campaign has not yet begun.