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Town Square

Public-nonprofit partnerships essential to city's future

Original post made by Skip Justman, University South, on Jul 19, 2006

Thank you for highlighting the need for public-nonprofit partnerships in your July 5 article "Friends or Foes?" This supports the fact that with the increasing cost of government, public-nonprofit partnerships are crucial for revenue enhancements and relieving the financial burden of government.

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Posted by Ron Lee
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2006 at 9:21 pm

I'm sure Mr. Justman is well meaning but I'm afraid he is misguided as well. I was part of a public-nonprofit partnership that ran the Junior Museum from the mid 1980's to the mid 1990's. The group I joined founded the present nonprofit organization. During that period, the museum had attendance and membership that has never been matched. Our strength was in the volunteerism that resulted in new exhibits every 6 months. We were ably advised by Mr. Mearl Carson who had directed the museum for 25 years. It's ironic that the present group thinks that hiring Daren Wacs was the first "professional" designer for the museum when in fact Mr. Carson was. Incidentally, under his leadership, the museum was accredited by the American Museum Association. They lost that accreditation in 1995.

Eventually, our group moved on. Kids grow up and people move on to different challenges, such as paying for college. A new director was hired and the results of that administration is for others to judge. The point is that a private nonprofit group must demonstrate a longterm commitment to the museum, not political or personal ambition. Mr. Justman thinks his group will come in and save money. If so, have them put up a bond and manage the museum without any contribution of city funds. If they are willing to do so, I'm all for it. But if they are asking for city monies, it will become a tremendous waste. Eventually, they will lose interest and leave a larger mess than the one that presently exists.