Posted on November 14th, 2014 by Rachel
Reflections on Finance
This week’s edition of Performance Counts has been written by Susan Press, our Vice President for Administration and Finance. After seven years of working at the JMM, where she has headed up all finance-related duties in addition to oversight of development, marketing, gift shop, facilities maintenance and human resources, Susan will be leaving us at the end of the month. She is taking a new position at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at the Department of Biomedical Engineering as Senior Administrative Manager. Thanks to Susan’s impressive efforts these past seven years, she leaves the Museum with a solid infrastructure of financial and accounting systems, not to mention several years of clean audits. She has provided leadership in many areas and she will be missed by everyone. We wish Susan all the best in her new position.
The finance department here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland is responsible for all the budgeting, accounting and financial reporting of the institution. We record all accounts payable and receivable, payroll and all other financial elements. We then review the results of the organization by department and as a whole, compare results to our budgeted goals to determine our financial position. This allows management to make informed business decisions and run the organization effectively.
Every year brings with it a new set of challenges and goals. Last year we were able to plan for a balanced budget and we were pleased to report that we met all our goals. This year we have also planned for a balanced budget but the challenges ahead are even greater than in the last cycle. We have been working hard on growing attendance and thereby increasing both our program and shop income. This year’s budget includes a very aggressive development goal on top of the generous allocation and subsidized services provided to us by the Associated.
A review of our first quarter financials shows that we are currently running close to budget. We have currently raised approximately 60% of our development goal for the year (when funds carried forward are put into the mix). However, the remaining 40% will be a much tougher road, since much of our annual sources of revenue, including the Board Leadership Campaign, is heavily weighted towards the first quarter.
Expenses to date contain two small anomalies. Due to employee and benefits changes, our salary and benefits line is currently $20,000 under budget projection. However, the A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit ran over budget by approximately $10,000.
We know that our donors and members want their investments in JMM to be spent wisely and so we will continue to monitor our income and expenses throughout the year, making adjustments as necessary to achieve our program and financial objectives.
Posted on September 19th, 2014 by Rachel
Baltimore Embraces its 19th Century Heritage
The good news is “we won.”
You probably noticed that there was some commotion this weekend about events that took place two centuries ago. Beyond the Blue Angels, the rockets red glare and the Spanish galleon, there was a genuine embrace of the relatively tiny group of defenders who made sure that the flag and the nation was still there.
We are intensely proud of having been a part of the Star Spangled Celebration week, a chance for us to remind the public of the long roots of the Jewish community in this city and this state. Of course, JMM’s focus was on one particular defender: the truly amazing Mendes Cohen.
Collections Manager Joanna Church and Assistant Director Deborah Cardin install Mendes’ newly conserved jacket.
Installation of the maze was completed on September 7th. We had a sneak preview for donors, members of the 1845 Society and the Lloyd Street League, and members of the board of our partners, the Maryland Historical Society on September 9th. Feedback was extremely positive as reflected in notes we received after the event:
We were totally impressed with the A-mazing Mendes exhibition and appreciated the amount of research, talent, and work that went into the project.
Your exhibit is absolutely wonderful and a great tribute to Mr. Cohen. Of course Mendes is good story material. What a fun concept and I am recommending you to my whole staff.
‘The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen’ exhibit turned out really great! Fantastic Preview last night! Can’t wait to return and stroll “The A-Mazing… ” more slowly and a chance to absorb much more of its rich history.
Enjoying a few drinks at the Amazing Cocktail Hour sneak preview party.
This past Sunday was a very busy day for our living history actor. Unlike the real Mendes Cohen who overslept on September 14 and had to run to his assignment at the fort, our “ghost” of Mendes started his day bright and early at Super Sunday. As Mendes was one of the early members of the Hebrew Benevolent Society (a precursor of The Associated), we thought it was important Mendes participate in this annual effort to raise funds to serve the Jewish community in Baltimore and around the globe.
Mendes takes a few calls at Super Sunday!
The next stop was the Creative Alliance’s “Hampstead Hill Festival”, marking the land battle that helped save the city. Mendes not only gave a full performance (battling unexpectedly fierce winds) but also participated in an 1814 fashion show. After Hampstead Hill, we made a brief stop at the Inner Harbor greeting guests to the Greater Baltimore History Alliance booth.
Mendes takes his bow to the applause of former JMM president Barbara Katz and the rest of the audience.
Mendes returned to JMM for a wonderful members’ opening. The program included greetings from Debs Weinberg and Barbara Katz, Mendes’ short-version 1812 performance and a panel comprised of some of the creative and historical experts who made the exhibit and living history character a reality.
Part of the evening’s panel.
If you missed this great opening week, you can still be a full participant in the Mendes Cohen celebration. We are still busy recruiting volunteers for our stint as part of the Maryland Public Television fund drive on Sunday, September 28 from 5pm to 8pm. Your willingness to volunteer a few hours at MPT will guarantee us on air access to an important audience. For more details contact Rachel Kassman at email@example.com or call 410-732-6402 x225.
Posted on August 22nd, 2014 by Rachel
You don’t have to be a media mogul to come to our aid this August as we prepare for the launch of Mendes Cohen. Here are six practical things you can do to help us grow our visitor population this fall.
Top Six Ways YOU Can Help Market the Jewish Museum of Maryland
1. Write a review in trip advisor – Many of you know that tripadvisor.com is one of the most frequently use travel sites on the web. People consult this site in deciding on their trip itinerary. As of this morning we ranked #28 among 158 attractions in Baltimore on trip advisor, not too bad, but we can do better. We have overwhelmingly positive reviews, but to move up the ranks we need to increase the quantity of our reviews. That’s where you come in. A quick description of a recent visit is all that’s needed. Our short-term target is to push up to position #14…one step above the Basilica…we can do it!
Leave a review: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60811-d133604-Reviews-Jewish_Museum_of_Maryland-Baltimore_Maryland.html
2. Support JMM and public television on the same night! – we have been invited to participate in an upcoming MPT pledge night on Sunday, September 28th . We have been asked to bring 10 to 15 volunteers to MPT studios in Owings Mills. The volunteers simply need to answer the phones when people call to pledge to the station during the reprise of The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama. In return for this service we will have the opportunity to make a live pitch for the Mendes Cohen exhibit. This is in addition to the fact that our promotional fifteen second spots will also run that evening. MPT has said that it will provide kosher meals for all our callers. For more details (and to sign up) contact Rachel Kassman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and join in on the fun.
Email Rachel to volunteer: email@example.com
3. Talk to your rabbi – For those of you who are affiliated with a congregation, our upcoming Mendes Cohen exhibit combined with represents a couple of unique possibilities. One is the ability to incorporate some piece of the Mendes Cohen story into an upcoming sermon. This might be something about a time when America was under the barrage of rockets – and the Jewish defenders who came to the aid of their nation. It might be about thriving in a place of refuge, another theme where history and contemporary life come together. Or even something about how all of us try on various identities (professional and personal) and the role that our Jewish identity plays in that development.
While you are talking with the rabbi you might mention that we are organizing a Synagogue Night on November 6, 2014. We are marking the 50th anniversary of the re-dedication of the Lloyd Street Synagogue with a special event for rabbis, synagogue directors and synagogue board leadership from across metropolitan Baltimore.
4. Pass it forward – Don’t be shy. Do you have a friend or relative who shares your interest in Jewish history? Or who loves museums? Or is looking for things to do with their kids? Feel free to take any of the newsletters we send you (or our blog posts at www.jewishmuseummd.org/) and simply forward it. The newsletters and blog posts serve as terrific conversation starters for old friends who may have once lived in Baltimore but have moved out of town – and, of course, provide valuable information about a great place to visit if they come back to the city.
5. Become a friend – on Facebook. If you are not already a follower of our Facebook page, come join us. And now Mendes Cohen has his own Facebook page too – since the Cohen family home was the first in America to have plumbing for gas lights, it seems only natural to connect Mendes to the latest technology. When you become a friend, you not only improve our web statistics, you raise our overall visibility on the Internet making it easier for potential visitors to find us.
Friend Us: https://www.facebook.com/jewishmuseummd
6. Send us a photo with Flat Mendes– when you visit the Mendes Cohen facebook page you will notice that his alter ego, “Flat Mendes”, has really been getting around this summer. We’ve not only spotted Flat Mendes at Locust Point and the Amtrak station, but at the Kennedy Library in Boston and out in San Francisco. Every journey Flat Mendes creates another opportunity to promote our upcoming exhibit. So download Flat Mendes today and don’t forget to pack him on your Labor Day travels.
Download Flat Mendes: http://jewishmuseummd.org/2014/06/flat-mendes/