Hearts for Heroes fundraiser is center of feud
by Bridgette Bonner
March 26, 2013 12:07 AM | 1545 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Marietta History Museum and a volunteer citizens’ committee are in disagreement about who owns the rights to the annual Hearts for Heroes fundraiser.

The event, which honors members of the military and first responders, benefits the aviation wing of the Marietta History Museum, but the volunteer group plans Hearts for Heroes and runs the event at The Strand Theatre.

The museum board of directors has had people on the volunteer committee and has been invited to remain on the committee, but it has not responded to the request, according to committee chair Sandy Sanders.

The event began four years ago, according to Kee Carlisle, chairman of the museum board of directors.

So far it has generated $80,000, Museum Director Jan Russell said.

“For the first Hearts for Heroes, everyone was on board, and it went well,” Carlisle said. “Now we’re just getting into where the funds go and some organizational issues with ideas for the event. Now Hearts for Heroes (volunteer committee) wants to break from the museum.”

The museum board has brought resources to the event and remains the beneficiary of all funds raised, but the two groups want more boundaries set on the funds.

“We tell donors their money is going to the aviation wing,” said Bill Deulge, co-chair of the volunteer committee.

But Carlisle said because the museum owns the aviation wing, the money should be able to fund the museum’s needs and the aviation wing’s needs. The volunteer committee should give the money to the museum with a list of ways they would like it to be used, Carlisle said.

For four years, the money has gone into the museum’s bank account — with the understanding that it would fund only aviation wing needs — because the committee doesn’t have a nonprofit status, Sanders said.

“We want their help and need their help,” Carlisle said. “We just want the committee to understand that the museum owns the wing, so the fundraiser benefits the museum, too.”

Regardless of the museum board’s stance on using the fundraiser for both the aviation wing and museum, the volunteer committee intends to plan the event and continue to assure donors their money will be for aviation exhibits, Sanders said.

“It’s a successful event, from the standpoint of actual funds generated and gaining awareness for the aviation wing,” Deulge said. “The brand name is starting to catch on.”

Carlisle agreed the worst-case scenario, if the two groups can’t find a happy medium, would be to do away with Hearts for Heroes. But the next two years’ events are already in the works, Sanders said.

The museum board plans to seek the guidance of Marietta City Attorney Doug Haynie to determine who owns the rights to the fundraiser. They’re also planning to invite the volunteer committee to a meeting to work out some of the beneficiary kinks.
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