And now, a word to our sponsors:
"I am so grateful."
Well, that's four words.
The sponsors and partners who have stepped up in the past three months to vote with their dollars, or with their talent, for the work of the German Village Society has been amazing.
This is not going to be a naming names article -- you know how that terrifies me, the fear of leaving someone out.
Plus, we're just hours now from showing off the lists and signs and advertising and brochures of all of our Haus und Garten Tour partners, and three weeks from introducing our Art Crawl friends.
Just a tiny bit of history here to set the scene.
The Society has been considering, studying and planning for a "new business model" for several years.
The idea was to stabilize our revenue streams so we could enjoy some protection from a single, rained-out tour day that could undermine the good work we do on behalf of our historic neighborhood.
When I came into place, the new business model felt like a goal ripe for the picking.
So, we brainstormed programs and projects we'd like to resume or offer if we had success fundraising -- that's our critical needs list.
It includes rehiring an historic preservation professional, which is so critical to our members and neighbors.
We set a fundraising goal that felt attainable, but as we set it at $100,000 we also felt it would take some stretching to get there.
We vetted nearly a dozen development and fundraising professionals to help guide us on this new journey.
We contracted with Raising Green Productions in January and began creating our strategy. The strategizing took about three months.
Working with Raising Green, we refined our preservation story to make it clear that German Village's future is central to the future of Columbus; and our role in attracting new residents, new business and new visitors is a boon to all of central Ohio.
It wasn't until April we began connecting our story with our network of friends in businesses across town. Old friends and new friends responded in spades.
We've made amazing progress on our $100,000 goal, and we're not done. Heck, with just three months down we've barely started.
There is a large group of our own German Village Business Community members who have stepped up, again, and many have stepped up bigger than before.
There is another group of longtime business supporters who always recognized our value, but through this new engagement with the German Village Society are starting to ask how they can play an even bigger role in our future.
There is a group of brand-new friends, too, who we pledge to work hard to show our value and extend our budding relationship over time.
One of the most rewarding things on this path for me has been the enthusiasm of several sponsors to round up their own friends to help our cause.
One new in-kind vendor rounded up a second in his industry and now we have TWO new friends.
Another sponsor who is in for nearly $5,000 found six of his existing partners to lend us a hand.
I sat with a third sponsor who repeated back to an ad agency my partnership pitch with just as much -- if not MORE -- passion than I could.
That's a powerful connection, when someone doesn't just step up with their own talent and treasure, but invests the time to extend our network and bolster our cause.
Keep your eye on this space for fall.
We will have exciting new announcements about how we're investing these new dollars for the benefit of this unique neighborhood and for all of the people who live, work and play in German Village.
German Village Society Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village notebook column.