German Village Gazette

Village Notebook

Historic preservation advocate key hire for Village's future

Tuesday November 5, 2013 4:42 PM

We are hiring.

I have posted a job description for the role of historic preservation advocate, a position we haven't employed in more than four years and the outcome of two of our major focus areas in 2013.

Posting the job was an extraordinarily thrilling moment for me.

The 53-year-old German Village Society seeks an Historic Preservation Coordinator to serve on a contractual basis with the organizations' staff members, volunteers, board of trustees and German Village Commission.

The Historic Preservation Advocate will join our team to lead preservation education and advocacy, both bottom up and top down.

So who is the right candidate? Someone who speaks the language of preservation -- knows a pergola from a gazebo. Someone drawn to the sense of place we've created and feels the fire in their belly to fight for its protection.

And they have to love working with people. Yeah, it's the most cliche line in every resume, but it is the soul of this job.

Property owners can sometimes feel like they're headed to the principal's office when they present to the German Village Commission, and this job calms those fears.

Additionally, the commissioners can use support from someone who can advocate for best practices in preservation -- as a staff person, not a volunteer like them -- who can really dive in and help people understand the guidelines and why they matter.

The city's Historic Preservation Office also wants a strong voice for education in German Village, and German Village desires a strong advocate back to the HPO.

So the first major outcome posting the job delivers is to get us back to our preservation focus.

The other piece is to deliver on our message to sponsors and partners.

You might remember that every committee of the German Village Society spent 2012 prioritizing critical needs.

Rehiring this position easily floated to the top. For the past 10 months, our fundraising efforts have delivered this message to sponsors interested in helping us preserve our unique neighborhood (which happens to be HEAVILY used by corporate recruiters across the city to show job candidates just how hip Columbus can be).

Sponsors have stepped up. They get it. This job is the hub of how German Village stays historic, hip and charming to all who visit.

Sponsor understanding of this role is critical. I was tasked by the German Village Society Board of Trustees in September to plot a path to financial sustainability for rehiring the position. I am now confident that we can garner the support to get us at least to 2016 on a contract basis.

Here's how:

* 2013 fundraising success to the tune of about $25,000 raised beyond expenses.

* An $8,000 Big Give gift pool that was a direct response by our residents to our request to help us rehire. We aren't done asking for your support.

* Early conversations with sponsors about 2014 support that look extremely positive.

* Our plans to host a two-day workshop for city planners and architects as a continuing education credit for them, a way for us to show off our neighborhood and partner with Columbus' multitude of amazing historic neighborhoods, and a potential revenue stream.

But let's be clear -- this is only three years of sustainability and only in a part-time, contractual role. We aren't done seeking support yet.

We need YOUR help. In the coming year (months, really), we will be asking you to consider multiple ways to help us fund this positions back to the full-time, perpetual job is used to be.

How?

* You can step up your membership level. If you're a $75 household member, consider a $125 Supporter membership. If you're a $250 Patron, could you be a Benefactor?

* Ask your friends to be members.

* We will be raising ticket prices to PreTour and to Tea. It has been years since we've raised either, and these events are our single best way to not only show you an AMAZING time, but to maximize the events' purpose, which is fundraising.

This is an easy way for you to help us collect needed funds.

This is an exciting moment on a long journey.

Let's continue to work together down this path.

German Village Society Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.

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