German Village Society trustees eliminate two top positions at Meeting Haus

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
Chris Hune, president of the German Village Society’s board of trustees, said she essentially is serving in the leadership role for the society after the board recently eliminated two top positions – executive director and manager of events and engagement – at the Meeting Haus.

The German Village Society is on cruise control after the board of trustees eliminated two top positions – executive director and manager of events and engagement – at the Meeting Haus.

Chris Hune, president of the society’s board of trustees, said the move was a cost-cutting measure and did not reflect the performances of executive director Delilah Lopez or manager of events and engagement Dustin Speakman.

The net savings was $130,000 in both annual salaries and benefits, said Darci Congrove, treasurer of the society board.

Their final days of work were Nov. 1.

“We’re in the same boat every other nonprofit is in this town,” Hune said. ‘We’re no different.”

The board retained Andrew Dodson, manager of historic preservation and outreach, and Salvatore Reedus, development coordinator, said Hune, who said she essentially is serving in the leadership role for the society.

Every major community event in the historic neighborhood – either a fundraiser for the society or otherwise – was canceled this year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Haus und Garten Tour, which provides the biggest haul for the society, was canceled, as was Monster Bash, a Halloween festival.

Tea 43206, which raised money for the GVS’ fund for Historic Preservation, also was canceled.

The society did present a virtual event, Celebrate German Village, a gala that combined elements of Art Crawl and the tour, which brought in just shy of $50,000 – about a third of what Haus und Garten Tour raises, Hune said.

“From what we’ve been seeing it doesn’t look like we’ll be doing events next year,” Hune said.

Congrove said the German Village Society has been in this position in the past.

“It requires additional board and volunteer support, but will it work, particularly in this environment when we are unable to produce large events, which usually take a lot of staff time,” she said.

The success of Celebrate German Village gives the society some optimism that virtual gatherings could provide additional fundraising opportunities, Congrove said.

“Until it’s safe to gather in person, we will continue to find opportunities for virtual engagement, whether for fundraising or simply connecting with members and our community,” she said.

gseman@thisweeeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary