Bob Pitman has served as Executive Director of Mill Race Center, Inc. since 1985. Under his leadership, Mill Race Services became the first nationally accredited center in Indiana, developed the first senior leadership program in the state, forged a private partnership with a large private staffing service, and initiated a successful community –wide lifelong learning program.
Our membership has increased more than 40% since our move to Mill Race Center. Membership revenue grew to nearly $82,000 last year. While very important, membership fees accounted for just 11% of the operating budget.
We know that many members are doing all they can just to pay the annual membership dues, and we appreciate that! Membership fees vary greatly around the country depending upon the size of centers and other sources of support. Many larger centers are fortunate to receive a majority of their operating support from local (city or county) government. This allows membership fees to be quite low. Because MRC currently receives just $3000
from the County and $19,800 from the City, we must develop a wide range of funding sources to support our expanded programs and services and a larger facility at Mill Race Center.
Fortunately, many of these sources are growing also:
• The 2012 annual campaign revenue has grown 30% over 2011.
• Rental revenue, thanks mainly to the substantial lease agreement with Columbus Regional Health for the Fitness and Therapy center has become an essential part of operating income.
• Program revenue is increasing thanks to new offerings every month.
• And we have received two major bequests during the past two years from longtime members who appreciated what we do and wanted to help sustain our work in the future.
During our long effort to plan and raise money for Mill Race Center, some questioned the need for all this space. That question has been answered after two years with a bustling facility that appeals to many younger seniors and boomers, while also offering ongoing programs for longtime members, as well as accommodations for older seniors whose impairments and limitations require support for them to remain a part of the community. The questions we are beginning to hear more recently is why MRC wasn’t bigger and how can we expand? (That would have been terrific, but it’s important to remember that it took a six year capital campaign to achieve what we have today!)
There is more to be done meet the changing interests and needs of a “booming” older population. The Board of Directors is considering a five year strategic business plan to make sure that happens. It calls for continued expansion of programs and services supported by continued growth of membership and rental revenue, ambitious fundraising and development efforts, and modest additions to staff. It also addresses the need to plan for the succession of a 28 year Executive Director. Most notably, it includes a financial strategy that gradually reduces and eliminates a substantial
operating deficit that has required tapping reserves built from the sale of housing properties and major gifts.
Thanks to all our hard work to make Mill Race Center a reality, our future is bright! Whatever the challenges, the tremendous talent, experience
and commitment of our longtime members and new supporters will be up to the task.
Thanks for all you do!
Thanks to all the members who took the time to complete the MRC Survey when they renewed their membership during the past couple of months. More than 200 surveys were returned and just over 150 have been totaled so far. Here are some interesting results:
75.2% reported making new friends at MRC;
84.5% reported improved mental health and
75% improved physical health;
70% said their MRC friends would help them if needed.
15% had joined MRC in the past year; 32% were members 1-5 years; 21% 6-10 years; 23% 10-20 years; 9% have been members for 20+ years!
In response to whether MRC staff are helpful, 107 said “always”; 21 said “sometimes”; 2 said “seldom”; and no one said “never”.
Another interesting question asked members how they heard about MRC. The largest number (44) said friends; 26 said an event brought them here; 17 said an advertisement; 2 said healthcare referral; and 27 said “other”. Of the latter, 4 said they were referred by their parents, and one was referred by his/her children.
Many centers around the country ask about friends because research increasingly shows that older adults who have strong support networks (friends and family) are healthier and more satisfied with life than those who don’t. Research also shows that getting out and inter-acting and socializing with others results in improved mental health.
Do you have friends who could benefit from getting involved? You might be doing them a big favor by bringing them to Mill Race Center!