In the right direction
Published 9:11 pm Thursday, April 19, 2007
Downtown Washington on the Waterfront is beginning its first-ever direct mail fundraising campaign.
Joey Toler, Downtown Washington on the Waterfront’s interim director, said DWOW’s Friends Campaign 2007 is an appeal to the private sector for support of its mission. The inaugural campaign is a good sign that Downtown Washington on the Waterfront, formed three years ago, is preparing to become financially self-sufficient.
That is good news indeed.
The City of Washington and Beaufort County have supplied Downtown Washington on the Waterfront with “seed” money to get the nonprofit organization charged with restructuring downtown Washington’s economy and leading redevelopment efforts in the central business district on its feet.
The city agreed to provide $55,000 to Downtown Washington on the Waterfront each year for three years. That agreement ends when this fiscal year ends June 30. There has been some talk the city may provide some funding, probably less than $55,000, to Downtown Washington on the Waterfront in the upcoming fiscal year.
The City Council has indicated it wants Downtown Washington on the Waterfront to wean itself from such a heavy reliance on public money, if not do without public money altogether.
Downtown Washington on the Waterfront should become as self-supporting as possible. That’s not to say the city or other local governments can’t provide some assistance if they desire.
In June 2005, Patricia Rawls, then president of Downtown Washington on the Waterfront, told the City Council that DWOW wants to rely less on support from the city and county and more on its fundraising potential. Rawls said support from the city and county in DWOW’s first two or three years would be crucial in that it would help provide a solid foundation for the organization.
To help it become more self-supporting, the nonprofit organization is preparing to host an in-water boat show in Washington next April. This year, it will host its second Pickin’ on the Pamlico, a fundraising event with ties to the Crabs on the Move project.
Although some people don’t and won’t support Downtown Washington on the Waterfront, the organization’s objectives are worthy of at least consideration of support. Although some people may not agree with what the organization is doing, at least it is trying to make downtown Washington better.
Kudos to Downtown Washington on the Waterfront for taking a major step in weaning itself from public money.
Merchants, property owners, private citizens, organizations and others in Washington should give serious thought about helping Downtown Washington on the Waterfront accomplish its mission. A healthier, improved and revitalized downtown, according to Downtown Washington on the Waterfront’s mission statement, will help “improve economic conditions, lessen the burden of government and combat community deterioration.”
There’s nothing wrong with that.