Partnership for the Sounds makes new membership push

Published 6:06 pm Saturday, August 3, 2013

Special to the Daily News


COLUMBIA – The Partnership for the Sounds has initiated a major new membership campaign as a result of significant cuts in state funding, according to Executive Director Jackie Woolard.

“This is a critical moment in the history of the Partnership,” Woolard said in announcing the campaign. “Up to this point we have not relied on membership dollars for operational expenses, but from now on we certainly will. We have been blessed to serve the people and communities of this region for 20 years, and we trust that more people than ever will recognize the importance of our efforts and support us by becoming members.”

The Partnership is a private non-profit that operates the North Carolina Estuarium in Washington, the Roanoke/Cashie River Center in Windsor and the Columbia Theater Cultural Center and Tyrrell County Visitor’s Center in Columbia. In addition, PfS works with Hyde County groups, local governments, schools and a variety of organizations throughout the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula to promote activities, education and tourism related to the area’s natural resources and cultural heritage.

“PfS memberships carry benefits like free admission to our facilities,” Woolard said. “But through the years many people have joined simply because they love the facilities and the special programs we offer, and they want to help us spread the message.”

Since its founding in 1993, the Partnership has received an appropriation from the state that has helped sustain 15 full-time and over 15 part-time jobs in four counties (Beaufort, Bertie, Hyde and Tyrrell) that have struggled economically for generations. In the 2013-14 budget just approved, the Partnership’s appropriation was cut by over 85 percent as part of the General Assembly’s widespread reductions to nonprofits throughout North Carolina. The remaining 15 percent was allocated strictly for operation of the Estuarium, with that amount covering only about one-fifth of annual operating costs for that facility.

“The Partnership was a pioneer in promoting the understanding that a healthy economy and a healthy environment could and should go hand-in-hand,” Woolard said. “We were established by leaders from several communities in this region who saw that our most important economic asset was the remarkable natural system around us, and for 20 years the state shared and supported our vision. That has changed now, however, and we have to change as well.”

Memberships can be obtained online at, or by calling the Partnership at 888-737-0437. Membership information is also available at all PfS facilities.