DEARBORN, Michigan – In 2011, the nonprofit Dearborn Community Fund (DCF) partnered with the City of Dearborn to become the fiduciary agent for this annual community-wide event. One of the results of this successful partnership was that no contribution from the City of Dearborn’s General Fund was made to the festival fund in 2011.
A report, released by the City of Dearborn Department of Public Information described goals set for this new partnership/fiduciary transition as:
- Make the Dearborn Homecoming Festival self-sustaining to insulate the City’s diminishing General Fund.
- Provide a sustainable venue for two dozen Dearborn-based nonprofit organizations to continue to raise funds so that they can re-invest these dollars back into the community.
- Educate and give the members of the public a stronger incentive to patronize this annual event, since they would better understand that they are supporting non-profit service clubs and organizations based in Dearborn.
- Develop a financial model that fosters more transparency, including for the nonprofit organizations participating in the festival.
- Institute a more equitable fee structure for all non-profit vendors.
The report continues…
“As stated, the City of Dearborn’s goal is to make the Homecoming Festival self-sustaining, and the success of the 2011 festival represented a major step toward achieving that objective.”
“Working with the Dearborn Community Fund, it is hoped that revenues generated by the festival will eventually cover all costs, while still meeting the other desired goals, such as promoting our community to a regional audience, encouraging neighborly connections, providing affordable family activities, drawing customers into Dearborn businesses, and creating a venue for nonprofit groups to raise money for projects benefitting Dearborn residents.”
“While the festival is in transition, such a hefty plate of goals still requires the involvement of multiple city departments: Police, Public Works, Fire, Recreation, Economic and Community Development and Public Information. In 2011, City of Dearborn labor costs specifically incurred because of the festival totaled $63,275. ”
“This total represents an ongoing, concentrated effort to reduce overtime and staff expenses and still manage the festival safely and effectively. For instance, festival overtime in the Police Department has been significantly cut in the last three years due to an agreement with the police union that allows for more scheduling flexibility.”
“It should be noted that as the City works to reduce costs, it also has joined with the Dearborn Community Fund to identify ways in which all stakeholders share in responsibility for the festival’s long-term welfare. This has meant an evenhanded increase in public parking fees, carnival ticket rates, charitable booth rental fees and additional sponsorship opportunities.”
“In light of persistent budget challenges, the City is committed to continuing to further shrink, perhaps even eliminate, the need for any tax-dollar support for labor costs. Until that is possible, one measure of the value of the city’s investment to the community is the $72,000 raised by the nonprofit groups. Another measure is the role Homecoming plays in the perception of our town as a desirable place to live, with family-friendly activities and a strong sense of community.”