Donations & Sponsorship

According to the American Alliance of Museums and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, there are over 35,000 museums across the US today [48% are historical societies and associations] and combined they, add nearly $50 billion to the economy.  The BCHA is in great company with the work that we do and when you invest into our organization, you’re investing in your local community. 

Because the BCHA is a 501(c)3, your donation to our organization is tax deductible.  Sponsorships of our programs and events, however, are not.

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Financial & In-kind Donations

By investing in the BCHA, you are helping us retain top talent to meet our mission, expand our outreach opportunities (nearly doubling every year!), develop much needed updates to our permanent offerings, and so much more.  As the premier location for history in Berrien County, every dollar invested into our organization is returning twice as much to the economy, making us a historical and economic cornerstone to the area.

Of course, while financial donations help us meet our obligations, in-kind donations are always welcomed.  If you have a service or product you can donate to help off-set the costs of our on-going projects and events, please email our director at rcizon@berrienhistory.org.  

Donations for the collections and archives are addressed here.

Financial & In-kind Sponsorships

Organizational and event sponsors become important partners as we continue to meet our mission each year.  Whether through financial support or by providing a much needed service, our partners allow us to reach thousands of visitors every year!

As a thank you for your partnership, our sponsors receive a host of perks as a thank you for being part of our mission.  To learn how you can access these perks, check out our Organizational Sponsorship  packet.  If you like what you see, then take this partnership to the next step!

Have questions about being a partner?  Please reach out to our director at rcizon@berrienhistory.org.  We’re happy to walk you through the process and find the project that best fits your passion!

While we have numerous projects going on at any given time, these are our current fundraising goals!

A Sign of the Times

Project Goal: $10,000

We’re bringing new interpretive and way finding signage to the grounds.  This includes six outdoor signs for the buildings and garden, welcome signs, directional signage, and a new marquee for the front to announce new programs and events.

Bennett's Forge Update

Project Goal: $50,000

A much needed renovation to fix the forge, add an exhibit on early industries in Berrien County, and to create a space for workshops and demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts.

Murdock Cabin Update

Project Goal: $15,000

Repair to the cabin roof, fixing of the side door, adding an exhibit on early settlers in Berrien County, and renovation of the upper level for additional exhibit and interactive space.

Sideways Sidewalks

Project Goal: $40,000

The creation of new concrete sidewalks throughout the property to replace the boardwalk that is deteriorating with age.  In addition to improving the safety factor, this will also improve accessibility for those with mobility issues.

Donation FAQs

Where does my money go when I donate? I don't want to donate to someone's salary!

Don’t be fooled by organizations who brag about keeping “costs” low (under 40%) because it means they are neither investing their donations and income wisely nor are they investing in their organization as they should. In order for us to meet our mission, the BCHA cannot operate without staff.  And to retain the best talent, we must pay them.  The current staff has a combined 35 years of experience and seven university degrees, meaning their knowledge is ensuring the BCHA remains the leader in the preservation of Berrien County’s history.

The best way to visualize how our staff makes a significant difference, see the charts below.  The one on the left is one you may be most familiar with as the cost distribution singles out salary as a category.  At first glance, you may assume that a significant portion of our budget is spent on personnel, however, this does little to show how the work of our staff impacts your experiences here at the Courthouse Complex.

The chart on the right shows a more accurate distribution of our costs, where salary is dispersed among the various areas, such as collections or operations.  In general, the distribution of the curator’s salary is in three areas – 1/2 goes towards collections and archives, 1/4 towards exhibits and programs, and 1/4 towards general operations.  The coordinator’s salary is split three ways as well, but that is 2/3 for general operations (including membership and volunteer management) and 1/3 for programs and exhibits.  The director salary is 1/4 programs and exhibits and 3/4 general operations (including fundraising and professional outreach).  Our caretaker’s salary is dedicated to maintenance.

So how does this translate to the day-to-day?  It means that our curator is able to fulfill research requests and continue the cataloging of the collections.  Our coordinator is able to communicate with members and assisting our daily visitors.  Our grounds are safe and clean thanks to our caretaker and the numerous change and update to the organization has been lead by the director.  In all, the doubling of available exhibits and the tripling of programs show that our staff is not just meeting our mission, but also the current strategic plan.

This means your donation is being used as intended – for the betterment of the Berrien County Historical Association!

Okay, so where else does my money go?

Everywhere!  Sometimes it helps fund something small like sending out a bulk mail to members and friends of the museum for calendars or announcements.  Sometimes its something a little bigger like an exhibit inside the Sheriff’s Residence.  Other times its part of a much larger project like the Courthouse renovation we completed in December of 2019.  Just like any business, we have costs to keep our doors open.  Unlike for-profit businesses, however, every penny we are given or make goes right back into making the BCHA the best.

What if there is something specific I want to donate to?

We’re happy to pair you with a project or event that speaks to your passion!  We have a lot of areas looking for the right investor to make them a reality!

If you are interested in sponsoring a program or event, visit our Programs page to see what we are hosting this year.  You can sponsor a single event like our Ice Cream Social or you can sponsor a whole series like our Meriendas at the Courthouse.  If there is a program you are interested in sponsoring, but don’t see on our Calendar of Events, reach out to us.  We have many programs in the works throughout the year and we may just be waiting for you to make those ideas a reality!

Like something with a little more oomph?  You can sponsor one of our many temporary exhibits throughout the year.  Many of these are physical exhibits inside the Sheriff’s Residence, but we will occasionally host an online exhibit that will give us flexibility among our smaller collections.  As we began to revamp the exhibits inside the Courthouse and add new ones to Bennett’s Forge and the Murdock Cabin, investors will help cover the costs of hanging systems, interpretation panels, and more.