Notes From the President
NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT
Greetings members and supporters of the Danish American Center.
After a year of having the privilege of serving as your President and following two years as Vice President, before our September 25, 2022, Annual Meeting (3-4pm social time; 4-5 pm meeting outside on the lawn) this message briefly takes stock of where we have been since March 2020, when all shut down due to Covid-19, and where we are today.
As I mentioned in my greeting at Danish Day, a consistent theme for us is the shoring up of existing bridges and the building of new bridges-amongst our Danish American Center members, amongst Danes, Danish-Americans, Nordics, and amongst the communities and people with whom we live and work.
Today, the Danish American Center is in very good shape. During the shutdown, we reduced expenses and reworked how we do things, including adding Tina Paulsen as our part-time office manager and caretaker with caretaker Rene' Paulsen, both of whom keep things going for less in costs than the prior contract workers that we were using. We came through the Covid-19 shutdown with nearly equal revenue/expenses (so less than a $5,000 loss), which is incredible and also is a testament to the hard work and good will of so many volunteers and friends.
And, as we more fully reopened since mid-2021, the office is running well and the building is clean and user-friendly. The gardens are beautiful, also thanks to Rene', Bill Holmquist, Janet Kinneberg and the "En lille blomst" committee. We have added accounting software to help our volunteers and 2021 Danes of the Year, Janet Ogden-Brackett (Treasurer) and Cathy Mahowald (Board member) track revenue and expenses. The new website, which was developed and maintained under Pete Gantriis' guidance, is delightful and allows members to easily sign up for and pay for events online. Make no mistake, we are fortunate to be an organization that brings in more in revenue on our activities and rentals than we pay out in expenses. Our donations from individuals have also always been solid and will continue to play a part of our success going forward. And, while the investment market is having its ups and downs, we are holding the portfolio steady and are keeping operations on a solid footing.
We added 80 new members so far in 2022 and renewal rates are strong.
The past two years, we made money on Danish Day (over $8,000 in two years) a positive change.
The newly created online auction has also generated over $14,000 in two years.
The Tivoli Lounge construction project came in very under budget ($30,000) and has added new, appreciated rental options, as well as allowing for two new events: President's Happy Hour (BYOB and appetizers provided) which started on December 14, 2021 with three attendees (Dan Revsbeck, my husband Pierre and me) is now attended by about 40 members/guests each Friday, from 4-6 pm; and musical concerts with social time in the Tivoli Lounge since 2022, including Mads Tolling, Sinne Eeg, the Upsala Quartet hosted by the Edvard Grieg Society of Minnesota in collaboration with Norway House and the Danish American Center, Larry Long and Friends, and Kristin Korb. The DAC series Music on the Mississippi, led by Paul Juhl and 2022 Dane of the Year Scott Thomsen, will be bringing more events through the rest of this year and into 2023.
Æbleskive breakfasts, with leadership from board member Lisa Jensen, Carla and Joel Mortensen, and Betina Kohler, and an amazing committee of volunteers, are back on and are well attended.
Wednesday lunches, organized by Cathy Mahowald, are going strong, with volunteer cooks, servers, and 30-40 attendees every two weeks.
WE have received a Minnesota Digital Library Grant thanks to Susan Jacobsen's efforts for digitizing photos to help us track and share our history and art.
In summary, tak, tusind tak, to all for working even more together to keep us going, and going so well. If you cannot make it to the Annual Meeting, please come by as you are able for hygge and good times in this happy place.