Madison Valley Community Council 'desperately needs' donations


The Greater Madison Valley Community Council completed its first annual financial review and, faced with low coffers, council board members are considering ways they can solicit donations from the neighborhood at-large.

Council Treasurer Cherie Sato presented a review of the council’s finances at the June 20 meeting.

Due to the radical turnover of council membership following the summer 2016 election, and what Sato described as a lack of pre-election financial records that could parse out pre-election expenses, the review included 18 months of activity beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

The difficulty was enhanced by the fact that the pre-election council’s finances had become intertwined with those of the Madison Valley Business Association, Sato said, noting that donations to the council and business association had been handled online via a single PayPal form with no way to specify a donation to either individual organization. That situation, and its potential effect on the nonprofit council’s compliance with the IRS, was one of the factors that prompted the post-election council to pass expanded bylaws in April.

During the 18-month period, the council ran an overall deficit of $961.10, with $2,606.12 in revenues, and $3,567.22 in expenditures.

Sato noted that the “revived” council had brought the organization’s annual expenses down to about $500, to renew their business license and maintain the website. The council had further succeeded in obtaining two grants for special projects.

But ongoing expenses have been almost exclusively funded out-of-pocket by council members themselves. Outside donations have amounted to less than $40.

“We desperately need donations to cover ongoing expenses,” Sato said. “We currently have cash on hand to keep the council running for seven months.”

Some attendees suggested it might be possible to host annual fundraising events, like a spaghetti dinner.

Board member Sarah Trethewey suggested a garage sale would also be possible, while cautioning that events had their own expenses that would need to be managed.

“It’s a matter of trying to do something with a limited number of people that’s well attended,” Trethewey said.