Friends of Wickliffe Mounds considers options
On Saturday, October 26, an informational meeting was held at Wickliffe Mounds to discuss how a State Parks Friends group is organized and the potential feasibility of starting a non-profit Friends group for Wickliffe Mounds.
Erin Wright, Coordinator from Kentucky State Parks in Frankfort, went over the procedures and policies of forming a non-profit Friends group affiliated with a Kentucky State Park. She reviewed the steps to take if a group from the public wanted to form a Friends of Wickliffe Mounds group.
It takes a core group of people from the public to volunteer to send in an application to form a non-profit group, form a board, open a bank account and track funds, file paperwork with the IRS to create a 501C-3 non profit tax exempt status, create realistic goals for the Friends group to achieve, and have monthly meetings.
The park manager, in this case, currently, Carla Hildebrand, is not eligible to create or coordinate a Friends group for the park because of state merit regulations. Private citizens from the public are the ones who coordinate non-profit groups who work alongside state parks (in this case, Wickliffe Mounds) for beneficial programs and projects for the park – a separate entity. The purpose of a Friends group is to fundraise/receive donations and have volunteer corps/advocates for the park.
Dr. Kit Wesler, from Murray State University presented an alternative possibility for Wickliffe Mounds to fundraise and receive donations. Dr. Wesler explained to the group present that there was a former Friends group for Wickliffe Mounds that was run through the Murray State University Foundation and that account is still open, called now, the Friends of Public Archaeology.
It is possible that funds could be donated to that account and earmarked for the use and benefit of Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site. The donations would be tax deductible because the MSU Foundation, Friends of Public Archaeology, is a non-profit organization.
As for volunteers and advocates, Wickliffe Mounds already has a Volunteer Program set up and there was much interest in the group present to boost the volunteer program and have more meetings for that.
At this point, it is up to those interested in being a part of a Friends of Wickiffe Mounds group to decide what to do concerning a Friends group--whether it’s creating a formal non-profit group that is desired, or if it’s continuing along with park volunteers for activities with the possibility of using the Friends of Public Archaeology through the MSU Foundation for donations and fundraising with Dr. Kit Wesler managing the account.
Carla Hildebrand would like to thank Erin Wright for coming to Wickliffe Mounds to present the Friends information and to thank all of those in attendance at the meeting. Those interested in being a part of the Friends of Wickliffe Mounds group should contact Carla Hildebrand at (270) 335-3681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.