A month after the Fourth of July all-class reunion, local non-profit organizations are still feeling the positive impact. According to Richard Howe, who led the committee to organize the massive holiday weekend event, the committee raised “in the neighborhood of $27,000” from the various activities that were part of the class reunion. That number doesn’t even account for the money made by the Learning Bridge Charter School during their fundraiser at Pete’s Drive In or what any of the local businesses made thanks to the influx of people in town.
On Aug. 6, Howe and fellow reunion organizer Leslie Martin donated $13,000 to local non-profits, including the White Pine Historic Railroad Museum and the Renaissance Society.
“We were really thrilled to be able to give that kind of money to those organizations because they are all great parts of the community,” Martin said.
Howe said that outside of $5,000 that the committee put away as “seed money” for the next all-class reunion in 2020, the committee is looking to give the rest of the money away as well. Martin said that the group doesn’t have any particular policy for how it gives out the money,
but Howe said there are some general guidelines.
“This is money that is meant for local non-profit organizations that do something positive in our community,” Howe said, adding that in order to receive a donation, the organization can’t come with just a hand out.
“The organizations that we already donated to had a hand in helping put on all the great activities over Fourth of July, and the way I see it, if we can organize something for a non-profit to do, whether it be pick up trash or something else, then they deserve some of that money too,” he said.
Howe said that this year’s successful Fourth of July reunion was made possible by all the hard work of the volunteers that donated their time helping run the events over the weekend as well as the hundreds of hours of planning that began all the way back in 2010.
As for the larger economic impact, Howe predicts that the $27,000 the committee raised was just the tip of the iceberg.
“The total impact might be incalculable between all the people eating in restaurants, staying in hotels, shopping I local stores. I wouldn’t be surprised if in total the weekend was worth over a hundred thousand dollars to the local economy,” the County Commissioner concluded.
If true, it would be a massive return on the committee’s original starting budget of $3,800.
“We had been planning this event for so long that I had pretty great expectations for it, but watching everything go as smooth as it did far surpassed all those expectations,” Howe said.