In the past year, the Indiana Barn Foundation has continued our commitment to the preservation of historic barns. I believe they represent an important and irreplaceable piece of our heritage. I want to thank each of you for being a member and caring about these barns. IBF is an all-volunteer organization and any success we have depends on you. I also want to convey a special thanks to the current board of directors; they are dedicated to our mission.
The following is a summary of some key IBF activities in the past year:
IBF by-laws call for officers to be elected by the board, for two-year terms, at the first board meeting following the annual meeting. At our August 17, 2019 meeting I was elected president, Janet Ayres was elected vice-president, Tim Sheets as treasurer and Tommy Kleckner as secretary. Several important agenda items were discussed including: the annual meeting, finances, grant progress, membership efforts, newsletter, and the annual barn tour.
The annual IBF Barn Tour was held on September 28 in LaPorte and Porter Counties. Despite the challenge of heavy rain the day before the event, attendance was excellent, and the tour was a big success. The Barn Tour is an important source of financial support for IBF, 2019 ticket sales were $2500.
At our November board meeting, fundraising was a major area of discussion. At that meeting we decided to begin a year-end giving appeal. We also decided to hold a strategic planning session in January.
On January 11, we met for the strategic planning session. Board member, Mike Thompson, led the session and most of the board participated. This session helped us take a more comprehensive look at IBF’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as providing an opportunity to identify crucial points that would give us a clearer vision for success in 2020 and beyond. IBF’s weaknesses were primarily related to financial limitations. Some key strengths identified are:
At our January 25 board meeting, we reviewed the strategic plan, with focus on five specific points. Those items are listed below. The first two points were the primary focus for the first quarter of the year, points three and four for the second quarter and point five for the third quarter.
Greater public awareness of IFB, better PR and media engagement
Increase membership and membership engagement
Engagement with other organizations
Partnerships – using existing, developing new
Staffing and office location
Our April 4 board meeting was the first scheduled after the pandemic began, so we had our first ever virtual board meeting. Besides not meeting in person, I’m sure it is no surprise that COVID-19 changed a lot of things for IBF, as it has everyone and everything else. We did get several items of business handled in that first virtual meeting. Duncan Campbell announced that 12 grant applications were received, and two grant winners had been selected: Lisa and Andrew Metheny of Farmersburg, along with John Jay Biggs or Argos. Sara Edgerton gave a Finance Committee report recommending that IBF pursue affiliate status with Indiana Landmarks. That report was approved. It was also decided that we would use Indiana Landmarks for our mailing address. Mike Thompson led a discussion on establishing a Mauri Williamson Legacy Endowment. Danielle Bachant-Bell led an extensive discussion about plans for the IBF annual meeting. It was determined that we should forgo our traditional, in-person annual meeting in 2020.
Since we had a number of additional issues to review, the executive committee decided that we should have another virtual meeting on June 6. Sara Edgerton reported that our Indiana Landmarks affiliate status was on track (it was approved by Landmarks in late June). Much of the discussion was about how we should hold the IBF annual meeting, resulting in a plan to ask members to participate virtually. Duncan Campbell reported that Jessica House, a 2019 grant winner, had completed her project.
Aside from the board meetings, several IBF committees have been particularly active in the past year. The Annual Meeting Committee, chaired by Danielle Bachant-Bell, was busy planning the 2020 meeting for July 18, until we decided not to hold a traditional meeting. The Barn Tour Committee, led by Gwen Gutwein, continues planning the 2020 tour in Allen and DeKalb Counties. Gwen also does an excellent job as chair of the Nominating Committee. The Technical Assistance and Grant Committees, led by Duncan Campbell, reviewing grant applications and providing expertise to barn owners. The Finance Committee, chaired by Sara Edgerton, discussing funding options and affiliate status with Indiana Landmarks. Membership chairperson, Lou Malcomb, continues to seek creative ways to increase membership and Carolyn Rahe continued to manage our newsletter, the Hoosier Barn Chronicle.
I will conclude where I began, our mission is “The Indiana Barn Foundation supports the preservation of historic barns.” We believe these barns are important links to our heritage, collectively and individually. We hope to help more people appreciate their historic value and preserve them. We need your help! We need ever member to promote awareness of IBF to your friends and neighbors, encourage people to become members and generally do what you can to help us fulfill our mission. THANK YOU!