If you have 20/20 vision, you don’t need glasses to see clearly. Things near and far are in perfect focus.
But it is perfectly clear, even to those of us who do wear spectacles, that the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) has come a long way in the past 50 years. Looking back, we can be proud of what we see – a vibrant, volunteer-driven organization that has helped thousands discover their family history.
MGS has accomplished a lot in the past several years. We have expanded our education programs, grown our North Star Genealogy Conference, and moved to a more pleasant and accessible facility that better meets our needs. The Minnesota Genealogy Center is home to MGS and our partner organizations. Recently, MGS took the bold step of hiring a part-time professional librarian to manage the Hoffman Research Library, with its more than 30,000 exceptional print and online resources.
With 50 outstanding years in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for some 2020 future vision. With your help, we can ensure that MGS will be able to help generations to come discover their family history 50 years from now.
Everything that has been accomplished and all that needs to happen to move forward comes at a price. Rent and maintenance of the Minnesota Genealogy Center with its library and classrooms cost more than $130,000 each year. The annual North Star Conference is a $30,000 project. Our outstanding journal requires nearly $10,000 per year.
MGS dues cover only a fifth of our operating costs. To move into the future, MGS is launching the 20/20 Vision for the Next 50 campaign, with a first-year goal of $50,000. Can we do it? Absolutely – if you help!
This campaign is an ideal opportunity for you to make a real difference in the future of MGS. Your tax-deductible contribution of $50 or more will enable MGS to maintain and upgrade our new facility, support the library and its new staff, and expand learning opportunities.
Please help. Give generously to celebrate MGS’s past – but even more for the sake of its future. On behalf of the MGS Board of Directors and our fantastic volunteers, “Thank you!”
Minnesota Genealogical Society
20/20 Vision for the Next 50
Frequently Asked Questions
The Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) performs the same financial balancing act you do in your personal life. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about our finances as you consider your gift to the 20/20 Vision for the Next 50 campaign.
Q. Don’t membership dues cover most of the expenses?
A. MGS membership dues were increased in 2018, which does bring in more revenue. However, dues are sufficient to cover less than 20% of MGS’s annual operating costs.
Q. The new Minnesota Genealogy Center is wonderful, but doesn’t it cost more?
A. When MGS moved into the new facility in Mendota Heights, rent increased from the South Saint Paul location, and that rent will continue to increase about 5% per year during the 10-year lease. It was determined the change was necessary for the benefit and safety of our members.
Q. Do MGS branches and other groups pay to keep their books in the library and use the Minnesota Genealogy Center?
A. Branches and other groups pay rent for library shelf space, office space, and storage space. These rates were increased slightly this year. Added together, these fees and member dues account for about half of MGS’s annual income.
Q. What about that large bequest given to MGS a few years back? Can’t we use that money?
A. If MGS depended on the William J. Hoffman bequest to balance the budget year after year, we would exhaust the fund. Currently, we are using all of the interest and dividends for operating expenses.
Q. What other expenses have impacted the budget?
A. In 2019, MGS hired a part-time professional librarian to manage the library.
Q. What about grants?
A. MGS has received some grants, but all have been for specific projects, not general operating expenses.
Q. What else may be needed?
A. Additional funds are needed to furnish the Minnesota Genealogy Center with up-to-date technology for the classrooms and library. The Hoffman Research Library may have some additional needs as the entire collection is re-cataloged and updated. The complexities of the Minnesota Genealogy Center may require hiring a part-time administrator in 2020.
Q. Can I donate online?
A. We would prefer checks, but you can donate online at https://www.givemn.org/story/Mngs2020