JOHN DAY – The Grant County Chamber of Commerce will hold a fund-raising raffle and elect additional board members in the wake of financial troubles that came to a head this spring.
Craige McMillan, board chairman, said the board of directors met June 19 and is moving ahead to reverse the problems that triggered a staff layoff in May.
McMillan said six volunteers have stepped up to help staff the Chamber’s Main Street office in the executive director’s absence. Current hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m., but he said the board wants to add Saturday hours in the future to better meet the tourism needs. He also said he expects to make better use of volunteers in the future, something he feels will enhance the community connection with the Chamber.
McMillan said the board wants to restore the Chamber’s ties with its membership. He said he came out of the last meeting feeling good about the board’s efforts to reinvigorate the organization, round up volunteers, and recruit board candidates with business and finance experience.
The Chamber last week sent out dues notices and ballots for board elections.
Nominated for uncontested positions are Greg Armstrong, Bob Quinton, Wendy Shaw and current board members Jerry Franklin and Tammy Bremner. Current board members who are not up for election include McMillan, Delores Bagett, Sandie Gilson, Ruth Harris and David Hamilton.
The board has acknowledged that letting the Chamber’s major fund-raiser, the Grantski auction, lapse was a big factor in the financial troubles. McMillan said the board is seeking to remedy that, starting with a business-based raffle.
Franklin said a number of businesses and individuals, both members and non-members, have contributed more than $3,500 worth of items so far for the raffle. The prizes donated so far include a truckload of firewood logs, dinners, a load of gravel, a juniper lamp, airplane rides, a stainless steel barbecue grill, and more, he said.
Tickets will cost $5 apiece or five for $20, he said, and will be available next month. He said the details are being worked out but he hopes to start the ticket sales about July 9 and continue for about 30 days.
The drawing will raise money for Chamber expenses.
In addition, Bremner is working on a murder mystery dinner the board hopes will raise both money and visibility for the Chamber. If successful, the mysteries could be done several times a year.
In addition to the tourism role played by the Chamber, McMillan hopes to revive its business training and assistance function, to make it more relevant for the members.