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April 8, 2014
Will Plants Save This DC Institution?
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Remember poinsettia fundraisers when you were in school? The National Arboretum has something like that, except much, much bigger. (Though a class trip doesn't hinge on how well you do.)
The Friends of the National Arboretum annual plant sale offers all kinds of unique greens and flowers and draws thousands during the last weekend in April. The group, which provides supplemental funds for the US National Arboretum, would like to see it open seven days a week. (It had to close Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, even during the tourist season, because of sequestration.) Friends of the National Arboretum board members Linda Findlay and Bill Matuszeski, who flank plant sale committee member James Hughes, say they're also considering new ways of raising funds, including renting space at the living museum for weddings and other events. (All Little Shop of Horrors cast parties should be held there.)
The plant sale raises around $75k and draws some 2,000 people. Members of the Friends of the National Arboretum get first pick—which is why many of them join. This year the group was able to get wholesale nurseries to donate some plants, as well as bring in some unique plants like a primrose that originates from the Ganges River in India. People can also buy plants that come from clippings from some of the trees on the Arboretum property. The money will go toward restoring some of its streams and other projects. A recently won $5k grant will go toward restoring old spring houses that supplied bottled water to Washingtonians in the early 20th century.
Another big project on the National Arboretum grounds is renovation of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum's Japanese Pavilion. Construction begins later this spring and will include a redesign of the tree displays, which were part of the original 1976 US Bicentennial gift from Japan. National Bonsai Foundation executive director Dr. Johann Klodzen says an anonymous donor provided $1.5M of the $2M project. Some $250k is left to raise. Johann, who started at the Arboretum 20 years ago as a waterer, says the best time to visit is the first weekend in May during the Potomac Bonsai Festival.
Congress To Get Scientific Help
When members of Congress hash out funding for Alzheimer's research, they may now have guidance from the actual researchers finding a cure. The Alzheimer's Association pushed hard for legislation that would let the NIH submit a professional judgement budget to Congress. The legislation amends the national plan passed in 2010 to prevent and treat Alzheimer's by 2025. (As of now, there's no way to prevent, cure, or slow the progression of Alzheimer's.)
The cancer research community saw similar legislation passed and now National Cancer Institute researchers are authorized to provide guidance to Congress. The introduction of this bill by Reps. Brett Guthrie and Paul Tonko, and Sens. Ed Markey, above, and Mike Crapo, is timed nicely with the arrival of Alzheimer's advocates who will talk to members this week. Over five million Americans live with Alzheimer's. It's the country's most expensive condition, costing $214B in 2014 and expected to reach $1.2T by 2050.
Paying Too Much Without Knowing It?
If you're a nonprofit that doesn't know how much you pay your finance company for managing your investments, you're not alone. A recent study found the vast majority of nonprofits have no idea what they pay in fees, which means it could be too much. (Fees are negotiable.) The discovery was part of Raffa Wealth Management's Study on Nonprofit Investing. Study co-author Dennis Gogarthy also found that nonprofits' investment portfolios lagged by as much as 6.5% compared to traditional benchmarks. They performed worse when the portfolio was more growth oriented and had more alternative investments. Another takeaway: Associations that have investment targets and stick with those targets performed better. Dennis says, “Tinkering with your investments doesn't help.”
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What is your organization doing with fewer federal funds? Tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson.