Dueling funds

Let us clear up the confusion over two groups raising money for the mansion

Volunteers in the Visitor Center work on postcard campaign in September 2011.

Volunteers in the Visitor Center work on postcard campaign in September 2011.

Photo courtesy of Bidwell Mansion Association

People who would like to contribute to keeping Bidwell Mansion open can be excused if they’re confused. That"s because there are two distinct funds designed to raise money to save the mansion.

One of the funds is operated by the Bidwell Mansion Association, which long has been an auxiliary of Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park and the State Parks Department; the other is operated by a new, independent group, the Bidwell Mansion Community Project (www.savebidwellmansion.org).

The important thing for donors to know is that the directors of the Bidwell Mansion Association are urging them not to direct contributions to the BMA fund, but rather to the BMCP fund via its account at the North Valley Community Foundation (www.nvcf.org).

Only that fund guarantees that the money will go toward the $100,000 the community needs to raise by April 1 to keep Bidwell Mansion open for a year. The money in the BMA fund, now approximately $14,000, is controlled by the state and is most likely to go toward the $75,000 in in-kind contributions state parks has promised to contribute toward the $175,000 total cost of keeping the mansion open.

In fact, when the BMA directors wanted to contribute $25,000 to the BMCP fund, they chose to put it into yet another fund, one dedicated to education and interpretive services at Bidwell Mansion, with the proviso—approved by state parks—that it go toward meeting the $100,000 goal.

With that money added, the community has now raised in the neighborhood of $45,000.

Update: Marilyn Linkem, district superintendent for State Parks’ Northern Butte District, contacted the CN&R following publication of this article. She wanted readers to know that, yes, there are separate funds, but all donated money is going to the same purpose, keeping Bidwell Mansion open three days a week. State Parks has allocated no funds toward the $75,000 match, so it is being met by the volunteerism of parks employees willing to put in extra time at the mansion and any contributions they receive.