PUNTA GORDA — The Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda was recently awarded an emergency grant through Florida Humanities.
The $10,250 grant will help the museum strengthen its fundraising efforts − a pursuit Executive Director Gary Butler said is more crucial now due to low attendance during the pandemic.
“With our visitor count down over 50% most months since we reopened in June last year, we had to scale up our fundraising significantly,” Butler said. “This grant has made a huge difference in our ability to offset the loss in admissions with donations.”
Florida Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, provided $875,000 in emergency funds through Florida Humanities CARES to 100 cultural and heritage institutions across Florida.
Butler told The Daily Sun that the agency gave applicants some latitude on how the funds were to be used.
“(When we applied), we had not yet brought our fundraising position back from being furloughed,” he said. “We proposed using the funds to bring this position back online. It also ensured enough cash flow was in place while we ramped up our fundraising.”
In November, Butler said they were able to hold their first fundraising event since reopening. Salute to Veterans Golf Scramble netted the museum more than $9,000.
“We are now in a much better position for ensuring our fundraising events this year are successful,” he continued.
The museum was the only cultural and heritage agency in Charlotte County to receive a Florida Humanities CARES grant, according to a museum press release.
The Florida Humanities CARES funds are designated to support general operating expenses and to help recipients provide access for communities to engage with public history, cultural heritage and civic learning during the pandemic.
Butler said the museum has probably received more grants during the pandemic than before it began.
“We got turned down only on one we applied for and that was because the funding agency indicated we didn’t qualify because we already received funding from other sources,” he said. “Unfortunately, while we have received several grants, the total received to date is far less than the amount of revenue we have lost.”
The Military Heritage Museum is located at 900 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda. For more information, go to militaryheritagemuseum.org.