By Marta Tarantsey, DMA Board Secretary
Medford City Council approved a $75,000 award to Downtown Medford Association from its
discretionary Community Initiative Fund. DMA is grateful for the recognition and the support of our work from our City’s leadership.
Key programs that beautify and enhance our downtown take resources. Every flower basket and every lit up tree during the holiday season reflects the hard work and commitment of the DMA staff and volunteers to making great things happen in our downtown. Operational funding is the backbone for any not for profit organization and a must for DMA’s work to continue as we deepen our connections and work downtown, and as the organization moves toward a revised and more sustainable funding model in the long-term.
The City’s media release offers the following description of the program:“ […]the Council Community Initiative Funds […] are comprised of marijuana tax revenue the City receives for local and state marijuana taxes. The City Council allocates the monies for projects and programs that support our local community and meet the Council Biennial Goals.
”Over the past two years the DMA leadership reported to the City Council formally and informally on our regular programming and pilot initiatives as well new collaborations. When the time came to provide context for the Council’s deliberations of the awards’ recipients and amounts at a study session in November, interim Executive Director Annie Jenkins and board member Marta Tarantsey summarized some of the great work and advocacy DMA has taken on throughout the pandemic, while highlighting the DMA’s direction and alignment with the City Council goals.” The Council engaged us in a forward-looking dialogue, asking about what work the funding would support and how DMA will leverage it for sustainability. DMA presented a model of membership growth that demonstrated that our goal is to increase financial self-reliance and shared that work on several Medford Vision 2040 strategic initiatives is well under way, with DMA leading on some efforts while serving as a supporting partner on others.
The award will fund operations and special project work, such as collaboration on events that bring our neighbors and customers downtown, increase foot traffic, and researching funding models for our organization that are also right-sized for our community.
DMA Board Members have been engaging in conversations on downtown safety, beautification, and public art. We are always ready to share about our organization, how we align with the Oregon Main Street program, and how you can be involved with ongoing and one-off projects that will bring your strengths and expertise downtown. While the Community Initiative Fund award will serve as a cornerstone of our operational funding for the next year, we know that our volunteers help make downtown magic happen, so get in touch with us today!