Nearly a decade ago it became clear our traditional methods of financing our programs, and in particular our Eurasian Milfoil control program, were notgoing to be sufficient.  We were facing a perfect storm of increasing costs and reduced state “Aquatic Invasive Species Grant” monies.  Our answer was a capital campaign, aptly named by our volunteers “Lakes Alive – Now & Forever”.

The campaign had two major goals and produced several additional benefits:

·      Provide ~$35,000 per year for 2013-2017 for operating costs to get through the immediate projected budget shortfalls and re-grow our Reserves to meet the unexpected.  The result was operating costs were covered, an additional $80,000 was available to pay for the first herbicide treatment and the Reserves have grown to nearly $490,000. 

·      Build an income producing Endowment Fund of a minimum of $1,250,000 which could yield $50,000 toward our annual budgets in the future and forever.  The result is  $1,400,000 was committed to the Endowment Fund, which in turn contributed over $113,000 to the operating fund budgets of 2016 -2018 and has a current balance in excess of $1,600,000. 

The additional benefits are a little less dollar oriented and yet just as important:

·      For the first time we are not totally dependent on outside funding.  With conservative draws and an inflation matching growth investment policy for the Endowment Fund it will remain relevant far into the future.  This provides a degree of financial independence which will allow longer term financial planning and projects.

·      A practice of keeping our dues at a very reasonable level can be maintained for the foreseeable future.  LDFLA has an enviable level of membership participation hovering between 65 and 70 percent of those eligible.  The objective is to keep the dues at a modest level so all eligible owners and friends can join the Association.

·      A new sense of community emerged as people realized the LDFLA programs of lake protection and preservation were endangered.  People came out of their camps and off their docks to talk with one another.  Volunteers asked for pledges and donations. And the result was an outstanding, initial goal-exceeding response to the community’s needs.

The spirit of Lakes Alive lives on.If you wish to join your neighbors and friends as we continue to build our financial strength, contact a member of the LDFLA Board or contact Jay Michael at either 465-8622 or jaymichael01@gmail.com.