Downtown Ephrata Inc. drops paid staff, considers fee for services
Scarce funding has prompted Downtown Ephrata Inc. to move to an all-volunteer model beginning Jan. 19.
DEI closed its downtown office last February and reduced Executive Director Marsha DiBonaventuro’s hours in April.
DiBonaventuro said she was DEI’s only employee and has been with the organization for more than eight years. She does not yet know what she will be doing next, although she expects to remain involved with DEI on some level.
“I’ve been very committed trying to make sure there’s a seamless transition,” DiBonaventuro said. “The volunteers that are with us now have been really committed for the long haul.”
The newsletter also suggested institution of an undefined fee-for-service plan, saying, “Thanks to the injection of public funding several years ago, DEI was able to provide a variety of services to the downtown community without charge. Unfortunately, this can no longer be the case.”
DEI indicated that it plans to continue “the more popular, fund-producing” activities with the help of volunteers. It also envisions a redesign of the organization’s website and fundraising toward the goal of transforming the second floor of the Sprecher building into an entrepreneurial center known as The Tool Box.
“Its successful operation (within 3 years) will supply significant revenue to fuel other DEI projects,” the newsletter said of The Tool Box concept.
Forty-five people attended DEI’s eighth annual meeting. DEI’s board members and officers for 2013 are as follows: Deb Wiegand, president; Don Dombach, vice president; Lori Royer, treasurer; Dawn Mentzer, secretary; Bill Warrell, past president; Greg Hamsher; Ralph Watts; Joanne Eshelman; and Todd Ellis.