PLATINUM2023

INSPIRATION ALCONA INC

Creative fun Up North

Lincoln, MI   |  https://www.inspirationalcona.org

Mission

Our vision is to make Alcona County a haven for creative, cultural and heritage pursuits. ‍ Mission Statement‍‍ Our mission is to provide a friendly, supportive environment for the pursuits noted above; to attract innovators, entrepreneurs and creative individuals so that they can discover what Alcona County has to offer in natural beauty and inspiration; to make Alcona County a destination and retreat area, and ultimately to enhance the economic vitality of the community.

Ruling year info

2014

Board President

Dr. Will M St. John

Main address

PO Box 506

Lincoln, MI 48742 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

45-5266489

NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Arts Council/Agency (A26)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2019 and 2018.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Alcona County, Michigan, is a rural, poor and aged community. Inspiration Alcona aims to help grow the local economy through arts, cultural and local food events. Some of our events (Arts Retreat, Writers Retreat, Songwriters Retreat, Farm Conference) are designed to bring money into the county and show off what we have to offer. Other events are to provide local citizens with opportunities that would otherwise not happen here. We earn revenue from our retreats and the conference and use that money and grants we match with it to produce the local events. Most of our local events are free or very low cost.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Alcona Arts Retreat

Students sign up for one of several concurrent visual arts workshops held over a long weekend at Lost Lake Woods Lodge, part of a private residential club in northeast Michigan.

Each retreat begins with a welcoming wine and appetizers mixer on Thursday evening and closes with a farewell cookout by the lake on Sunday afternoon.

Classes are held all day Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday morning, with about 16 formal contact hours with teachers. Teachers and topics change each year to keep the event fresh.

Some participants stay at the lodge, though that is not required. But all students have a chance to mingle during meals and evening entertainments. That mingling is an important part of students' experience.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Women and girls

Students sign up for a writing workshop with several teachers, held over a long weekend at Lost Lake Woods Lodge, part of a private residential club in northeast Michigan. This retreat is held in conjunction with the Springfed Arts group, another 501(c)3 nonprofit that holds writing classes online and in metro Detroit.

Each retreat begins with a welcoming wine and appetizers mixer on Thursday evening and closes with a farewell brunch and readings on Sunday.

Classes are held all day Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday morning, with about 16 formal contact hours with teachers.

Teachers and topics change each year to keep the event fresh.

Some participants stay at the lodge, though that is not required. But all students have a chance to mingle during meals and evening entertainments. That mingling is an important part of students' experience.

Population(s) Served
Adults

One-day choir practice and concert for the public. This program is held in even-numbered years, usually in late April after Easter has passed. In 2022, because of lingering covid concerns, this event was held October 29. The next event will be in April 2024.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adolescents

Beginning in 2023, Inspiration Alcona is running a out-of-school-time tutoring and enrichment program for Alcona Community Schools. During the school year, STEM tutoring and grade-appropriate art, athletic and similar programs run for 2.5 hours four days a week. During a six-week summer session, similar opportunities are offered for four hours each day, four days a week. Lunch and transportation are included in the summer sessions. This program is made possible by a $70,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Education.

For more than a decade, Inspiration Alcona has brought classroom and assembly visits from touring groups concentrating on unfamiliar cultures, lore, music, etc. Most of these are supported in part by grants from the Michigan Humanities Council.

We also sponsor free after-school guitar lessons for high school students.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

In 2023, the Summer Art for Youth program we have held for almost a decade is part of the out-of-school-time program.

In other years, the program was two weeks of art lessons taught by professional artists for children of school age.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

This writers critique circle, which meets twice each month, is led by a retired Detroit Free Press newspaper editor. Four of the group's members have finished and self-published books.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Basic art lessons designed for adults who never have or only long ago participated in visual arts. Classes meet Saturdays throughout the year. In 2022 we opened the class to anyone age 15 or over.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Seniors
Adolescents

Harbor Nights brings professional singer-songwriters to the outdoor pavilion at the Harrisville, Michigan, harbor each Friday from June through September.

Each Tuesday evening during approximately the same time, the Dockside Jams programs are held at the same location. These events are open-mic shows for local musicians seeking an audience. The Jams program runs weekly inside the Harrisville Arts Council building during colder weather. The Alcona Music Project is also a partner in this series.

Both series are free to the public. Attendance typically runs from 50 to 120 people on a lawn that comfortably holds about 200.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Seniors

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Dollar price per hour of expertise

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Alcona Arts Retreat

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We pay our artists and writers $1,000 ($1200 in 2022) plus room and board for both our arts retreats and writers retreats, each three-day events with approximately 16 hours of contact time.

Average dollar price for classes

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We charge a base price of $250 per student at our arts retreat, with some discounts. We charge $375 for the writers retreat, again with discounts available.

Number of paid registrants to classes

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Before 2021, numbers include a discontinued small farm conference. 2021 and 2022 numbers are for the arts and writers retreats. 2022 number is 8 smaller due to the last-minute loss of an instructor.

Total dollars paid to writers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Lost Lake Writers Retreat

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Includes writers at the Alcona Arts Retreat (pre-2016) and Lost Lake Writers Retreat. Covid impacted 2020 and 2021.

Total number of performances

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2019 we began a weekly open mic music jam. In 2020 and 2021 the jam ran only during the summer. In 2021 and 2022, a weekly professional concert series ran during the summer.

Total number of classes offered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We count the three-day retreat workshops as one class. We also count each series of lessons as one class. The numbers for 2020 and 2021 are impacted by covid.

Number of professional artists employed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The artists are our instructors, our performers and a few special-topic lecturers.

Total dollars paid to artists

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The artists are our instructor, performers and a few special-topic lecturers.

Total number of free admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Harbor Nights Concerts and Dockside Jams

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The increased numbers from 2019 onward reflect the addition of Dockside Jams and, in 2021, Harbor Nights music events.

Total number of audience members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

New programs account for most of the increases in both 2021 and 2022.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

FINANCIAL
To then seek out corporate sponsorships, continue to cultivate local support and partnerships, seek grant funding and establish a marketing plan, which would include the hiring of an Executive Director at some point.
MAXIMIZE PARTNERSHIPS
Continue to cultivate cultural and educational (musical, visual arts, literary arts, dance, etc.) partnerships and create a coalition of area cultural groups to meet on an occasional basis to share ideas and brainstorm. To continually look for potential new members of this coalition and invite them to become engaged in sharing and brainstorming.
EXPAND TYPES OF EVENTS
Increase the numbers and types of events held over the course of the calendar year with the ultimate goal of having regular events year around. To expand these events from visual arts and music to also include literary arts, culinary arts, performing arts and to begin to expand programming to include events geared specifically toward children's programs, seniors' programs and programs for the physically and developmentally challenged.
CREATE A CULTURAL IDEA INCUBATOR
Brand Inspiration Alcona, Inc., as an idea incubator. To host an annual or bi- annual collaborative meeting of all interested creative groups to discuss and set goals for how we can draw cultural tourists to Alcona County and meet the long-term goal of becoming a destination and artist's haven to create a new economic base. As an idea incubator and clearinghouse, Inspiration Alcona, Inc. would assist those who present ideas worth pursuing with obtaining micro-loans or grant funding to support the transition from idea to reality.

FINANCIAL
• Engage in county-wide marketing of this idea and create community partnerships by having board members personally present the vision to individual community organizations and businesses.
• Approach county, township and municipal governmental units to familiarize them with our work.
• Actively seek financial support locally and through corporate sponsorships, as well as researching and applying for any and all grant funding that Inspiration Alcona, Inc. may qualify for.
• Create a marketing and public relations plan including a media kit that will be capable,over time, of expansion to a national level.
• When it becomes financially feasible to generate a detailed job description, advertise, interview and hire an Executive Director to manage the administration of programming, marketing and financial accountability.
MAXIMIZE PARTNERSHIPS
• Assemble a comprehensive list of regional groups that would be potential coalition participants.
• Contact area cultural groups including art councils, art guilds, writer's groups, dance groups, theater groups, culinary groups etc and invite their participation in a meeting to share the vision of Inspiration Alcona, Inc., as well as share ideas and brainstorm.
• Set a date for a coalition meeting and secure a venue that will be conducive to open and free discussion of ideas.
EXPAND TYPES OF EVENTS
• Research and contact other similar organizations to view their organizational format and how they grew from their inception.
• Assemble a catalog of the array of programs being offered by other organizations. Examine what resources would be required to present similar programming. Determine our own capabilities and limitations as an organization and then decide what array of events we would like to be able to present and over what time period they could be presented.
• Research the resources and limitations of presenting programming specifically designed for youth, seniors, or physically, developmentally and cognitively challenged people.
• Make a determination as to whether we would want to include this type of programming in our long-term planning and if we would have the appropriate resources to do it.
• Hold an annual Alcona Regional Farm Conference.
CREATE A CULTURAL IDEA INCUBATOR
• Obtain information on how to go about branding Inspiration Alcona, Inc. as an idea incubator or clearinghouse that will support and mentor the ideas of others as well as pursuing our own mission.
• Work on becoming a resource for other groups regarding available grants, micro loans or other forms of support for their ideas and providing assistance to them in obtaining those.

RESOURCES AND THE STRATEGIC AND PERFORMANCE PLAN
The annual Inspiration Alcona, Inc., budget and funding needs are directly linked to the organization's strategic and performance plans. The goals and objectives contained in the Strategic Plan reflect goals and objectives and outcome information related to annual outcome reports, contract requirements and projected performance plans. The resources necessary to carry out the annual performance planning process will continue to be determined based on data of similar activity conducted in the past or at present and correlating estimates of applications, grants and leadership activity with the programmatic funding, and other operational costs, such as space and service delivery costs/needs necessary to effectively and efficiently implement the plan. Because of these efforts, the agency will be better positioned in the future to correlate new or increased programmatic activity with the resources necessary to carry them out. The strategic plan now in place is our second, covering 2020 to 2025.
FUNDING SOURCES
Inspiration Alcona, Inc., relies principally on earned income and grants, and to a lesser extent local sponsorships and donations to carry out our mission, vision and philosophy. .
Inspiration Alcona has received grants from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council annually since 2016, and from the Michigan Humanities Council in most of those years. Other grants have come from the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, First Federal Savings Foundation, Walmart, Meijers and the Harrisville Arts Council.
At the end of the fiscal 2017 year, Inspiration Alcona engaged in a fundraising program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for our new Farm to Fork Alcona initiative, raising more than $17,000, including a $7,500 grant from MEDC.

Inspiration Alcona, Inc., went from the kernel of an idea to a fully realized art retreat in nine months. The initial Alcona Arts Retreat was well attended and extremely well reviewed, and it celebrated a small profit. The follow g retreats have all netted small profits and attendance has climbed to the point that we cannot expand. The eleventh is scheduled for September 2022.

Our Lost Lake Writers Retreat, in partnership with Springfed Arts of Detroit, started October 2016. It attracted seven staff and 37 students. Our sixth annual retreat is scheduled for October 2022.

In 2014 we hosted a culinary arts retreat, which also got great participant reviews. We held a Farm to Fork Alcona food demo in 2016, drawing 22 people, and a local food dinner at the end of 2017 that drew more than 100 people. That dinner was part of a crowdfunding grant with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation that jump-started our Farm to Fork Alcona committee. We held the third annual Alcona Small Farms Conference in February 2020, just a few days before covid restrictions shut down most programs for the rest of the year.

Since 2013 we have sponsored educational visits to the local Alcona Community Schools.

In April 2015 we held our first Alcona GospelFest, an ecumenical event that attracted more than 200 singers and listeners and raised more than $1,000 for the host church's roof fund. It was the talk of the county for the next month. Attendance has been at the limit of seating in our small rural churches ever since. The 2020 and 2021 events were canceled by the coronavirus crisis. In 2022, the fest is scheduled for October 29.

In 2016 we began Alcona Authors, a twice-monthly writers group led by a retired English professor and a retired newspaper editor. People in the program currently are working on memoirs, novels, young adult books and self-help books. Four members have self-published books.

In 2017 we began offering free after-school guitar lessons to high school students. In 2018 we added ukulele lessons for elementary students (whose hands are too small for guitars). After covid interruptions, those programs are to resume in September 2022.

In 2018 we added our Farm to Fork Alcona program, which produced three small farm conferences before covid prevented more.

In late 2018 we also added Grand Art, in which fourth- and fifth-grade students are bused after school to the nearby Lincoln Senior Center, where they and the senior citizens jointly work on art projects led by a professional sculptor. Seniors and the kids also share dinner after the lesson; Inspiration Alcona pays for the children's meals.

In 2019 we began Dockside Jams, an open mic music night each Tuesday, held in winter at a local cafe and in summer in the open-air pavilion and lawn above Harrisville Harbor. In 2021 we added Harbor Nights, summer outdoor concerts by professional musicians.

Other events, both past and present, can be seen on the Inspiration Alcona website.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is hard to come up with good questions to ask people, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve

Financials

INSPIRATION ALCONA INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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INSPIRATION ALCONA INC

Board of directors
as of 06/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Will St. John

Inspiration Alcona, Inc

Term: 2022 - 2024

Judy St. John

Artist

Lynn VanderLinde

Alcona County Library

Will St. John

Retired editor

Laura Frawley

Probate Judge, Alcona County, Michigan

Joe Thomas

Alcona County Library

Helen Hierta

Retired chef and entrepreneur

Mael Fritz-Wilson

Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency

Tim Lee

Alcona Elementary School principal

Ilona Breitmeyer

Dietitian and caterer

Lenny Avery

Executive director of Alcona County Commission on Aging

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/14/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/22/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.