(AP) - The celebration of the state's sesquicentennial year - which started Tuesday - will be on a tighter budget than party organizers had planned.
The state board created to direct the celebration has raised only about $1 million, only a quarter of what had been hoped for.
It's far less than the $8.5 million that Wisconsin raised for its sesquicentennial in 1998 and even less than $1.1 million (or $8 million in today's dollars) for Minnesota's centennial 50 years ago.
"For many of us, it's a lifetime opportunity to honor the state we love and do some things that promote us for the future," said Jane Leonard, executive director of the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission. "I do think we're doing a remarkable job with what we've got, but we could use more help."
“Something like this seems to fit not very well in the fundraising world.”Jane Leonard, Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission
State organizers last year had talked about $4 million for the yearlong celebration. Half was to come from the state and have from private donations.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty included $2 million for the Sesquicentennial Commission in his recommended 2008 budget, but lawmakers whittled it down to $750,000. That $750,000 will be equally split between local matching grants and statewide initiatives.
Also disappointing has been fundraising from the private sector. Leonard said that as of late December, the commission had received less than $100,000 in cash and $100,000 to $150,000 worth of in-kind contributions.
"Since 9/11, it's been very difficult to organize and get corporate support" for an event that lacks a clear focus or issue, Leonard said. "Something like this seems to fit not very well in the fundraising world."
Complicating matters are the other major events that have already secured corporate funding this year, including the U.S. Figure Skating championships in St. Paul, the U.S. Women's Golf Open in June in Edina, and the Republican National Convention in September.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)