Finances and Operations

Overview of Finances and Operations (June 2017)

We are a relatively small all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Tax ID #94-3190897, with a board of seven to nine members. We have no paid staff and keep no office space. We have minimal overhead expenses (for such things as software, mailings, promotional and fund-raising materials, etc.) Board members are expected to contribute monetarily as well as volunteer their time. Our overall budget falls into the smallest IRS category of less than $50,000 (average) per year.

The Fountain is located on City of Berkeley property and belongs to the City. All of our work is carried out in collaboration with the City. City staff does some basic maintenance and responds to emergencies, but funds that the FOFW raises from the community and our volunteers account for most of the routine care and maintenance of the Fountain and around The Circle and along Fountain Walk.

Our activities fall into three main categories: communications and fund raising, capital projects, and operational support.

Our communications and fund-raising activities include a website, a Facebook page, annual appeals for donations, and a small selection of fountain-themed merchandise for sale. The Berkeley community has been remarkably receptive to our fund-raising appeals, both our general annual requests for support and those aimed at carrying out specific improvement projects (see more below). The response rate has ranged from 6% to nearly 20%, mostly in small to medium-sized donations, but including some significant contributions. This has more than compensated for our fund-raising costs, which can range from 5% to 10% of our annual budget (including the costs of thank-you letters and PayPal fees for online donations).

Most of FOFW’s budget is dedicated to carrying out needed capital improvements or reserved for emergency repairs that occasionally arise.

FOFW has led a number of capital improvement projects over the years to ensure the integrity of the aging infrastructure of the Fountain and the surrounding historic landmark elements of The Circle and Fountain Walk. Those projects have included repair and replacement of concrete balusters and other masonry work that line The Circle and Fountain Walk (~$70,000), resurfacing of the bottom of the Fountain’s main pool (~$2,000), 3-D scanning of the sculptural elements of the Fountain to ensure they can be replicated if damaged (~$5,000), and replacement of the pumps that power the Fountain (city funds purchased the pumps for ~$3,000). We also carried out, in collaboration with the city’s parks department, a restoration and replanting of long-neglected planting strips along lower Fountain Walk, which included installing drought-friendly drip irrigation.

Our operational activities include routine monitoring of the fountain’s operation by a volunteer maintenance crew (for which the city provides four compost bins), a monthly work party of volunteers to do landscape maintenance and general cleanup around The Circle and Fountain Walk, and annually decorating the Fountain during the holiday season.