Know Your Nonprofit: Miners Foundry a cultural, educational, social hub of Nevada County
December 24, 2017
Know Your Nonprofit is a Q&A feature with western Nevada County's nonprofit organizations.
What is your organization's mission?
Our mission is to preserve, enhance and use the historic Miners Foundry for cultural, educational, and social activities in Nevada County.
What programs and services does your organization provide and what is your impact in the community?
Founded in 1989, after the closure of the American Victorian Museum, the Miners Foundry Cultural Center became one of the epicenters of a cultural rebirth in the Nevada County community. The Miners Foundry hosts over 400 events annually, drawing well over 50,000 people each year.
A registered State Historic Landmark, the Miners Foundry is a symbol of California's rich historical heritage, providing an educational and social bridge from the past to the present and the future.
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How do you financially support your mission?
Miners Foundry funding comes from a combination of ticket sales, grants, annual giving, major gifts and business sponsorships and rental income.
What is your organization's history?
From humble beginnings as a machine shop in 1855 to its current incarnation as a cultural center and community meeting place, Miners Foundry has prospered and grown with Nevada County. The Miners Foundry was built in 1855 in response to the Gold Rush to serve the mines of the foothill region and fabricate equipment necessary to help Nevada County become one of the greatest gold-producing regions in the area. Among other equipment, metalworkers at the Foundry built the Pelton Wheel (1879) which revolutionized hydroelectric power. In 1907 the Foundry was sold to William Martin and renamed the Miners Foundry. Martin previously owned the local Mayflower Mine, which yielded a million dollars in gold over five years. Martin used the first commercial Pelton Wheel to operate his stamp mill.
In 1989, the Miners Foundry was purchased by the Nevada City Winery. The Victorian Museum relocated and a year later the Foundry was donated to the Nevada County Cultural Preservation Trust and renamed the Miners Foundry Cultural Center, dedicated to cultural, historical, business, and social and community events.
Some recent milestones include:
n Installation of a new stage with professional lighting and sound – enabling us to present state-of-the-art productions for the community
n Installation of a dance floor in the Osborn/Woods Hall – creating a comfortable experience for patrons and private party goers, and presenting professional dance concerts.
How do you work with other organizations to advance your mission?
The Miners Foundry works closely with Nevada County Arts Council and local governments. The Foundry has recently been designated as one of 14 California Cultural Districts. This distinction will have a significant impact on not only the Foundry, but also the entire community. Working with local theatre groups such as Sierra Stages, the Foundry helps the theater community cultivate new audiences and refine programming with a wonderful event called Theater by the Book.
The Foundry supports local dance organizations such as KSK Dance Collective, Ecstatic Dance, Holt Ballet Conservatory, Air Aligned, Movement Alliance and many others in hosting events in the Osborn Woods Hall. In addition , the Foundry support students from the NEO Youth Center, The Friendship Club and Big Brothers, Big Sisters to attend SoundGirls.org for no cost.
As a nonprofit that has been around for a while, what do you find unique about serving our community?
We've found that there will always be a need or a group of people for us to serve, just like there will always be something for us to fix or replace on our 159 year old building.
How do you engage community members in carrying out your mission?
There are multiple opportunities for community members to be engaged with the Foundry, as volunteers, board members, staff, Patrons, and Board Members. We also work closely with other nonprofit social and artistic organizations to co-sponsor events.
What are your organization's goals and/or plans for the next three to five years?
Fostering sustainability is always an issue for a nonprofit, the Miners Foundry included. In 2018, we plan to identify the specific structural, preservation and landscaping work that needs to be done and develop a fundraising plan to accomplish it.
The Center for Nonprofit Leadership provides the Know Your Nonprofit feature. You can learn more about CNL online at http://CNLSierra.org. The Center is on Facebook http://facebook.com/NevadaCounty NonProfitLeadership and Twitter @NevCoNonprofits.