As we all struggle to find a new normal in these unusual times, I am going to say what we already know is a constant when it comes to the Griffin Museum. Our staff and our supporters are amazing.
First, our Executive Director, Paula Tognarelli is an absolute gem.
Paula is the face of the Griffin and she keeps us engaged through ZOOM, Go to Meeting and virtual online exhibitions. What is more important is that Paula works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the Griffin will survive the pandemic that has consumed our lives for over a month.
Here is one case in point. When congress announced that it was establishing a one trillion dollar fund to help struggling businesses and not-for-profits obtain loans to survive this crisis, Paula jumped into action to get funding for the Griffin. The beauty of these loans is that if not-for-profits continue to operate and pay existing staff, the loans become grants. Basically free money for the Griffin gave Paula a mission to move forward.
She spent countless hours well into the night to fill out the government paperwork and attempt to find a lender that would submit the forms to the SBA for processing. None of the Winchester banks were willing or able to help us. This did not stop Paula.
During one of her sleep deprived nights, she saw the repeat of a segment on MSNBC that featured Harvard professor, Karen G. Mills, who offered encouragement in the process of getting a loan. Paula contacted Professor Mills who gave her a lead on finding a lending institution that would sponsor our loan/grant application. Karen Mills and her team have proven to be a continuing resource for Paula.
Good news/bad news is that the Griffin did not get funding for its loan application in the first round. However, Congress has now authorized a second round of funding and our application is in front of the line. Hopefully it will be approved this time around.
Whether the Griffin gets its loan/grant from the SBA or not, the one constant is Paula, who continues to work indefatigably to keep the Griffin afloat for future generations.
Second, Iaritza Menjivar was a hard worker always going above and beyond. Our new Associate Director, Crista Dix is following in her footsteps with experience and a similar work ethic.
Third, Martha Stone’s continuing work on membership and renewals as well as helping out on weekends is amazing. The Griffin owes Martha our gratitude. JulieWilliams-Krishnan, too, gives her time to further all Griffin programming.
Fourth, our members and supporters continue to help out in wonderful ways. One member even had a Facebook birthday fundraiser for the Griffin that raised $1,000. Happy birthday and happy day for the Griffin!
As a gesture of my gratitude, I am sending a check to the Griffin in honor of Paula, Crista, Martha and Julie to thank them for doing great jobs. Will you join me in
to keep the arts alive and well? Thank you.
Andrew D. Epstein
President of the Board of Directors
Griffin Museum of Photography