Banners Proving Popular

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Banners will soon flutter along San Marino’s major thoroughfares, recognizing community members and businesses essential to two local fundraising campaigns.

Banners recognizing donors to the SMSF will hang on Huntington Drive.
Banners recognizing donors to the SMSF will hang on Huntington Drive.

The San Marino Schools Foundation, which received permission from the City Council last October to hang 70 personalized banners from streetlights in front of three of the local public schools, has already gained commitments for 52, according to SMSF Executive Director Christopher Kealey.
The Old Mill Foundation, meanwhile, quickly sold out of the 65 recognition banners that will hang from streetlights along Huntington Drive, Sierra Madre Boulevard and in the Mission District to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Old Mill.
Both campaigns will salute key donors who have supported these efforts, whether it is underwriting instructional programs in the public schools or helping pay for restoration work at the historic building. The banners for both organizations will be going up in the next week or so. Those for the Schools Foundation will fly through the end of the school year, while the Old Mill flags will be up until November.
And this could well establish a trend for causes looking to raise money in subsequent years, creating an avenue of flags on Huntington Drive.
“I believe this is an incredibly distinctive way to recognize our most valued donors in the community, both parents and businesses,” said Curt McClam, co-chair of the SMSF’s Annual Campaign. “… The campaign has achieved and we expect will exceed our expectations.”
Similarly, John Quinn, president of the Old Mill Foundation, said, “We are overwhelmed at the positive response. It’s very encouraging to see how many people, when they had the opportunity to vote for the Old Mill, quickly stepped up and filled our available space. We’re very excited about the year that we’ve entered.”
The two organizations will be realizing vastly different infusions of cash from their banner campaigns. The Schools Foundation made them available to people who donate at the $5,000 level or above. The Old Mill Foundation offered banners for $200 each, and figures to net perhaps $8,000 for the entire effort.
Quinn said the Old Mill Foundation “did not look at this as a fundraiser. It’s more of a friend-raiser,” in the interest of building the group’s membership base. The bulk of the building’s restoration will be covered by a $100,000 grant from a program in county Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s 5th District.
The idea for the Schools Foundation’s banner campaign was hatched by some of its trustees, Kealey said.
“As word got out,” he added, “some people said, ‘I’m at the $4,000 level. I could definitely increase to the $5,000 level.’ We’ve seen a huge bump in that.”
The SMSF was granted permission by the city to place two banners each on 35 streetlight poles adjacent to San Marino High School, Huntington Middle School and Valentine Elementary School. (Because Carver Elementary School adjoins county property, it will not have streetlight banners on Huntington Drive.)
If the foundation’s number of donors at the $5,000 level exceeds that allotment of 70 banners, McClam said, additional banners can be hung on light poles in the parking lots of the schools, including the driveway approach to Carver.
The SMSF agreed to reimburse the city for staff time to cover installation of the banners and will be paying for extra brackets on the poles to accommodate a second banner.

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