90th Anniversary Fundraising Campaign Underway
To all constituents of the BMNECC: members, families, friends, and supporters:
I am both excited and proud to announce that this season (2019-2020) marks the 90th anniversary of the Bulgarian Macedonian National Educational and Cultural Center! This fabulous and unparalleled milestone for our organization is a direct result of your past and present support and commitment.
The 90th anniversary year will culminate with an exciting weekend on November 13, 14 and 15, 2020, so please mark your calendars. Rooms for out-of-town visitors will be available at the Courtyard Marriott and Holiday Inn Express at the Waterfront. More specific information on weekend activities will be announced shortly, but, broadly, here is what we have planned:
Friday, November 13:
90th Anniversary Gala Banquet at our historic Center, followed by tributes, presentations, silent auctions and live entertainment featuring Orchestra Cetiri Jedan Dva. (Note: Due to space limitations at the Center, only 150 seats will be available by invite only.)
Saturday evening, November 14:
Our Hidden Treasures 90th anniversary show, featuring our world-renowned performing ensembles: Otets Paissii Performing Folk Ensemble, Shareni Chorapi Children’s Dance Group, and Danka Folk Dance Group, led by our Artistic Directors Bilyana Stoyanova Stafura and Aleksander Zankin.
Saturday evening, November 14:
Reception at BMNECC featuring Vladimir Mollov and his Orchestra
Sunday, November 15:
There has been significant progress at the Center over the past several years. We have maintained an energetic and forward-thinking board of directors, increased membership, renewed our commitment to education via our now-fully-accredited Bulgarian School, and expanded community participation throughout Western Pennsylvania and beyond. A look at the specific accomplishments of just the past three years alone attests to our enduring commitment to remain a multi-functional, value-added BMNECC.
Physical Facility and Capital Improvements Include:
- Renovation of the museum/classroom area which houses our acclaimed Bulgarian School for Children
Renovation of the lobby area
- Establishment of the Patricia Jordanoff French Memorial Library
- Renovation of the wardrobe area that houses our unique collection of Bulgarian and Macedonia costumes
- Installation of new chandeliers in the dance hall
- Renovation of our front oak door and archway
- Installation of a state-of-the-art fire alarm system
Upgrading of our WIFI, video projection, and technology capabilities
- Construction of a shed roof on the building’s side to eliminate basement flooding
- Refurbishment of our 85-year-old maple dance floor – “best dance floor in Pittsburgh”
- The disposal and/or donation of over 15 tons of duplicate, unrelated and/ or outdated items accumulated over many years
Cultural/Educational/Community Initiatives Include:
- Official and unanimous adoption of a set of overarching principles and values that will guide the actions and behaviors of the BMNECC organization in the years to come – enacted September 15, 2019
- An annual, 3-day Bulgarian Festival, “Na Megdana,” now in its fifth year, which includes dance groups from Bulgaria and multiple North American cities
- The continued success of the Otets Paissii, Danka, and Shareni Chorapi performing ensembles
- The ongoing success of both our traditional Vecherinka Balkan Dances, and our popular new Folkotheque Orfey dance parties
- Our unwavering commitment to present an Annual Concert of first-class caliber
- Our ongoing offering of dance and language classes for the broader community
- Acquisition of several major Bulgarian/Macedonian museum-quality costume collections from donors
- A partnership with the U.S. Library of Congress, whereby BMNECC donated over 200 historical and cultural 35mm Bulgarian films for digitization and eventually global access
- A partnership with the American University in Bulgaria
- Recipient of the competitive and prestigious Allegheny RAD (Regional Asset District) grant worth $5K
- The rental of our Center for many personal and community-based events, such dances, celebrations, and meetings. (Event requests from West Homestead Borough, Fire Department and other non-profit organizations are availed gratis.)
- Increased community outreach and collaboration via our long-term partnerships with organizations like Rivers of Steel and Visit Pittsburgh.
There is still so much more we want to accomplish. Our building, erected in 1935, is 85 years old and is in constant need of maintenance and/or renovation. Some of our immediate projects and concerns are as follows:
- Replacement of our 17-year-old heating and air conditioning system
- Replacement of the worn side doors in the dance hall
- Upgrading of our large stage area with new lighting, curtains, flooring, and an ethnically-accurate mural backdrop, thus providing visitors with a more aesthetically-pleasing event experience
- Modernization of both kitchens to industry standards
- Improving our exterior areas by refinishing the parking lot and creating more “green space”
- The ongoing preventative maintenance of our “flat roof”
Even though we’ve been able to fund most of our ongoing expenses (utilities, etc.) through income from rentals and membership fees, we must rely exclusively on extraordinary fundraising events (e.g., Bonanza Raffle, Night at the Races, Bulgarian Festival, Vecherinkas and concerts, targeted fundraising appeals) to accomplish the goals outlined above. Acquiring foundation monies in the Greater Pittsburgh Area is a difficult endeavor and competition for funds is fierce. Fortunately, our Bulgarian and Macedonian constituency has proven to be extremely generous over the years. On behalf of myself and the Board of Directors, Thank You! As President of the BMNECC and commensurate with our 90th Anniversary, I am once again appealing to your sense of generosity and asking you to make a donation commemorating this milestone.
We have established various levels of support that will be prominently documented in our 90th Anniversary Commemorative complimentary book that will be issued to our banquet and performance guests. You can make your secure donations by clicking the Donate button below:
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the BMNECC, thank you for your consideration.
Edward J. Markoff