Fred said the MCC had been in operation for almost 18 months and, given Rotary's support of the project, he though we might enjoy an update.  Not only did Rotary give a significant donation, many Rotarians are active in the Centre's operations.  John Lister, Alison Durtanll and himself are on the Board and Phil Edmunds, Amanda Woodman and Jamie Hunter are all working on programming.

Fred introduced the several staff who were present - Eugene Rae, the GM, Theresa, the Events Manager, Jennifer Kerr, the Assistant Manager and liaison to the box office, the volunteers and all the program committees.  Carolyn Jones and Matt Poirier are the chefs who have been in charge for about 6 months.  And of course, Reinhart Weber, whose gift of over 10 million made it possible.  There is a management committee of which Fred is the Chair, Peggy Breckinridge the Secretary, Andrew Markle, Finance Chair, Alison, in charge of marketing, and Anne Hartmann the Volunteer Co-ordinator.  There is also a Board of Directors which has representatives from Quest and Huronia Players, several appointees with a business background and Carolyn Tripp, the Town CAO.

Traffic is the aim - bums in seats, in Freds felicitous phrase.  Awareness of the Centre and its programs and features is growing in the community but attendance is still slow.  There is a mailing list of 3,000 and growing.  Rotary Hall is the centre of activity but Huronia Players is doing very well and selling out their shows almost every time.  The theatre is so well equipped and designed that it's the envy of other theatre groups.  The Atrium is a hub for meetings, performances, meals and conversation.  The food at the cafe is always changing and its reputation is growing.  Quest has two huge galleries and reports 15,000 visitors since the opening.

Volunteers staff the box office, help serve and clear tables at meals, act as ushers and coat check and do a lot of the maintenance.  The MCC is still seeking financial self sufficienicy, a very rare business model.  Meaford has a smaller facility which they support with a budget of $750,000.00.  The aim is to continue to expand programming but also to apply for grants for which, up to now, they had not been eligible for, and to see more from their partner tenants such as a recent gift from the Players.  The Atrium and the Board Room are also available for rent.

Lister is working on funding, focusing on donations to support specific programs, especially those aimed at children.  But they already have a large list of activities - concerts by Brookside Music, which had sold 2,300 tickets, and others, volunteer driven ones like Phil's Wellness and Amanda's Destinations and the Folk Club and the HUB on Monday at 5:00.

Fred sees the Centre as central to the economy and says the cultural institutions spin off 9 jobs for every one they create which means residents moving in and the cultural IQ rising which is good for all.  There are challenges - traffic, financial sustainability and maintaining the volunteer roster - but progress is being made.