The Dirksen Congressional Center Board has taken steps to ensure that the non-profit organization is financially secure for many years to come.
Archivist Frank Mackaman, the face of the center for many years, will not be working out of the center anymore. Mackaman bought a house in Arizona and will perform his Dirksen Center duties there remotely on an as needed basis. He will visit the center one week each month, and he will live in Pekin from April to October.
Dirksen Center employees do not have titles, but Mackaman said Lynn Kasinger will be in charge at the center performing office manager duties such as payroll. She has been with the Dirksen Center since August 1994. Mackaman said he mentored Kasinger in responding to research requests.
Mackaman said he can also respond to such requests remotely on web content development.
A third employee, Cindy Koeppel, in charge of web maintenance, will also go to part time in January. She has been with the center since 1999 and works remotely as well.
The Dirksen Center’s sole funding comes from interest earned on an endowment with a $6.1 million market value. The board wanted to make sure that endowment stayed in place, so with rising costs decided to make cuts. Mackaman became part-time on Oct. 1, which he said is fine. He has grandchildren in Arizona and will be able to spend more time with them, he said.
The board developed over the past two years a strategic and financial sustainability plan.
“In a small non-profit organization such as the Dirksen Center, the major cost element consists of salaries and benefits,” said Mackaman. “And so the center’s board of directors engaged in two types of planning.
“As a result (of the planning), we identified certain financial targets that we wanted to hit in terms of expenses and revenues. The purpose of identifying those targets was to make sure that the center’s endowment is sufficient to sustain us over the long haul.”
The board hopes to limit expenses to $350,000 to $400,000 a year, said Mackaman. The center borrowed $1 million in a 20-year-loan with an interest rate of .442 percent. The balance on that loan is now $408,636.52. It will be paid off on Jan. 1, 2024.
Kasinger said she is well equipped to handle whatever the public needs.
“I can get a hold of (Mackaman) anytime I need to,” she said. “You know, there’s been times when he’s been on vacation a couple of years back and people have called and I’ve been able to get the information for them.
“Just being in the environment you just absorb so much. (Mackaman) has mentored me over the years, training me in the archives just in case he would be gone.”