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Legacy Decatur Board appoints full-time executive director

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Legacy Decatur Board appoints full-time executive director

Madeleine Henner will serve as the first full-time executive director of Legacy Decatur, the nonprofit organization that oversees Legacy Park. Photo courtesy of Madeleine Henner.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — Madeleine Henner will serve as the next executive director of Legacy Decatur. The Legacy Decatur Board appointed Henner to fill the role full time during its May 24 meeting.

Legacy Decatur is the organization that oversees Legacy Park, which was formerly the United Methodist Children’s Home. Legacy Park is located on South Columbia Drive in Decatur.

Henner is the director of programs for Legacy Decatur. She joined the administrative team in 2021 and went full-time in 2022. She will begin her new role as executive director on July 1.

Lyn Menne is the current executive director. She was appointed to the role in 2021 after serving in an interim capacity, according to the Legacy Decatur website.

Legacy Decatur Board Chair Tony Powers said the board discussed the candidates for the position during an executive session on Wednesday. The terms of her contract still have to be negotiated. Powers added that Henner impressed the search committee during her interview.

“We love homegrown talent and in this case it really worked out for our favor,” Powers said. “[Henner] clearly exhibited what we were looking for in an executive director. [Henner] possesses the skill set [needed] in order to grow this organization.”

Henner said she is honored to be selected to serve as the next executive director.

“It has been an honor to work with…the board for the last two years, and my mentor Lyn Menne,” Henner said. “Her constant thoughtful leadership, her aptitude to collaborate and her constant yes-if attitude has really enabled us to move so quickly through a lot of big projects in the master plan and really grow as Legacy Decatur. I’m excited to continue to learn and grow as we make Decatur more green, more attainable and more connected.”

Here is the full announcement from Legacy Decatur:

Decatur, GA — The Legacy Decatur Board announced that Madeleine Henner will serve as its new executive director effective July 1, 2023. Ms. Henner previously served as program director with the organization responsible for programming, event rental, and tenant relations at Decatur Legacy Park. “In my last two years with the Legacy Decatur organization, I have enjoyed the opportunity to expand rental revenue at the park, build a strong community of non-profits, introduce a variety of community programs, and play a role in implementing the community’s master plan for Decatur Legacy Park,” said Ms. Henner. “I am honored that the Legacy Board has given me this opportunity and I look forward to continuing to grow our organization.”

The Decatur Legacy Project, d/b/a Legacy Decatur, was established as a 501c3 in 2014 to support community initiatives throughout the City of Decatur. In addition to providing the non-profit vehicle for operations management at Decatur Legacy Park, Legacy Decatur supports a variety of community-based activities like Friends of Decatur Cemetery and the Season of Giving Program and serves as the fiduciary agent for community fund-raising around such projects as the John Lewis Tribute project.

As our mission statement states, “We grow programs, partnerships, and resources that create and support a positive legacy for Decatur,” said board chair Tony Powers. “To accomplish our goal we support programs to make our city attainable, connected, and green and our work at Decatur Legacy Park brings these activities together in one place.”
“The City of Decatur celebrates the 200th anniversary of its charter in December 2023 and Legacy Decatur offers a tool for supporting the community’s values for future generations, said Lyn Menne, who helped organize the Legacy Decatur as a non-profit partner to support the community’s goals. Lyn served as the part-time executive director for the past three years, helping expand the 11-member board to include 7 community members and develop organizational policies and procedures to provide a strong foundation.

Madeleine is a graduate of Decatur High School and Davidson College. Prior to joining Legacy Decatur, she worked as a research fellow on the American Voices Project with the Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University. “It is always exciting when our young people bring their skills and talents back home,” said Mr. Powers. “We look forward to working with Madeleine as we expand our organization to support our community.”

In other business:

– Legacy Decatur Board Treasurer Peggy Merriss gave an update on the fiscal year 2022 year-end budget and a report on the first quarter of fiscal year 2023.

The organization brought in about $337,000 in revenues in FY 2022. Legacy Decatur received more revenue than it had budgeted for, which was mostly due to film rentals. Although, film rental is not a predictable or stable source of revenue, Merriss said.

The expenditures for 2022 totaled about $282,000. Legacy Decatur had budgeted total expenditures of about $299,000. The difference was due to pushing the wayfinding signage project to 2023.

Legacy Decatur ended fiscal year 2022 with its assets totaling $917,152. Its total liabilities and net assets totaled the same amount.

“We had an increase in net assets of $57,000, of net unrestricted assets,” Merriss said. “Our total net unallocated and unrestricted net assets [were] $244,700.”

The net assets are funds dedicated to Legacy Decatur to allocate toward the park. These funds only require approval from the Legacy Decatur Board to spend.

– The board approved a contract with Rite Lite Sings in the amount of $65,504 and a project budget of $73,000 for wayfinding signage. The project is in partnership with the city and the Decatur City Commission recently approved the contract as well.

Legacy Decatur will provide $25,000 in funding and use up to $15,000 of its reserves to fully fund their half of the project. The city will provide the other 50% of the funding through the Public Facilities Authority fund.

The first phase of the project includes 37 signs. Menne said the first phase will include a mix of signs from larger welcome signs to pedestrian and vehicle signage, as well as signs for the buildings. The bid also included removing the existing signage at Legacy Park.

“As activity at the park increases, the need for an expanded and uniform wayfinding signage program has become very important,” Decatur Deputy City Manager David Junger previously said. “The bid does include the removal of the existing signage that’s on-site, and it will be used at city parks around Decatur, including Oakhurst recreation facility.”

– The Legacy Decatur Board renewed an agreement between the city and Decatur Legacy Project, Inc. for the program and operational management of Legacy Park. The city commission approved the initial agreement in August 2020 and the term of the agreement expires on June 30, 2023. Under the renewed agreement, it would expire on June 30, 2026.

After the three-year period, the agreement would automatically renew annually if both parties are still satisfied with the operation of the agreement and partnership, Board Secretary Andrea Arnold said.

The city commission approved the agreement at its meeting on May 15.

Menne pointed out a few changes that were made from the original agreement. The goal of Legacy Decatur is to get to a point where the organization generates enough revenue to be self-sufficient and not have city funds going toward the organization.

“This agreement clearly spells that out,” Menne said. “Our management fee [from the city] for the first year, which will be July 1 [2023] to June 30 [2024], is at its current rate which is at $66,000. The following year, that’s reduced down to $33,195 and for the final year of this extension, which is July 1, 2025, through June 30, 2026, it goes to zero.”

The agreement also states that any surplus revenue Legacy Decatur has would be returned to the city. The money would be held in the Public Facilities Authority fund for the use at Legacy Park, Menne said.

Additionally, the agreement clarifies the responsibility of the city to pay for building repairs, cleaning and capital projects. Legacy Decatur would be focused on expenses related to the operations and programming of the park and buildings, she added.

Legacy Decatur Board Treasurer Peggy Merriss raised some concerns about the timing of reducing the management fee from the city, although she was not suggesting the agreement should be renegotiated. The Legacy Decatur finance committee thought the fee should have been tiered out into thirds to allow the organization to better plan to be self-sufficient.

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