Strategic Plan 2013 - 2018
Updated 2016


Our vision is to make Alcona County a haven and destination spot for artists of all kinds, where they can learn to hone their craft as well as be inspired and empowered to unleash their creativity and to create a new economic base for Alcona County through opportunities for cultural tourism.


• To provide a friendly, supportive environment for the arts. 
• To attract artists and musicians to the area so that they can discover what Alcona County has to offer in natural beauty and inspiration. 
• To make Alcona County a destination and retreat area for artists from all over, thus enhancing the economic vitality of the community.


Inspiration Alcona, Inc. is committed to the premise that the natural beauty of the area will serve as a perfect backdrop for those wishing to engage in creative pursuits in the arts. We believe that by using the uniqueness of the community's natural beauty and inspiration as a marketing tool to host educational seminars and ultimately a weekend arts/music festival, we will draw people who wish to engage in those pursuits to Alcona County and will thereby enhance and revitalize the economic vitality of the community.

Board of Directors Statement

The Inspiration Alcona, Inc., Board of Directors is committed to ensuring the organization continues to provide quality educational opportunities and retreats in the arts and to work with community partners and business owners to ensure the economic revitalization and growth of the people and community whom we serve. We will support and encourage the participation of community members and business owners to break down cultural and economic barriers and to create an alliance committed to creating a new economic base for Alcona County through cultural tourism. We as a board will continue to review the administrative, programmatic and financial needs of the organization. We will actively work to assure the highest-quality educational opportunities are presented with the maximum amount of community involvement and to ensure the continued growth and expansion of available educational opportunities throughout the calendar year to achieve the most long-term economic benefits to the community as a whole.

Strategic Outcome Goals

FINANCIAL: To obtain 501(c) status and to set up finances and bookkeeping for the organization in a manner that comports with the best practices for nonprofit organizations. Then to have an audit to be able to demonstrate to potential funders that the organization is financially sound and responsible and adheres to the strictest standards of accountability for nonprofit organizations. To then seek out corporate sponsorships, continue to cultivate local support and partnerships, seek grant funding and establish a marketing plan, which would include the hiring of an Executive Director at some point. 
MAXIMIZE PARTNERSHIPS: Continue to cultivate cultural and educational (musical, visual arts, literary arts, dance etc.) partnerships and create a coalition of area cultural groups to meet on an occasional basis to share ideas and brainstorm. To continually look for potential new members of this coalition and invite them to become engaged in the idea sharing and brainstorming. 
EXPAND TYPES OF EVENTS:  Increase the numbers and types of events held over the course of the calendar year with the ultimate goal of having regular events year around. To expand these events from visual arts and music to also include literary arts, culinary arts, performing arts and to begin to expand programming to include events geared specifically toward children's programs, senior's programs and programs for the physically and developmentally challenged. 
CREATE A CULTURAL IDEA INCUBATOR:  Brand Inspiration Alcona, Inc. as an idea incubator. To host an annual or bi- annual collaborative meeting of all interested creative groups to discuss and set goals for how we can draw cultural tourists to Alcona County and meet the long term goal of becoming a destination and artist's haven to create a new economic base. As an idea incubator and clearinghouse, Inspiration Alcona, Inc. would assist those who present ideas worth pursuing with obtaining micro-loans or grant funding to support the transition from idea to reality.

Performance Strategic Action Plans

Inspiration Alcona, Inc. Programs, will bring about the realization of its goals by the following actions: 
• Prepare and submit an application for 501 c 3 status. 
• Develop and implement a long-term nonprofit financial plan and bookkeeping system with the aid of a professional planner to assure best practices are followed.
• Engage in county-wide marketing of this idea and create community partnerships by having board members personally present the vision to individual community organizations and businesses.
• Approach county, township and municipal governmental units to be officially recognized.
• Actively seek financial support locally and through corporate sponsorships, as well as researching and applying for any and all grant funding that Inspiration Alcona, Inc. may qualify for.
• Create a marketing and public relations plan including a media kit that will be capable, over time, of expansion to a national level.
• When it becomes financially feasible to generate a detailed job description, advertise, interview and hire an Executive Director to manage the administration of programming, marketing and financial accountability. 
• Assemble a comprehensive list of regional groups that would be potential coalition participants.
• Contact area cultural groups including art councils, art guilds, writer's groups, dance groups, theater groups, culinary groups etc and invite their participation in a meeting to share the vision of Inspiration Alcona, Inc., as well as share ideas and brainstorm.
• Set a date for a coalition meeting and secure a venue that will be conducive to open and free discussion of ideas. 
• Research and contact other similar organizations to view their organizational format and how they grew from their inception.
• Assemble a catalog of the array of programs being offered by other organizations. Examine what resources would be required to present similar programming. Determine our own capabilities and limitations as an organization and then decide what array of events we would like to be able to present and over what time period they could be presented.
• Research the resources and limitations of presenting programming specifically designed for youth, seniors, or physically, developmentally and cognitively challenged people.
• Make a determination as to whether we would want to include this type of programming in our long-term planning and if we would have the appropriate resources to do it. 
• Obtain information from area college resource centers, businesses and marketing agencies on how to go about branding Inspiration Alcona, Inc. as an idea incubator or clearinghouse that will support and mentor the ideas of others as well as pursuing our own mission.
• Work on becoming a resource for other groups regarding available grants, micro loans or other forms of support for their ideas and providing assistance to them in obtaining those. 
• Create a strategy tool for effectively and consistently ensuring diversity in Board membership.
• Review and revise Board membership capacity and responsibilities.
• Recruit new Board members.
• Create a policy for Board member giving.
• Create a dashboard for evaluating the agency’s programs, operations, growth, stability and adherence to the mission, vision and philosophy. 
• The Board of Directors will actively and consistently ensure policies, procedures and practices support consistency in recruitment and development.
• An active selection committee will be created and retain primary responsibility for implementing recruitment and development responsibilities.
• The Executive Director will support the Board by ensuring the Board and selection committee receive technical assistance when necessary. 
• Increase financial stability through donor recruitment.
• Develop a formal fund raising plan.
• Eventually establish an Endowment Fund and set a goal to increase that fund by a minimum of five percent annually. 
• The Board of Directors will create donor recruitment goals and actively work towards successful outcomes.
• The Fund Development Committee of the Board will spearhead the development and implementation of a draft fund raising plan. A plan will be adopted by the full Board, identifying and outlining 1-2 annual fund raisers/development activities.
• With the support of the Executive Director the Board will develop policies, procedures and practices that will enhance potentials for increasing contributions to the agency and its endowment fund.


Inspiration Alcona, Inc. went from the kernel of an idea to a fully realized art retreat in nine months. The initial Alcona Arts Retreat was very successful, well attended, extremely well reviewed and did not suffer a financial loss. Inspiration Alcona has continued to work toward establishing organizational stability and will be presenting another Alcona Arts Retreat in 2013. All arrangements have been made and we are currently recruiting students for eleven workshops. The Board also researched contra dance and has begun hosting a monthly community dance. After two free dance workshops in March and April, 2013, the first official dance was held in May, as a memorial to Jon Stevenson, a participant in the first Arts Retreat who died soon after.

2016 Financial Accomplishments Update: Inspiration Alcona won its 501(c)3 status in 2014 with an effective starting date of May 3, 2013. The books are now kept on the QuickBooks nonprofit program. With nonprofit status in place, we have been successful in winning grants from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and (as a pass-through from MCACA) the National Endowment for the Arts, from the Michigan Humanities Council’s Touring Directory program, from the First Federal Foundation and from the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, as well as other smaller programs.

2016 Events Update: In 2014 we served as financial guarantor for Live Art at the Harbor and brought in to Alcona Elementary School the children’s author Jonathan Rand. In 2015 we sponsored Live Art at the Harbor as an Inspiration Alcona project and brought the Magical Rain Theaterworks program to Alcona Elementary School.  In 2015 we sponsored our first annual writers retreat. The Contra dance project begun in 2013 drew fewer and fewer participants during 2014 and we closed the project in 2015. But we've started a new ballroom dance program in partnership with First United Methodist Church of Harrisville with a successful Valentines dance on Feb. 13, 2016. Also in 2015 we participated in the Lake Huron Discovery Tour with a paint-in session in downtown Harrisville. And we sponsored the first annual Alcona GospelFest in partnership with First United Methodist Church of Harrisville. Currently we are showing a classic movie at the Harrisville library each month, we have two school visits scheduled through MHC (Historic Mackinac on Tour and Carl Behrend), as well as a free public concert by Carl Behrend and a songwriter showcase concert.

2019 Events Update: The website's Past Events page summarizes events since 2015.

2016 Cultural Incubator Update: The Alpena-centered group MACNE (Michigan Arts and Culture NorthEast) has done a good deal of this work in relation to its Lake Huron Discovery Tour, subsuming any effort we might have made. The other goals for this section are beyond us at the current state of development.


Community partnerships, collaboration, education and public awareness efforts are embraced by all board members. The Board of Directors assumes a leadership role by actively and consistently creating policies that are developed, reviewed and revised to ensure consistent, standardized best practices with regard to financial accountability; public awareness of activities that reflect the organization’s mission, vision and philosophy. 

2016 Partnership Accomplishments Update: We have collaborated with Wayne State University Press and Springfed Arts on our first and planned second writers retreats. We have partnered with the Lincoln Senior Center and First United Methodist Church of Harrisville for dances. We are partners with the Alcona County Library for our current film series. In addition we have brought in as financial support for our school programs not only Alcona Community Schools itself, but also the Alcona County Library and the Alcona County Review newspaper. For Alcona Gospelfest we have involved the One Voice Gospel Choir of Saline as well as First United Methodist Church (2015) and St. Anne’s Catholic Church (2016), both of Harrisville.

Organization Management

• The board of directors will evaluate the performance of the executive director on an annual basis and assess his/her performance as it relates to the organization’s progress in obtaining its goals and objectives.
• The board of directors will review the organization’s personnel policies and procedures on an annual basis.
• The administrative/supervision of the organization will insure all programs and financial management consistently meet or exceed contract, grant agency standards and legal guidelines and requirements.
• The organization’s policies and procedures will be consistently implemented and enforced in compliance with contract, and local, state and federal legal requirements.


The annual Inspiration Alcona, Inc. budget and funding needs are directly linked to the organization’s strategic and performance plans. The goals and objectives contained in the Strategic Plan reflect goals and objectives and outcome information related to annual outcome reports, contract requirements and projected performance plans. The resources necessary to carry out the annual performance planning process will continue to be determined based on data of similar activity conducted in the past or at present and correlating estimates of applications, grants and leadership activity with the programmatic funding, and other operational costs, such as space and service delivery costs/needs necessary to effectively and efficiently implement the plan. Clearly, economies of scale can be achieved, but substantive changes in programmatic funding necessitate changes in salaries, benefits and expenses and program support areas. Because of these efforts, the agency will be better positioned in the future to correlate new or increased programmatic activity with the resources necessary to carry them out. 
Inspiration Alcona, Inc. relies heavily on local sponsorships and donations to carry out our mission, vision and philosophy. These appropriations are anticipated to change to include corporate sponsorships, fundraising and grant funds. 

2016 Funding Sources Update: With grants from MCACA, MHC and CFNEM, during 2015 and 2016 our income divides approximately evenly between earnings from students fees and unearned income from the grants and donations. This has allowed us to expand the number of activities offered, especially those for local residents on which we expect to lose money.

Public Disclosure

The organization will create and distribute an annual report presenting accomplishments, challenges and financial and program information. The organization will additionally maintain a website, as well as respond to written requests for information accessible to the general public by contract standards and laws and legal guidelines.

2016 Public Disclosure Update: The website features our annual Cultural Data Project report, as well as our Guidestar report, both of which include financial information. The website also contains program information for both past and future events.


This document was updated February 16, 2016, as marked in the text.

A new strategic plan is in progress as of March 2019, but it cannot be completed for a good reason: We are involved in a large project with Alcona Community Schools that remains in early planning, leaving Inspiration Alcona unable to fully update its own plans.

The school is in the midst of purchasing 43 acres of land adjacent to the campus that will be used for student agricultural training, community gardens, a community commercial kitchen, a community center and more. Inspiration Alcona and, especially, its Farm to Fork Alcona committee are partners with the school in developing the vision and seeking the funding for this new effort. Because this project is still in early planning stages, Inspiration Alcona cannot yet create a strategic plan for this part of its mission.

The strategic plan updated in 2016 and reviewed without significant change in 2019 (above) applies only to the arts and culture aspects of the overall Inspiration Alcona program.
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