Merci to Daryn Slover for this article and the wonderful photos! C'est magnifique! As the Franco Center's executive director, I just have a slight correction to offer -- the Franco Center is the fiscal *administrator* of the program, not the fiscal backer. What the Franco Center offers is office space and the volunteer efforts of two retired accountants to maintain the books and handle payroll. It is that administrative time and expertise, not money per se, that the Franco Center will cease to offer after this year.
Most of the money for this program actually comes the French-American Cultural Exchange (FACE) in New York and Le Centre de la Francophonie des Ameriques (CFA) in Quebec. Together these entities provide a little over half the $52,000 it takes to run these programs in two schools for an entire year. This money goes to pay the teachers and cultural associates, provide snacks for the children, pay musicians to come and perform and teach songs in French, and provide ongoing curriculum development and teacher training sessions. The rest of the funding comes from in-kind contributions from Bates College for student interns, individual donations from many local citizens and companies, and grants from Bangor Savings Bank, the Maine Humanities Council and the Auburn Community Learning Center (with apologies to any entity I may have inadvertently failed to mention).
The Franco Center believes in this program's goal of teaching French language and culture to children and wishes to see it continue. At the same time, we are a very small non-profit with only 2 full-time employees, and the future growth envisioned for this program by its two main funders will soon outpace our capacity to administer the finances using only volunteers, not to mention find greater sums of money each year as it grows. We were the right entity to introduce the program and get it off the ground, and now the Franco Center would like to see a larger organization, with greater capacity and less ephemeral funding, build upon the solid foundation created largely through the Herculean efforts of coordinators Doris Bonneau and Diane Perron, whom we cannot possibly thank enough for their dedication.
...more details about WHAT'S on the menu. Typo, my bad. -LPM
Here are some more details about that's on the menu -- Appetizers are baked brie, spanakopita. Then a spring salad, followed by main course: a choice of roasted beef fillet in a reduced red wine sauce OR chicken marsala, with sides of roasted baby baker potatoes, Italian herbed rice, string beans with almonds and carrots in caraway seed, all topped with a dessert of red velvet cheesecake. Champagne toast at midnight after the concert. If you're thinking of going, don't wait until the last minute to get your tickets.
-Louis Morin, Executive Director of the Franco-American Heritage Center
P.S. I'l be live on WBLM sometime this Friday afternoon talking up this concert as the station broadcasts live from the front window of Gritty's in Auburn.