Bidwell Mansion and the BMA

Last Saturday I participated in the Bidwell Mansion Fun Run (or in my case, Walk).  In spite of the rain I thoroughly enjoyed getting out with all the other Mansion supporters to help raise money and awareness for Chico’s centerpiece.

Lovers of the Mansion have raised over $100,000 to keep the Mansion open for the coming year. I couldn’t be happier, except that at the same time State Parks is breaking off its relationship with the organization that has been a mainstay of the Mansion for over 40 years. As a member of the Bidwell Mansion Association, I am disheartened and angered by this move to seize the BMA’s assets and dismiss its history of volunteering.

The State is taking advantage of an unintentional and temporary loss of non-profit status on the part of the BMA. The problem has been cleared up with the IRS, and non-profit status was restored retroactively. There is no reason not to continue the cooperating arrangement as before. Yet the State insists on terminating the agreement. Why?

Someone in State Parks wants the BMA’s money as a way to keep State Parks employees employed. But more than that, they want complete control. They do not want an organization to “cooperate” with them; they want a group that they can give orders to.

It’s a shame that the State is willing to abandon a long-standing relationship for a temporary gain.  They are throwing away years of good will and generous support, and that is something difficult to replace. But that seems to be the way of government bureaucracies.

Thanks for the support you’ve given to the cause of saving Bidwell Mansion. In spite of this setback, the BMA will continue to champion the legacy of John Bidwell.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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