Sustaining a cultural heritage institution like the JWA brings about a number of challenges. As the JWA engages members of its community in creating solutions for sustainability and preservation, the institution is also faced with the challenge of ensuring that it has the funding it needs to operate now and into the future. This is an important part of the operations and plans of any repository. Sustainability is comprised of more than just the technologies and information professionals that will ensure that an institution’s materials will remain preserved and accessible. A sustainable repository is also a repository that has the funding that can make these other components possible.
According to its 2009 Annual Report, the JWA’s total net assets were $7,102,061 while its total net liabilities were $68,917. While these numbers may not seem to very large when we apply them to larger institutions, they allow a small digital archive like the JWA to operate. The Annual Report also provides information on the board of directors of the JWA and the institution’s donors. The donors listed include those who donated $100,000 and more to those who donated $250 and everyone else in between.
The JWA is frank about the fundraising efforts one their website. They encourage visitors to donate and these donations can be made for specific purposes. For example, the development of the oral history archive that we touched on previously is supported in part by users and visitors of the JWA website. Sponsors of cultural heritage institutions can be comprised of both individuals and commercial businesses. The JWA seems to embrace this approach to building on the financial piece of the sustainability puzzle.