IRS forms: Jamboree lost money in 2012

Sean C. Morgan

According to tax documents filed late last year by the Sweet Home Economic Development Group, the Oregon Jamboree lost $95,736 on the 2012 event.

The Jamboree recorded $2,023,171 in gross receipts and $2,118,907 in expenses on Form 990 Schedule G, which provides details on fund-raising events, such as the Oregon Jamboree.

Local businesses benefit from the Jamboree, and that is reflected among the Jamboree’s expenses, said Festival Director Erin Regrutto.

The Arts and Crafts Festival, which is held Jamboree weekend to raise funds directly for the Sweet Home Beautification Committee, raised $7,693, recording $13,200 in gross receipts with $5,507 in direct expenses.

The New Era received a copy of SHEDG’s form 990 for 2012 on Jan. 17. Form 990 is a public tax document detailing financial data that nonprofit organizations must file annually with the Internal Revenue Service.

SHEDG and Jamboree officials have declined to report profits and losses for the event since 2011, including proceeds for the most recent festival, held Aug. 2-4, 2013.

Previously, the Oregon Jamboree reported each festival’s financial outcome a few months after the event.

But Regrutto said that 2013 was looking better financially for the organization, “the best it’s looked in the past couple of years; and we were able to give more money back. The Community Foundation got more money in 2013 than it had in a couple of years.”

Other organizations received better support too, she said. “That makes us feel good. That’s our goal.”

As long as the SHEDG organization is healthy and it is helping, it’s meeting its goals, she said.

The Oregon Jamboree is a three-day country music and camping festival owned and produced by SHEDG to raise funds for economic development and charitable projects in Sweet Home. It has been held annually, with one exception, since 1992.

SHEDG continued to spend money on projects and salaries during 2012. As a whole, the SHEDG organization reported negative revenue of $57,193 and expenses of $166,568.

Among the expenses, SHEDG provided $13,115 to the commercial exterior improvement program, $5,000 to the Sweet Home Community Foundation, $7,692 to beautification projects and $118,850 in other program services.

Expenses also included salaries for a bookkeeper, administrative assistant and economic development director. Economic Development Director Brian Hoffman resigned last year, and the position remains vacant. The festival staff included three full-time positions and one part-time position.

During 2012, the Sweet Home Economic Development Group used retained earnings to sustain economic and community improvements efforts, said President Kevin Strong. “Since then, we have taken steps to reduce expenses for budgetary reasons. For example, we did not rehire an economic development director after Brian took a job in Eugene last year, and we reduced contributions to the Sweet Home Active Revitalization Effort and the Community Foundation.”

Overall, Regrutto reported that the Jamboree led to $194,522 in benefits to local organizations and businesses, including $38,895 in direct payments and donations in 2012. Among recipients are school groups and programs, raising $81,274, the Community Foundation, the city and the Boys and Girls Club.

Regrutto also reported that the event raised $182,433 for these groups in 2013, with $32,928 in direct payments and donations and $78,341 to school programs and groups.

Since 2002, the Jamboree has netted $1,944,827 for local organizations and businesses, with $494,198 in direct payments and donations and $766,034 to district programs and groups.

“Despite significant ongoing competition from private, for-profit ventures, the Jamboree has been able to largely hold its own, which is a credit to our outstanding volunteers and staff members,” Strong said. “The Jamboree experience continues to be unmatched. Patron and volunteer loyalty and enthusiasm remain at high levels.”

For example, ticket sales for the 2014 Jamboree lineup are up over comparable prior years’ sales, Strong said. “And although SHEDG’s available cash outlays for dedicated economic development activities are not yet what we would like, the Jamboree continues to generate significant positive economic impact for our community.”

“Ideally, we will be able to resume a higher level of direct funding for economic and community improvement efforts in the future. My hope is that those whose support effectively underwrites competing private, for-profit events will have a change of heart and choose to help support our nonprofit group’s efforts for a better community. Meanwhile, the Jamboree and the Sweet Home Economic Development group appreciate the community’s continued support.”