404 East Idaho Street  PO Box 104 Virginia City, MT  59755  info@ellinghouse.org

Virginia City Arts Organization Poised To Make a Big Leap

The Elling House Arts and Humanities Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization who brings cultural events to the area and celebrates local talent, has leased space in the historic Elling House since its inception in 2008. Now the property owner is ready to part with the historic 1876 stone house landmark, and the organization is mounting a campaign to purchase the building as a permanent home for the arts and humanities in rural Madison County.  Their vision includes bringing an executive director on board to expand current programming, partner with other arts organizations, and make the center an even more vibrant resource in the community.

According to Amy Grice, Virginia City resident and great niece of Mary Elling, "I can't imagine Virginia City without the programs at the Elling House. We live in such a diverse, talented community and the Elling House Arts and Humanities Center brings folks together in a way that is so inspiring and intellectually stimulating. Mary Elling was a visionary!"

The Elling House Arts and Humanities Center hosts community events and programs throughout the year, and showcases an Artist of the Month through the summer months. One of the favorite annual events is the Splendid Feast, a sumptuous holiday dinner served on several nights in December in the beautifully decorated ballroom. Through the long winter months, local folks flock to monthly Chautauquas, where talented community members from around the region share a potluck dinner then sing, make music, read from their works, or perform short skits.  Seasonal offerings include programs such as poetry readings by the Montana Poet Laureate, musical performances, scientific presentations and more. Writing workshops, history workshops, and a children’s theatre camp round out the offerings at the Center.

The Elling House Arts and Humanities Center is seeking your help in raising funds to continue the legacy of arts and education in Montana, and preserving the special, historical building they call home. Gifts to the capital campaign will be augmented with grants to raise the purchase price for the Elling House.

Our Newest News!!

The Elling House Acquisition Plan

Interested in making a tax deductible donation to our acquisition?

Download our donation form here

or you can make a donation through our PayPal account on our Support The Elling page.


Download more detailed info on our 5-year plan here.

Questions & Answers...

What exactly is the fundraising being used for?

The funds will be used to purchase the Elling House property from its current owner, Toni James, to provide a permanent home for the EHAHC. Initial fundraising in 2016 will gather seed money to raise 25% of the estimated purchased price of the real estate in order to qualify for a bridge loan to make the purchase. An ongoing capital campaign for 2-3 years will raise the balance of the funds.

What is the total amount of money that needs to be raised?

The total goal of the Capital Campaign is $600,000. The initial fundraising goal is $100,000 to qualify for a bridge loan to purchase the property. Of the $600,000, $400,000 is earmarked to purchase the property, $75,000 to finish renovations including a fifth bedroom for the B&B, $100,000 for start-up costs, including two years of the Executive Director’s salary, and $25,000 for Campaign/Fundraising costs.

How was the house’s value determined? Was there an appraisal done? What about due diligence?

An estimated purchase price was obtained through a realtor. A title search has been performed, and there will be a survey obtained and a formal appraisal done as part of our due diligence.

How much will be borrowed with the bridge loan? How will the bridge loan be paid?

The goal is to raise $100,000 in seed money before September 30th, which is 25% of the estimated purchased price. This will qualify the EHAHC to borrow up to $300,000 in a bridge loan. After the bridge loan is obtained, the capital campaign and grant writing efforts will continue for the next 2-3 years to raise the needed funds to pay the loan.

What happens if the initial campaign is unsuccessful? Will I get my donation back?

Yes, your contribution is tax deductible to the full extent of the law. The EHAHC is a 501(c)(3) organization. You will receive a letter that meets IRS requirements for acknowledgment of your gift. You should keep this letter in a safe place.

Is my contribution tax-deductible?

Yes, your contribution is tax deductible to the full extent of the law. You will receive a letter that meets IRS requirements for acknowledgment of your gift. You should keep this letter in a safe place.

How will the mortgage and the Executive Director’s salary be paid?

The existing B&B business (Elling House Inn) will provide a stream of income to pay the Executive Director’s salary. The mortgage (bridge loan) will be paid by the Capital Campaign. The business plan is based on actual figures from the 2015 financial statements of the Elling House Inn and EHAHC, with conservative projections. In the first two years, the Executive Directors salary will need to be partially covered through the capital campaign efforts, after which the Center should be self-supporting.

Isn’t running a B&B illegal for a non-profit?

IRS Publication 598 clearly indicates that running a B&B is acceptable. We will simply be required to pay taxes on the proceeds before they flow into EHAHC. Two clearly separate sets of accounting books will need to be kept. An experienced accountant will be employed to manage this effort.

Who will be the Executive Director? What will their duties be? How much will they be paid?

We are currently developing the Executive Director job description. We expect the director will manage the B&B, expand EHAHC programming, allow the house and art gallery to be open daily on a seasonal basis, broaden collaborative efforts with regional art associations, and lead the transition of EHAHC to the next level. We plan to have a national call for applications. The successful candidate will start in March 2017. Housing in the spacious second floor apartment will be available. A salary of $45,000 is projected.

What if the EHAHC disbands? What will happen to the Elling House?

Non-profit law requires that all assets or proceeds from sale of assets be given to another non-profit. The EHAHC Bylaws state this in Article 12 Section 3. Non-profit entities such as The Montana History Foundation and/or Humanities Montana could receive such an unlikely windfall, or another local non-profit such as the VCPA.

Will the EHAHC be subject to any code issues, etc. if the Elling House is no longer a private home but is a public space?

Code requirements at the local level that would apply for the Elling House Inn include business license, resort tax, and design review for any exterior changes.  At the county level, the Sanitarian will probably need to inspect the kitchen. The EHAHC will continue to meet current Montana state requirements for short term rentals (e.g. B&B, vacation rentals) which mainly concern fire safety. From a public assembly perspective, we will continue to abide by occupancy, access, egress, etc. restrictions.  We have reached out to the county sanitarian for further advice.

What will happen to the EHAHC if the acquisition of the Elling House is not successful?

It is likely that the EHAHC would gracefully fade away since the Elling House is our identity and our mission is based on Mary Elling’s legacy of bringing the arts to her community in this historic venue.  Although we could and would propose the idea of a continued lease to the new buyers, nothing could be guaranteed, as that is a big ask of a private homeowner.  

If you have any further questions or concerns,

please contact The Elling House Arts & Humanities Center!  Thank you.