HAGERSTOWN — Help that the Doleman Black Heritage Museum badly needed — matching money to claim a state grant — arrived Thursday in the form of a $15,000 check.
It was from Lee Stine, on behalf of the Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Foundation, with a promise of $10,000 more within 30 days.
Stine, who lives near Sharpsburg, said he knew about the museum’s attempt to find a permanent home and had attended a fundraiser. But he didn’t know it was struggling to raise money until he read an April 1 story in The Herald-Mail.
“I felt immediately that we could help,” he said.
In 2009, the state approved $25,000 in capital money for the museum’s effort, contingent on the museum matching that amount.
With the June 1, 2011, deadline to show proof of the match approaching, the museum still didn’t have the money. Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, successfully got the deadline extended before the 2011 Maryland General Assembly session concluded earlier this month.
Stine, a past president of the Washington County Historical Society, said Thursday that his mother knew Marguerite Doleman, who collected a wealth of artifacts before she died in 2000.
He said his mother started a foundation in 2005, two years before she died. The majority of her estate went into the foundation, which focuses on helping organizations in Washington County, especially those related to youth or the arts, he said.
Stine and his wife, Patricia A. Stine, who also knew Doleman, joined museum supporters, Donoghue and former state Sen. Donald F. Munson on Thursday at the home of Janice Kelsh, Doleman’s niece.
Munson secured the original grant in 2009.
Charles "Sonny" Doleman, Marguerite’s son, said the foundation’s $25,000 donation shows lawmakers in Annapolis that “people are ready to stand behind this.”
Alesia Parson-McBean, who is helping with the museum project, said fundraising has been a struggle.
At the end of 2010, the museum had a balance of about $4,000 that it had raised.
The previous year was better, with about $11,000.
But with much of the money going toward operations, there was little available for the required match.
So, when Parson-McBean heard about Stine’s offer the day after The Herald-Mail story was published, “I was a happy camper,” she said.
Stine said the newspaper story came out just before the foundation board was to hold its next meeting.
Even though the foundation had locked in its plans to donate $65,000 to local causes this year, he and his brother, Larry Stine, agreed to find more for the Doleman Black History Museum.
Now, organizers are working on getting exhibit and office space for the museum.
Parson-McBean said she and state Sen. Joanne C. Benson, who represents Prince George’s County but grew up in Hagerstown, were in Annapolis on Wednesday to talk to state officials about getting their help.
As a result, representatives from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland Historical Trust are scheduled to come to Hagerstown for a meeting next week, she said.
A week later, representatives from the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture will visit the city.
Museum supporters also will ask local government bodies for their support.
“We need their help,” Parson-McBean said.