Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Southern Michigan Railroad Society, Inc.

  • Clinton, MI
  • www.southernmichiganrailroad.com

Mission Statement

Our mission is preserving Michigan's railroad history, starting with the Clinton Branch Railroad, laid in 1837 and the first branch line of the first railroad west of the Alleghany mountains. We also preserve historic railroad equipment, records and artifacts focusing on the tristate area (Michigan, northern Ohio and northern Indiana) and the New York Central Railroad, which owned the Clinton Branch.

Main Programs

  1. Historic train rides
  2. Preserving the Jackson Branch railroad
  3. Preserving historic equipment

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Service Areas

Self-reported

Michigan

Our prime constituency is the general public of Metro Detroit, the lower peninsula of Michigan, northern Ohio and northern Indiana.

ruling year

2014

President since 2014

Self-reported

Mark Beekel

Keywords

Self-reported

Railroad, Museum, railway preservation, train rides

Notes from the Nonprofit

In 2013, we made a major initiative to increase our revenue via program services, specifically train rides. We doubled revenue in 2013 and increased it further in 2014.

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Also Known As

SMRS

EIN

38-2445950

 Number

3197135098

Physical Address

320 S Division

Clinton, 49236

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

History Museums (A54)

Recreational, Pleasure, or Social Club (N50)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Doubled visitors in the last 2 years, engaging more of the public to railroad history.

Revenue from those visitors ensures our ability to preserve the railroad and collection.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Historic train rides

As a living, running museum, we operate train rides on the Clinton Branch railroad using historic railroad equipment. These services operate May to December. They include popular services such as the "Fall Color Tours" and "Santa at the South Pole". This is a key source of program service revenue.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Budget

$15,000.00

Program 2

Preserving the Jackson Branch railroad

We were formed to preserve the 13.5 mile long Jackson Branch Railroad, the first branch line of the first railroad west of the Alleghany mountains.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Budget

$5,000.00

Program 3

Preserving historic equipment

The most dramatic part of the collection is full-sized historic railroad equipment.

Category

Museum Acquisitions

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

None

None

Budget

$0.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    - Increase level of maintenance of our historic rail line and historic equipment, and facilities.
    - Increase the size of our collection.
    - Expand into a new site.
    - Reduce the organization's debt.
    - Revisit our strategic plan.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    - Continue to innovate to engage the public and bring support.
    - Redouble our investment in our core railroad and collection.
    - Position ourselves as an important regional railway museum.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    - We are the only bona-fide heritage railroad in Michigan.
    - Our railroad is one of the most appealing, well built lines in preservation.
    - We are ideally located to serve a constituency of 7 million people.
    - Unlike most heritage railroads, we own the railroad in fee simple, without dependency on other organizations.
    - We have the necessary equipment to operate historic trains for the public.
    - Our supporting organization has a 90-acre site we aim to develop into a state-of-the-art facility for railway preservation, including mechanical shops and indoor storage for railcars.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Our indicators are
    - visitor counts
    - visitor (passenger) revenue
    - collection size
    - facilities to care for collection (shops and car-barns)
    - donations
    - scope of work and expenditures for maintenance of the railroad and the historic collection.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Our organization is departing a long stagnation where visitorship hovered around 2500 people and revenues did not meet expenses. Our support is now growing very strongly and we are approaching a level of long-term solvency. This enables us to move forward.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Michigan

Our prime constituency is the general public of Metro Detroit, the lower peninsula of Michigan, northern Ohio and northern Indiana.

Social Media

Funding Needs

Remodel Transfer Caboose for handicapped accessibility using a wheelchair lift.  Add on board toilet facilities, cut out windows, cover over open grates.  Estimated total cost $27,000. Tie Replacement Program to continue maintenance on the 13.65 miles of track.  Each tie is estimated cost around $45 with ballast, spikes, plates, etc estimated around $65 per tie.  Over 3000 ties are needed per mile of track. Car Barn for inside storage and work area to house our locomotive.  Outside weather conditions take a toll on the equipment and we are limited on working during the seasonal weather of Michigan.

Accreditations

National Register of Historic Places - Listed Property

Affiliations + Memberships

Chamber of Commerce

Association of Railway Museums (ARM)

photos




External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Southern Michigan Railroad Society, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

President

Mark Beekel

BIO

Mark Beekel has been president since 2010. He is a 20+ year member and expert on track maintenance. He is the founder of TieScape Inc. which does contract track maintenance for railroads of all sizes, which has helped the railroad with a number of track projects.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mark A Beekel

President, SMRS

Term: Nov 2010 - Oct 2011

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

No

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

No

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?