Letter: Ambler Farm’s work is to the town’s benefit

To the Editors:
As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Friends of Ambler Farm files an annual IRS tax return known as Form 990. The filing contains information about the organization’s finances and operations, and ensures both consistency and transparency in our public communication.
Comments published recently in this newspaper and shared in other public forums assert that with “total net assets” of more than $1 million at the end of the 2018 fiscal year, Ambler Farm has no basis for claiming that it needs to generate additional revenue to carry out its mission.
We are very grateful to be in a positive cash position at the moment. Among other things, it means that the likelihood of our having to ask the town for financial support — and thereby increase the taxes of Wilton’s residents — is low. More importantly, however, concentrating on assets alone creates a distorted picture. That’s because the other side of our balance sheet contains our liabilities — the money we owe or plan to spend. At the same time, the balance cited in our 990 doesn’t reflect the costs of our summer program. After those are factored in, our adjusted net income for FY18 was $54,000.
We’d like our friends and neighbors to understand clearly that the cost of restoring the Raymond- Ambler House comes close to exhausting our assets. We’re not spending money on the restoration at the moment so it sits in the bank (and on our tax return). As soon as the project resumes, our assets will decline significantly. That is precisely why we need to ensure that once the Raymond-Ambler work resumes, we’re able to generate enough revenue to cover the operating expense associated with what, for all intents and purposes, is a new building on the property.
We welcome volunteers and encourage everyone to offer their time and expertise to help maintain Wilton’s treasured farm. I am happy to make myself available to discuss our financials, operating activities, volunteer opportunities and fundraising ideas. Please contact me at robin@amblerfarm.org
Robin Clune
Executive Director
Friends of Ambler Farm
Wilton, April 8