Cemetery hints of Lantern Fest return

Despite loss of state funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Forest Hills Educational Trust (FHET) still has $340,000 in assets and is hinting that its signature event, the Lantern Festival, could return next year.

FHET is the troubled nonprofit that organizes art events at Forest Hills Cemetery.

When asked about the possible return of the Lantern Festival, Program Coordinator Jonathan Clark told the Gazette that FHET “will hopefully have a big announcement to make in the coming weeks.”

FHET’s net assets of $338,100 last December were a big drop from 2009’s $498,600, according to documentation provided by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Clark told the Gazette that the drop is in large part due to the FHET not doing a major fund-raiser last year. Much of that $340,000 are in stock investments, not cash.

“We didn’t feel right asking people for donations” when FHET is not offering programming, Clark said. “Had we done one, we would’ve gotten over $100,000 in response.”

When asked about the viability of funding more events, Clark said that FHET Chairperson Bob MacLeod would know more about FHET’s finances.

“I know that we’re doing alright, that we could function next year if we do events,” Clark said.

A Gazette email to MacLeod was not returned by press time.

Former Director Cecily Miller was paid over $91,000 for 2010, her last year at FHET, according to financial filings. In 2009, her salary was $60,000. Clark’s salary is unclear.

FHET programming was abruptly suspended in January to evaluate the future of the nonprofit organization through a survey on FHET’s website, as the Gazette reported at the time. The outcome of that evaluation is still unclear.

The cut in programming caused the state to halt its FHET funding. FHET has only hosted the Lantern Festival and a series of walking tours this year.


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