Since my livejournal is mainly local or fandom-based in its orientation, I am snipping an excerpt from a comment I made about repeated starts and stops to creating a community center in the Twin Cities. In light of the recent closing of Real Magic School, I believe that the problems at hand are similar whether in physical form or online. Essentially, what I am advocating is that instead of taking up with these ventures we form philanthropic foundations with the express purpose of training people for them down the line.
“As far as I’m concerned, here’s what I think needs to happen to have ONE community center:
Years 1-10 a series of people get training in nonprofits, volunteer management, grant writing, accounting and law.
Years 10-15 At least one grant-raising foundation is formed, possibly 3, carefully, with 501(c)3 guidelines at the forefront: one to cover medical/retirement needs, one for a community center/education, and one for legal needs – during this time rather than reinvent the wheel, the individuals should also involve themselves with the ACLU and other nonprofits with goals and information that aligns with the ultimate goals of the foundation. At this time, also send a batch of people off for business and marketing schooling with the express purpose of running a shop/publisher out of what will be the business that supports the community center. Include healthcare and retirement plans for these people.
Years 15-20 Create a very specific, multi-tiered business and community plan; this may take up to three years to hash out alone. Purchase the property (do not build new property), and make sure it has space sufficient for growth. Be practical – better to take a modern place than a charming “pagan-friendly” place with black mold. Also, institute training policies from the foundations on down that bring in interns to learn the practical aspects of these businesses. Apprenticeships will always matter.
Years 20-30: First five years, establish regular events at the center, watch the market, constantly check that the goals of the center are relevant to the community at large – because in the end, relevance is what matters most. Yes, it’s nice to have the space but always have a clear plan for what does it *do.* Also, it helps to make it a true hangout – having a coffeeshop onhand and clearly marked places to sit , etc. as well as a library will make the place directly more useful.”
Why do I project out for 30 years? Because that’s how long it takes the mindset to change.
You can read the entire original post and comments here.