Blending Innovation with History

It never fails to amaze me what blessings and what hurdles we meet along this journey.  Last week we discovered there is a possible funder that might help us purchase the former stables for our sustainability hub.  Now we find that the mortgage holder wants to see three years of tax filings (for an organization that has only had to file one, we’re so young.)  They also want to see a three year estimate of income, though they won’t be holding the mortgage.

So how do you project the financial success of an innovation?  The best we can do is to explain how the system works – so here goes. What do you think?

After we get the buildings, we’ll sell the beautiful stalls to fund renovations to the barn so that dog people can start training their dogs in it. That brings us income, between rental of the training area and the arena, that’s going to give us our operational and start of renovations for the kitchen area.  We will also begin to stabilize the roof on the “Old Mill,” so that it can withstand the upcoming winter.
 
If we can stay where we are right now, then we’ll have the lobby open for meeting and classroom space. If not, then the Farmer’s Porch and the Porch will move down to the lobby.  The SchoolHouse Gallery will move to the brick reception room, will also serve as a formal meeting room.   We can start clearing the weeds, building the raised beds, and bringing goats down to get the poison ivy under control.  That will not cost much money, but will allow us to start offering more agricultural related classes. 

We will also work on spaces for woodworking, and a temporary home for the sewing studio, which eventually move into the Old Mill.  Our goal is that this will happen in time to allow people to make items for holiday gifts and for classes that will make that possible.

The finances for the kitchen, creamery and solar power will come from grants and donations, but they will be developed as soon as possibility in the order of kitchen, solar power and creamery.  Once that happens, we can really begin working in the “Old Mill.” That opens up the possibilities for the performing arts, the studios, the recording and technoshare studios, which are important but need to wait until the food hub gets going.

How does all this work? By cooperating and collaborating. It is not our goal to create a hundred jobs. It is our goal to create facilities and structure for individuals to start their own businesses, without the heavy duty start up fees.  Business owners work with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to coordinate their needs with the availability of resources. Exact agreements depend upon the amount of time, and what facilities are needed to accomplish their goal.

So how does a diverse organization such as NCSC develop a three year projection?  We don’t really know.  But we know this will work because we have such a strong set of interests, and such a diverse set of users.

So now we have to find a way to integrate “new society ideas,” with “conventionality” for bankers.  We had hoped to avoid this because I strongly believe that this project is best developed with individual contributions, but others had other ideas. So now, we have to find a way to purchase these empty buildings, with so much history and potential, using conventional loan problems.  Unless others are willing to help us (Hint, hint.)

We have had so many people tell us what a beautiful project this is. We have a vision that is strong and clear.  But we don’t have “wealth,” in our board’s “three W’s.”  Usually that’s “Work, Wisdom and Wealth,” but in our case it’s primarily ( sorry Dave) Work, Wisdom and Women.  Dave is our wonderful Vice President, my husband and our facilities director, but he is the only male on the board.  Maybe to be more politically correct we should say “Work, Wisdom and Wishes,” but we are more than a wish list. We are determined, inspired and optimistic.

This Sunday we are asking people to come to Ashburnham to be in a YouTube video that shows people how important NCSC and sustainability are to them. How will our facilities aid them? What are you looking forward to with the project? What part of sustainability, the arts, community or local economy means the most to you?  Visit www.northcountrysustain.org/BuyIt.html and find out how to join us.  Together we hopefully prove to “powers that be,” that we are a serious endeavor. Will you?

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