The County’s appraisal came in at $260,000. This is higher than the $220,000 we had budgeted, but is workable compared to the tax assessor’s value of $505,000. Nick showed an updated proforma with the new price, which was covered mostly by increasing grants, donations and in-kind. Representative Keny-Guyer wants to assist the project; she could recommend people to help us . Carl Wikman renewed the project’s url and is also talking with a screenwriter about doing a film about the first building to be named after a women, Lea Wikman, , which willinclude our building project. Meg has a contact of someone who does donor prospect research.
John asked if we needed the County to guarantee a loan. That was one of the supports we requested in the business plan proposal along with a contract sale and assistance with fundraising. When we met with Com. Shiprack and other representatives, we were told the County might not legally be able to guarantee private debt. There is a planned meeting coming up with Chair Cogen and Com. Shiprack’s representatives, but it hasn’t been scheduled yet.
Mike talked about his company, What Would You Like to See. He places signs at commercial properties that are linked to a web system that allows people to record and vote on the types of uses they would like at that site. It’s a way to both generate ideas and get market validation. Meg said it’s important to re-engage with the community since the project’s been on hold for several months. Mike offered to provide the service at no charge and the group was in favor of taking him up on this. Mike should connect with Mike Sublette at the County to get started.
Compelling case for the project
John and Nick talked about the need to make a compelling case for the project with funders. Strong points include the context around the building; what’s going on in the neighborhood, including increasing diversity and gentrification; what this place could be THE HEART OF FOSTER; partnerships; history (headquarters of the first rural Federal Community action agency MCCAA); and community participation, potentially through memberships. Meg is willing to work on this; Noelle Labrousse might be willing to help, also.
Noelle created a graphic identity for the project. Mike could incorporate that into WWYLTS. There was a recommendation to connect with the effort to redesign Laurelwood Park, the triangular public space across the street from Wikman. Ryan Givens of Foster Green has created a site concept and that group is starting to fundraise. It makes sense for the two projects to connect.
In the course of developing the Wikman business plan, Jason learned that Mt. Scott Community Center is operating above capacity. There may be a way to partner with the Park Bureau to operate Wikman as a satellite of the Community Center. John said that our neighborhood is not considered park deficient and it may be a difficult sell to get the Bureau to invest here. There may be an opportunity with Wikman to encourage a more entrepreneurial approach to Park Bureau facilities. There is precedent for “Friends” organizations to operate facilities in Bureau properties.
Other public facilities could be explored. There is going to be an expansion of community health facilities as health care reform rolls out. Beth is working on that for the State of Oregon; she said that the decision-makers on facilities would be the Continuing Care Organizations, which are Health Share and Family Health. She has an upcoming meeting with them and will ask if they might be interested in Wikman.
Nick suggested that the project is entering a stage where there are fewer general meetings and more committee work. Wikman has had three committees: fundraising, rehab and program. Some new names were suggested to be added to the existing committees (new people in italics):
Fundraising: Nancy Chapin, Beth, Sarah Iannarone, Noelle, John, Nick. Meg had been on the Program Committee, but wants to move here. Alyssa Keny-Guyer might not have time to be on the committee, but could help in various ways. The City’s new Arts Tax could be a source of funding. Nick is willing to lead this committee.
We might want to do a Request for Proposals to hire a fundraising consultant. Meg thought that the act of writing the RFP could help us clarify what our approach to fundraising should be and what we want from the consultant.
Rehab: Mike Masat, Mary Louise Ott, Joe Reed. Renee LaChance, who has a lease on the Bob White, might be willing to help. This committee doesn’t have a lot to do until we’re farther along in fundraising.
Program: Jonathan Brandt, Anne Dufay, Nathan Jones, Victoria Oglesbee. It would be valuable to have this group out in the community talking to potential partners. Jason will be the contact for Mike Caputo.
A new Governance Committee was proposed to work on forming the new nonprofit that would own the building. It could be made up of representatives from each of the other committees. Meg will update Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association, which might be another source of committee members.
The Governance Committee’s work would include writing articles and bylaws, applying for nonprofit status and applying for a 501c3 tax exemption. Meg asked if we could get a pro bono lawyer; others responded that we ought to be able to complete the 501c3 application ourselves.
Writing the Articles of Incorporation is the first step. It costs $100 to submit the state application. The state doesn’t require bylaws until a year after the application.