This past week, near the end of a long conversation, the other person said, "it is ridiculous that DRC is still financially unstable, eight years in." Their point is unarguably valid - we should not be. Nonetheless, this is reality, and we are not unique - it is the fate of so many not-for-profits. Our situation is compounded by the fact that many families who seek our services can't afford anything close to the full fee required to operate on a non-austerity level. Even asking our families to pay a more reasonable minimum (which we will be doing) - does not get us close to the number we need to pay our staff a living wage.
Bootstrapping is not for everyone. Only the folks who are 100% committed to a mission and dedicated to the survival of an organization - no matter what - understand the instincts that drive those of us who do it. Yes, it is understood that a living wage is necessary for the employees, and it is why we work so hard.
Would our situation be different if we used the term - mission-driven organization instead of a not-for-profit? It might.
Deep Root Center is fully powered by our mission. We just happen to have a 501c3 - because that model makes the most sense. DRC provides a safe, flexible educational environment for kids who dare to take charge of their education and life. DRC would be fully funded if I had a dollar for everyone I spoke with over the past eight years who fully agreed - asking, "where was DRC when I needed it?"
Therefore, I don't believe our fiscal issues come down to relatability or comprehension of what we do. But, what about urgency - have we expressed that enough? Have we told an adequate number of stories? What about relationship building - have we done enough of that?
I can't answer those questions - that is where you all come in. What can DRC do to attract more funders?
And with that, I have a few other questions: would you be willing to commit to sponsoring a DRC student member with a monthly or yearly contribution? Would you consider sharing this with your network to spread the word? Do you know any locally owned companies who have found success that would be able to sponsor a DRC member?
With your help, we can get beyond (this ridiculous reality of) bootstrapping. Bootstraps are perfectly suited for boots - not (so much) organizations with a mission committed to creating cultural change. Thank you!
Weekly Creative Meditation
The DRC-Canton lawn showcases our commitment to all of our kids, the pollinators, the native children stolen from their families, and our entire community.
DRC is hosting some work days at the Canton Center. Everyone is welcome to help out. We have a long list of inside and outside tasks that that need to be completed before Summer Program begins August 15th. The next workday is Saturday June 11th from 10-2. Some tasks require particular skill sets and others are for the rest of us. We can't promise that Digby Doo will look on with anything but disdain. Nonetheless, I will be deeply grateful for your help. Please let us know if you plan on coming out to help.
DRC-East Summer Program
We are exploring the idea of having a Summer Program at DRC-East in North Lawrence during the month of July (after July 4th week). Please pass this info to anyone in your network and please be in touch if you or anyone you know may be interested. It will have different programming opportunities and will be geared to children 7 and up. One week in particular will be 12 and up.
DRC-Canton Summer Program
We already have five families signed up. This program will likely be full - register today.