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November 2023 Community Update

Wed, November 29, 2023 9:44 AM | Anonymous

Last month we had our annual membership meeting, thank you to all who attended! As part of that meeting, we elected 4 new board members by a consent vote since we had no opposed races. Our last board meeting was their first as official board members, and they elected our new slate of officers, including myself as president. One of my primary goals for my term is to improve our communication, so I’m aiming to put a note in our newsletter each month covering the key updates about the organization and an overview of the most recent board meeting. Our board meetings are open to the public, so you’re welcome to join in person or through the link on our Wild Apricot calendar on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00. We also have an AI transcript and a recording available on request, and meeting minutes that get posted to the wiki.

First of all, I’d like to send a huge, huge thank you to our outgoing board members and officers: Kat Cantner (President and Board Member), Joseph Bozarth (Board Member), Marsh Jones (Board Member), and Ken Schultz (Treasurer). They have all made huge contributions to making this organization what it is today, from navigating us through Covid to improving our financial systems to helping launch Wild Apricot. If you see them around, say hi and/or thank you!

Second, I’d like to introduce our new board members and officers!

  • Board Members:

    • Molly Swinder

    • Riley Harrison

    • Brandon Paplow

    • Tom Foran

  • Officers:

    • Sage Kaplan-Goland, President

    • Pi Chowdhury, Vice President

    • Patti Cordano, Treasurer

    • Mark Fleetham, Assistant Treasurer

    • Bob Poate, Secretary

You’re welcome to contact any of our officers or board members using their TCM email addresses (firstname.lastname@tcmaker.org), or you contact all of us using board@tcmaker.org

Board Meeting Updates

  • New managers: we had several people interested in manager roles after the annual meeting, and officially approved Catherine Cardenuto and Ken Schultz and Membership Co-Coordinators and Peter Haugen as Storage Manager.

  • Treasurer's Report

    • We now have donation envelopes! Please use these when making donations in the drop boxes in the shop

    • We now have all of our 2024 Budget Requests in, totalling over $75k. We plan on doing a special budget meeting, likely in early December. If you’d like to participate, feel free to reach out or just keep an eye on the calendar for the meeting info

  • Building Update

    • We had over 20 members of TCM leadership visit the location at 2518 N 2nd St a few weeks ago! Overall, folks seem excited about the possibility while conscious of potential drawbacks

  • Training for volunteers

    • We'd like to offer more external training opportunities for our members and especially our leadership. Aaron Berg has been looking into Stop the Bleed training for us, and we'll also be offering nonprofit finance/governance training to board & officers. If there's any external training you'd like to get for yourself or you'd like to see us offer, please let us know

  • 2024 Dates

    • Quarterly Cleanups are planned for 2/10/24, 5/4/24, 8/10/24, and 11/2/24

    • Annual meeting is tentatively scheduled for 9/14/24

Survey FAQ

Thanks to everyone who responded to our member survey, we had an excellent response rate of over 35%! We’re still working on a full analysis and report on it, which I hope we'll be able to link in our next newsletter. However, I wanted to take a moment now and respond to some of the most common/pressing questions we got on the survey:

  • Why are you thinking about moving?: Don’t get me wrong, I really love our spot in Seward, but it comes with some major issues, too, mainly: the roof leaks (and the landlord won’t fix it), it’s inaccessible to anyone with mobility issues, we’re getting close to what we think is the max capacity for the space, and we’ve been stuck on a month-to-month lease for years. We’ve stayed because the rent is super cheap, but we were just informed that our rent will increase by 50% in 2024. This increase will bring us closer to paying market price on the space, but for a substandard building. The building is for sale, so it’s also likely that a new owner would want to raise rents further. A new space would let us build shops to fit our needs better, increase membership, and even start thinking about new shops! Not to mention it’d be great to stop having leaks right on our most expensive tools.

  • Why haven’t you looked at XX location?: We’ve been looking all over the place, but also we’re all volunteers so we might miss things! There’s a decent chance we have looked at it, or maybe we missed it. If you have suggestions for alternate locations, feel free to let us know. In general, we’re looking at industrial/mixed use spaces with a minimum of 13k sq ft (ideally 15k+) in the center of the metro area, and rents <$15psf gross (lower is better)

  • I’m worried that if we move we might make some of the smaller shops smaller! And Why do we even have XX shops?: TCM is a member-run organization and we try to be responsive to what our community wants. That said, I haven’t met a single member of our shop leadership who seriously thinks we should get rid of any of our shops. Yes, woodshop gets far more usage than any other, but that doesn’t mean the other shops don’t have value and their own user bases. If we move, it’s likely that most shops will get a mild upgrade on space, not a downgrade.

  • Why do we have +1’s?: At its core, the +1 benefit is a way for us to incentivize people to bring in new folks to the space, and to bring people who might not feel comfortable in the space otherwise. We’ve gotten a lot of comments on how to improve this policy, so stay tuned! If you’d like to weigh in further, you’re always welcome to email or show up to a board meeting

  • Why are you thinking about raising rates? and Why should we continue adding members? and Don’t be greedy: TCM has a lot of members (486, as of today!) with a lot of viewpoints. One of our goals is to be as accessible to as many people as possible, and another is to provide the best service to our members. Those two things are always going to be at odds with each other. Raising rates will make us less accessible, but will let us have more, better space and better tools. Increasing membership will make the shop more full but lets us add new, diverse members and is another way to have access to more, better space. If we move, we’re also looking at losing a portion of our membership, and we need to find ways to keep the organization solvent as we take on that project. To be clear, TCM is in a pretty stable financial position, but not an unassailable one. Both staying and moving come with serious risks that we’re looking to ameliorate.

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