There were two obvious takeaways from last week’s installment of Affirmations’ ongoing monthly community chats. First, Affirmations Board President Mike Flores, who conducted the chat, wants the community to know that the center is continuing to take steps on the path toward financial recovery. Second, he also put out a request for the community’s help but not just financially. Flores said volunteering is a great way to help the center.
“We’re encouraged,” Flores said as he started the meeting. “We’re hopeful. And, most importantly, we’ve come to identify and solidify that Affirmations continues to be relevant in peoples’ lives and in the community.”
Flores, who was joined by five additional members of the center’s 11-member board, including newly elected board vice president Cheryl Czach, gave a report on the center’s financial condition early on in the night.
“Since December, our reserves are still the same, about $58,380,” Flores said.
In addition, there is nearly $137,000 in the Building for the Future Fund. All but $20,000 that was set aside for general operating expenses, will be used for building and infrastructure issues going forward. And in the last six weeks or so, Flores said the center had received almost $89,000 in donations.
“Really, what this signals, to us, is that the community and the donor base are still encouraged, still enthusiastic and still believe in Affirmations,” Flores said. “They still know that Affirmations is required, is needed and is relevant in our community. … And what this also allows us to do is be able to go to endowments and foundations and corporate partners and say, ‘Yes, there is still a relevance to Affirmations and we can show you this because over the last six weeks we received almost $89,000.’”
Flores also reported that the board had transitioned from a governance board to a management board and stressed that board members are more active at the center than ever and a regular on-site presence.
A Call to Action
But the biggest block of time throughout the meeting was undoubtedly spent talking about the center’s current needs and the board’s plea for assistance in the form of volunteers.
“We’ve identified several areas where we need people with this particular expertise to help us,” Flores said. “We’re calling out to the community to say, ‘Where can you help us?’”
Flores listed specific areas where the center needs help: grant writing, technology, staff development, group development, organizational development, communications, programs and building management.
An additional call for help was put out for what Flores called founders and legacy leaders.
“If you are a founder or legacy person from 10 years ago when this building was built, or even from 30 years ago from in the basement with Jan [Stevenson, founding executive director of Affirmations and co-publisher of BTL], we want to tap into that institutional knowledge. We don’t want to lose that institutional knowledge. We want to honor that institutional knowledge. We want to use that particular committee as a sounding board as we move forward.”
Finally, Flores said the center also needed volunteers to help with the planning of the center’s annual Spring Bash which takes place in March, along with general volunteers as well.
“If you’re not a subject matter expert in one of these key areas that have been identified and you want to volunteer, we can use you,” he said. “We can find something for you to do. Everyone who wants to volunteer has value to bring to the organization and can benefit us here at Affirmations.
“We thought we were alone,” Flores continued. “When we had to decide to restructure in November, we didn’t realize that we have a whole community that’s still fully engaged, that wants to have a dialogue with us and wants to help us.”