Last June we started a series of meetings of the Communications/Outreach committee. At the time we had only $6,000 in the bank and now thanks to this effort, today, we have over $90,000 in membership equity dollars.
Those meetings launched an outreach effort that included two large events, last year’s first annual Harvest Fair and the 2nd annual Dessert Auction. The challenge put forth the to the Outreach committee was to raise membership equity dollars and to raise the funds necessary to pay for the outreach promotion expenses and our monthly office expense.
In September of 2009 we qualified to receive volunteer service through the Americorp VISTA program, an office was set up and Evan Daigneault began a year of service to Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market which we also call, Co-op Market. Evan led outreach efforts with our Partners in Business program. Now over 50 businesses have joined us in these efforts and many businesses have memberships in Co-op Market.
The biggest challenge has been raising the money to fund our outreach efforts. In October we started a Breakfast to raise funds the old fashioned way. Good food. Good conversation. Sometimes good music and good folks. Four breakfasts were held over the winter and over $4000 was raised.
In November we raised another $7000 at the second annual dessert auction. You may have also seen us at outreach booths at the Winter Show, a Women’s affair, the midnight Sun Festival, Golden Days and the fair. We also had a presence at numerous other events around town. Those events paid for themselves and gave yet another opportunity to build our membership base.
We would not be at this point were it not for the help of an army of “enthusiastic volunteers”. Some people have given us the generous “in-kind” donation of their valuable time and skills that have saved us thousands of dollars.
A few deserve mention here for going above and beyond the call of duty to help with this amazing effort. Sue Sprinkle, of 5th Ave. Design, has given us an enormous gift of an amazing logo, print advertisements, a brochure and a beautiful member letter. I extend my immense gratitude for this magnificent undertaking.
In January, two new members joined our ranks ready to share their considerable talent. Johanna Carson is responsible for the beautiful breakfast flyers you will see posted at our Member Loan table and for the advertisements for today’s event.
Paul Delys created a new look for our website and continues to assist us in improving and streamlining the site. My thanks to both of them for their considerable efforts on this project.
Helen and Mike McClean and Tom and Barbara Bradley have been our breakfast team. At each breakfast they arrived promptly at 8 am and within an hour a delicious breakfast of freshly ground whole wheat pancakes, potatoes and reindeer sausage appeared. To Helen, Mike, Tom and Barb thanks for all you have done to help us come this far.
There are other people to thank for the many tasks and they include Richard Seifert and Hans Geier for their unfailing efforts with the finance committee, Evan Daigneault for his work on the Sprout Fund and Member Loan campaign materials, Shaun Lott for her continued enthusiastic efforts, not the least of was to put together the wonderful event we have enjoyed today. Cora Kelley and Morgan Macchione for their work on the second annual dessert auction and Morgan for giving us the idea of the breakfast series. Sharon Alden for leading the charge with the Health and Wellness Committee and Leila Ryterski for always being ready to jump in and do stuff. Gary Toth for once again being the “sound” man and Jose Luis Martinez for hosting this afternoon Andrew Crow of University of Alaska Anchorage deserves special thanks for finding available funds for the upcoming trip to Fairbanks of a professional grocery store planner.
Finally, I especially want to thank our chairman, Robert Leach, for his compassionate leadership, his thoughtfulness and steadfast efforts on this journey. Robert has contributed countless hours to special projects such as the two beautiful fair booths. Mostly, he has been a tireless advocate for consensus building and problem solving and has helped us to get along well with his unfailing positive attitude. Thank you Rob.
There are numerous other volunteers who help out. I can’t list them here but you will find their names posted at the door. If I left anyone out please feel free to place your name there.
Here is how you can help! Attend our fundraisers. The next one is the 3nd annual Dessert Auction that will be held on November 20, 2010 at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge. Pat Fitzgerald and Robin Dale Ford will be the featured entertainment.
You can also join our efforts today by helping out with our, Each One Bring One Campaign. And we will reward you. When you bring one more person who becomes a member of Co-op Market You can activate the $7 gift certificate we passed out today. It is good anywhere you see our Co-op Market Mini Store. If all of us bring one more member we will have a community grocery store in no time.
Thank you for your time today.