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Are you part of an activist group or non-profit organization looking for a decent place to meet or affordable office space? Are you dreaming of a place where all the progressive forces in your area could come together to exchange ideas and organize? Is the constant struggle for funds getting you down? Then the Progressive Center could be just the answer for you.
What is a Progressive Center?
It is a multi-use, multi-purpose center, which brings the progressive community together. Information, news, discussion, cafe, organizing offices, meeting space, office services, data services, fund raising, food, fair trade/union/local made goods and entertainment are all possible. This is meant to be a much larger venture than just the sum of its component parts. The Center creates a stable sustainable financial base for community organization. Revenue for progressive organizing staff is hard to find but providing it as a result of uniting the progressive community means we use our dollars to support ourselves instead of a distant corporation. We all want to work for something we believe in. Full time staff will be able to make efficient use of volunteer help in an environment that brings new people into the Center.
Think of the environment that could be created as you visualize the following options:
Rent office space to progressive individuals or organizations to pay for building costs. Many local organizations that are paying rent elsewhere could benefit from this new, centralized and multi-functional space. Don't miss out on the community involvement your group needs. Bulletin boards and common spaces inform visitors of each group's meetings, needs and activities to pique the interest of a Center visitor. The goal is to make groups effective by drawing new people and energy into the Center.
Free desk or shared office space for smaller groups or individuals. Common and shared office space can be used by hundreds of groups every month making the center their informal office. The Center will help create and strengthen groups and individuals that use the Center to help them grow.
Computer Data Center
Fund Raising and Grant Writing
Provide meeting rooms or space. Decent, functional meeting space is in high demand and it becomes a hassle to organize, but in a Center rooms can be made available for all Center residents.
The local independent media scene will benefit greatly from having a physical presence in the Center and visitors can see how easy it is to contribute. Publish events, meetings, schedules, actions and news or perhaps record sound or video of the meetings, announcements, press conferences and speeches to post online. Turn a meeting into community outreach.
You can have a dedicated performance area somewhat separate from the Center or one that spills into other common space to be used during off hours. This option depends on the building. Performance areas are important for fund-raising, large group gatherings and to make a Center a fun place to just stop by and see what is happening. Thus entertainment enhances the public outreach goals of the Center and strengthens all of the organizations within.
A Store and Cafe will provide a full range of fair trade/living wage/union/and local made products. The local made gallery can showcase different products, crafts and art each month with November and December as a Holiday Season Sampler of all local goods. Reward socially conscious businesses by promoting progressive purchases. The café will serve only fair trade, organic and shade grown coffees and local and organic food. A best possible product policy must be supported by all retail and service suppliers to ensure that socially conscious consumption is maximized.
How to make the Center happen
You can start by finding renters and locations. Free space donated by a local individual or realty group would be nice too! There are many more details but the rest can be worked out once you know how much rent (if any!) you have to work with and which large spaces are available. Approach organizations with this plan and see how many would rent space. Think about small groups and individuals that just need a desk and occasional office space and services. Anyone who wants to provide services discussed above can rent space.
Explain to groups how they can be more cost effective by locating in a multi-service Progressive Center. By operating in isolated space, groups are missing out on the community involvement they really need. You know your community and you have your own contacts so size it up.
Set up a Progressive Center in your community today.