At the Oak Park Community Foundation

After the SLF meeting (where Karen, Julia, and I got a surprising amount done — ALL the interviews are now off my computer and on the Google Drive, ready to be edited, so they should start showing up here soon, for one, AND we got started on the illustrator database, AND I publicized the first chapter meeting happening this weekend, etc.), I walked up to the Carleton for a reception for the Oak Park Community Foundation.

It was interesting — they were mostly talking about the fund performance, which is of only academic interest to me at the moment, since we opened a SLF fund with them only so we could take stock gifts — the stocks were donated to the fund, translated into cash for us, and we immediately took them out and moved them to our bank account for use in paying out grants and paying our new part-time staff. (Our Working Class Writers’ Grant is closing at the end of the month, reminder. Get those (free to apply) grant applications in!)

So when they were talking about having had a very good year growing everyone’s investments, I could only sigh wistfully and imagine what it would be like to have a $100k endowment for the SLF, that might grow from year to year. At some point, perhaps we will run a capital campaign, but we’re pretty far from that point right now.

I’m starting to gear up for our spring membership drive, and our goals are much more modest there — if we can collect 125 new members this spring, each paying $2 / month, that translates to $24 / year each, or $3000 / year total. That’ll give us enough money to ensure that I can keep paying the part-time staff for a few more months, and afford the editing services for the interviews we plan to put online for the Portolan Project (our attempt at crowdfunding free creative writing instruction).

So we’re a long way from an endowment! But I’m glad I went, even if I didn’t get a 19% return on an investment like everyone else in the room. (Sigh.) If we do get to a point where we can try to grow the SLF in that direction, it’s good to know that the OPRF Community Foundation seems quite capable in this regard. (Alex Gurevich, I saved their financial materials to show you when I get a chance; would be interested to hear your take.)

(As a side note, they also hold a fund for the library, so in my capacity as library trustee, it was interesting to think about that, and how if the library chooses to pursue more donations along those lines, what it might look like, in terms of cultivating donor relationships, etc. FYI, David J. Seleb, Matt Fruth.)

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