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Brick Campaign update: Occupy Huss!

Huss Project launch!

We’ve been pretty quiet on the Brick Campaign front for the past few months while we focused on summer programming, including interns, Huss Future Fest, Triple Ripple Community GardenFamily Fun Nights and the summer lunch program.  It’s been good to get outside, kick a ball around, paint some murals, grow some vegetables, sing some songs and foster relationships as neighbors.  In the meantime, we’ve continued our fundraising progress through Future Fest income and individual donations.

As the weather turns cooler, we’ll be investing more focus again in our fundraising goals through the Brick Campaign.  We’ve already met goals to pay off our mortgage and flush a toiletOur most critical goal for the second phase of the campaign is to get occupancy for one room by December 31, which is why you’ll hear us playfully re-framing the campaign to OCCUPY HUSS!  An occupancy permit is important at this phase for two big reasons:

  1. Occupancy will allow us to continue our creative, all-ages programming year round, even in the coldest-of-cold winter months.
  2. It will also allow us to escape the property tax burden we currently bear because we don’t have occupancy — a savings of about $3,500 a year, which can then be invested into programming and infrastructure.

We’ve done a walk-through of the old kindergarten room with our local building inspector and we need to address three specific issues in order to get occupancy: we need a heat source, we need to get a second bathroom up and running and we need proper exit signage and lighting.  In addition to these functional improvements, we are excited about the possibilities for making the room a beautiful, imaginative space with our characteristically resourceful flourishes.

To reach this goal, we are hoping to raise an additional $40,400 by December 31 through a four-fold strategy:

  • Underground Supper Clubs: We’ve raised $5,500 so far through our whimsical, delicious, home-cooked dinners.  Our next event, featuring a rustic Italian menu in our friend Karla’s beautiful barn, will take place on September 21.  We hope to hold two more supper clubs before the year’s end.  Please let us know if you’d like to be on the invitation list!
  • Local business support:  We’ve been preparing a packet to present to local businesses large and small.  There are many businesses who have been committed to our community long term, and we’re planning to stick around a good long while as well.  It makes sense to collaborate with institutions who share a vibrant vision for our place.
  • Grants: We have been and will be applying for available funds that match our vision and timeline.
  • Bricks!  We still have up to 404 bricks for sale, so please give some thought to who or what you might like to honor through a brick purchase.  Bricks are $100 each and come with a lovely, handmade print of the historic Huss School.

We appreciate any and all contributions as we work toward this important goal over the next several months.  The good work we’ve been able to do at the Huss Project so far has only been possible because of the ideas, volunteer hours, dollars, skills and vision our supporters near and far have given so generously.  Thank you for your continued encouragement!

Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma

Kirstin is a member of the *culture is not optional core community and is the Head Caretaker at GilChrist Retreat Center.