Building, Fundraising, Organization

You can help *cino win $50,000!

*culture is not optional has applied for a $50,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project. We’ll be using the money to renovate one room in Huss School, the 27,000 square foot building we purchased for our Imagining Space project. To receive the grant, though, we need to solicit votes from our supporters; the 10 projects with the most votes in each grant amount will win!
Voting for our project starts Wednesday and you can vote on the Refresh Everything site, via text message or through a Facebook application. You can vote once a day and we’ll need you to vote every day in December if we stand a chance of winning. We will post the links and numbers to vote as soon as possible.
If you’d like to receive a daily e-mail reminder, sign up for our daily asterisk e-mail list. We send out a provocative quote every day and, during the month of December, we’ll be including a reason to vote for *cino’s project.
Thanks! And more soon …

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Event, Organization, People

Practicing Resurrection 2010 – August 6-8!

This weekend, we’ll be co-hosting the biennial Practicing Resurrection conference with Russet House Farm in Cameron, Ontario. Our theme this year is “Urban Agriculture and the Peace of the City” and the event will feature keynote speakers Ched Myers and Elaine Enns, as well as a great slate of exciting workshop presenters.
It should be a refreshing and inspiring event!

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Building, Event, Organization, People

Huss Future Festival – July 24!

Huss Future Festival 2010 will take place on Saturday, July 24 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Stop by 1008 8th St. in Three Rivers to browse the rummage sale, to enjoy free coffee and live music at the bake sale and to purchase handmade art. Visitors can also learn more about *culture is not optional’s future plans for the Huss School property through tours and art exhibits, including the Tripple Ripple Community Gardens. All proceeds from the Future Festival will benefit the renovation of the historic Huss School for an off-campus program for college students and a community center. Bake sale donations, volunteers and art vendors are still being accepted; please contact us for more information about donating.

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Event, Organization, People

*cino board meeting today

The *culture is not optional board will be meeting in Three Rivers today to discuss our ongoing publishing and educational work. We’ll be talking about our publishing work, the upcoming Practicing Resurrection conference, the Imagining Space project at Huss School in Three Rivers and the necessary fundraising to sustain them all.
Your prayers for wisdom and discernment are very much appreciated. Thank you!

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Organization, People

Six interns to join *cino’s summer work

We are thrilled and grateful to announce that six Calvin College seniors will be making their way to Three Rivers after graduation in May to serve terms of one month to one year as interns. Three of these students developed interest in *cino’s work through participation in the March service-learning spring break trip, while three others heard about the opportunity through word of mouth. Johnathan, Liz, Marian, Paul, Rebecca and Stephanie all bring unique interests and skills and we look forward to moving the organization forward with their help, as well as continuing to build local community relationships energized by creativity and vision.

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Board meeting in Three Rivers

*culture is not optional’s Board of Directors will be meeting on Friday, April 9 in Three Rivers to continue conversations about moving forward with *cino. We’ll discuss a broad range of topics, including our continued fundraising efforts, the upcoming Practicing Resurrection conference, and next steps for the Imagining Space Project at Huss School.
As always, we’re very much looking forward to getting together with this amazing group of folks to talk about *cino. Please pray for wisdom and discernment while we meet.

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Fundraising, Organization, SUSTAIN *cino

Possibilities and the necessary financial conversation

A good chunk of our board meeting on February 19 was spent discussing the financial needs of *culture is not optional. We’ve never been more excited about the work we’re doing and the possibilities that lie in front of us–especially the Imagining Space project. But to move forward, we really need to establish a much more stable financial foundation. Toward that end, we established three budget goals that we’ll be working toward over the next few years.

Getting by

$30,000 per year / $2,500 per month

  • Basic building expenses (mortgage, insurance, utilities)
  • Technology costs (server fees, domain registration, etc.)
  • Printing and mailing
  • Event fees (conference displays, etc.)


$60,000 per year / $5,000 per month

  • All of the above, plus …
  • A double mortgage payment (paying down principle faster)
  • Additional printing budget for books in the Road Map Series
  • Salary and benefits for director
  • Funding for professional accountant
  • Promotional budget


$120,000 per year / $10,000 per month

  • All of the above, plus …
  • Additional mortgage payments, paying off the mortgage in 3 years
  • Additional printing and mailing budget for expanded mailing list
  • Additional printing budget for books in the Road Map Series
  • Intern stipends
  • catapult magazine/road journal honoraria
  • Salary for part-time property manager
  • Additional promotional budget

These budget goals are primarily operational and only extend for the next few years. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to raise additional funding through grants and other sources to help fund the renovation of Huss School.

We’ve set the following timeline to try to meet these goals:

  • $2,500 per month: June 12, 2010
  • $5,000 per month: End of 2010
  • $10,000 per month: End of 2011

On the one hand, these goals seem ridiculously ambitious and unattainable. On the other hand, we feel like we’re simply following through on *cino’s vision. As we reflect on God’s faithfulness when *cino’s supporters contributed $25,000 in 40 days a little less than a year ago, an annual budget of $120,000 seems pretty realistic. And when we think of what we’d be able to accomplish with such a relatively small institutional budget, we get pretty excited …

We’ll be sending out more information soon about meeting our first goal!

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Board meeting

The *cino board of directors will be meeting this Friday morning in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania; from there, most of the board will continue on to the Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh. While a number of things are on the agenda for discussion, the most pressing matter will be a conversation about financial sustainability so we can move forward with all of *cino’s varied projects.
Please pray for imagination, patience and wisdom as we meet!

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