First and foremost, we are attempting to create a sustainable funding model in which, excluding start-up costs, the nonprofit would be able to support its operating costs without the need to rely on outside grants or sponsorships. To do this, we are doing extensive research on relevant coworking spaces throughout the nation and comparing the different models. We are also meeting with local coworking owners in Detroit to gain their perspectives on what worked for them and what they would do differently. Many of these areas provide a unique niche to differentiate them from similar places, and it’s interesting to see the different ways they balance these while maintaining a sense of independent financial stability.
Second, we are working to locate local/national/international grants and corporate sponsorships, compile them in an easy-to access database for later use, and develop a grant proposal template that could be used for numerous future applications. Most of this information will be used by Build after we leave as it becomes more relevant, but our work now will streamline that process. Also, though I mentioned a sustainable funding model earlier, a certain amount of grant backing will most likely be necessary to fund the initial start-up and launch of the new space. Although oftentimes people find it more desirable to rely as little as possible on outside money, there are many viable options in Detroit that provide businesses like Build the necessary funding to begin making an immediate impact on the community.
Last, we are working to collect data through surveys of coworking space owners and alumni of Build education classes, as well as research on the surrounding area. We will be compiling all of this to help Build design the most optimal new space that both aligns with their mission and provides an influence on the community around them. Especially regarding the statistics about Detroit in general, it’s amazing to see the capacity for change available, but also the amount of positive effects that have already taken place.
We will also be representing Build at various community events throughout the summer. This allows Build to further expand their recognition within Detroit, but also lets us simply experience the community of people here at a more in-depth level. After doing this, it’s easy to see why the people working at Build Institute are so passionate about what they do. Whether it’s Midtown or Corktown, people really care about the communities they’re apart of: when they’re provided the necessary resources, they can greatly improve their environment. I’m proud to be able to contribute even just a little bit to this movement.