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A letter from Ted Dillard of the Brickyard Collaborative –
For the most part, we trudge through days, and tasks, and projects focusing our attention on the minutiae we need to, in order to get the work done. It’s kind of like hiking a rocky trail. You have to keep your head down, mind the boulders and logs, keep moving in the right direction, and keep from tripping up. Every once in a while, though, you need to stop, and look up.
This past week we crushed it, putting together a proposal for the MassDevelopment Collaborative Workspace Program. Early on, we went over the requirements and came really close to passing on it, simply because they require a 1:1 match, and we didn’t have much in the way of financial backing. Or so we thought.
We were talking, and one thing led to another, and a sponsor stepped up. He said he’d match any funds we could raise. We also read a little closer, and donations of equipment counted towards matching, as did donations of services. Suddenly, we had something to grab on to.
With only a week to go before the deadline, we launched a crowdfunding campaign and started
spamming, er, emailing all our contacts. Remarkably, we got no complaints, no spam flags, and no unsubscribes either. Everyone seemed to be tolerating us. Word got out, well, we pushed it out on Facebook and it got shared all across the North Shore creative and business communities. Donations started coming in. Words of support and encouragement started hitting the inbox, the comments on Facebook, and we made new friends and followers. By the time we hit the deadline, we had over $56,000 of matching funds, equipment and services we could claim.
Once you hit that “Send” button on a grant application, you have to just sit back, wait, cross whatever fingers or toes you like to cross, and believe you gave it your best shot. We gave it a hell of a good shot, and it came from the community. You guys.
Yes, there’s a sense of satisfaction that we put this together in a week. Yes, the money that came in is sweet, and will go a long way to get us into a space. Yes, we’ll do even better next year, and, yes, of course, if we get the grant it will be awesome. But what really came out of this was the understanding that we have a lot of people supporting us. We have a lot of people who want us to succeed. We have a lot of people who are counting on us. We have people who are, in fact, depending on us making this work.
It’s inspiring and gives us a push – a big push that we didn’t even really know we needed. We’re picking our way through the tasks and obstacles over the last year, through the rocks and tree stumps and branches, with our head down and our attention focused on what we have to do that step, that day, that week.
You told us, with everything you’ve done, all your help, to stop for a second and look up. Look up at where we’re going.
Keep making stuff. Take care of people, play nice and clean up after yourselves.