Thursday, October 07, 2004

Help

My friends know that the "H-word" is rarely in my vocabulary.

I always find it easier to do things by myself...as long as I know what I'm doing.

However, I am smart enough to recognize my limitations. I know when I need help.

My city has a problem, and my school has a problem. I have an idea but no experience, so... Here it is:

Cleveland needs to build a skilled workforce in order for it to maintain or attract business. The mission of Max Hayes High School is to build a skilled workforce. We have been working very hard to develop new programs, and raise academic acheivement levels.

This year, the district is broke. By now you are all familiar with the stories. Fewer teachers, bigger classes, no money for textbooks, materials, transportation, substitutes, field trips. You name it, we don't have it.
To fix the problem,the district is running a levy in November, pinning all of their hopes on an issue that begs more money from the poorest population in America, the residents of Cleveland. I recall an old saying my grandfather usd to say, "You can't get blood from a turnip".

So what will happen to the great programs we've begun at Max Hayes without the money to sustain them?
Hmmm...How does the private sector solve this problem?
They raise the money.

I've been to many benefits for various arts organizations and charities. These organizations seek patrons and ask for support. Why can't we do that at Max Hayes? The Cleveland School of the Arts does it.

What if we could get financial help from the corporate, business, and manufacturing community?

I've decided I would like to organize an event or benefit which would taget the business community and raise money for tools in the shops and materials for academic classes.
We desparately need money for things like nails and lumber in the construction classes, and gas and metal for welding. Money is needed to replace broken tools, and pay for paper and copying. We also need to replace missing textbooks that cost $60-$100 apiece.

Trouble is, I've never done anything like this before, and I could use some advice.
If any of you have some experience with event planning, or know someone who does, and wouldn't mind spending a little time sharing your expertise, let me know. I am sure the community would support a fundraiser like this, and I really want to do it right.
Any suggestions?

7 comments:

(Maria) Adele DiMarco Kious said...

Great idea Mary Beth. Keep the ideas pumping and the message out there! I have one for you. How about taking much of the waste from construction and demolition sites and using it for your students? I did a study for the Cuyahoga Solid Waste dept and the Cleveland Green Building Coalition three years ago on ways to reduce/reuse/recycle the waste from construction sites. There is a ton of waste that just goes into the landfills! Logistics is the issue, but there are plenty of possibilities.

Mary Beth said...

Great ideas Mary Beth, although the school-tax-paying part of me growls to think that I'm paying a lot of taxes (in a different part of the world, but with the same problems) but the schools and classrooms don't have what they need in the budget to do the job at hand.

You're on the right road to fundraising though: clearly defined needs; carefully designated and prioritized ways to spend the money, both of which let you approach donors with things they can budget for and give. Without making it a tit for tat deal, think about what the donor will get out of it too beyond warm fuzzies and knowing they're being an active positive part of the community. They get some publicity and name attachment.

As much as I'm a mac person -- try the Gates' foundation too - big companies with big budgets and a will to be out there in the public doing good things.

ladygoat said...

I haven't much in the way of fund-raising experience, but I do have one small suggestion that might help. You could set up a wishlist on http://wishlist.craigslist.org/ or for more art stuff, at http://www.dickblick.com/wishlist/, so that people have an opportunity to buy you the actual supplies you need. I get the sense that people around here are suspicious of school taxes and levies and so on because they think it's being wasted; maybe if they can buy a specific, useable product, they would feel more inclined to give.

marybeth said...

Thank you, everyone, for all of the great ideas.
I continue to marvel at the ability of the internet to develop communities, facilitate networks, create friendships, and solve problems.
I have come to know each one of you by reading your journals, and I truly appreciate the time you have taken to respond to my dilema. You are all such busy and creative women!
I will let you know how my efforts to improve the programs here at Max Hayes pan out.

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