The Mateel Talks Money in a Letter to the Editor
Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of Redheaded Blackbelt nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.
Your Mateel Community Center has much to report–we have been very busy over the past few months. As you know, despite our deep financial troubles, we were able to keep the tradition alive and produce the 42nd Annual Summer Arts and Music Festival. This is due to the hard work of many, the generosity of many of our business sponsors, and the patience of many of our creditors. We are proud to say that this was the first year in institutional memory that we were able to accomplish this without the income from sales of Reggae on the River tickets. We were blessed with perfect weather and the event was a big success.
Going into the show, we allocated money to address debt as well as front-end production. We did this by generating income from several streams: our generous business sponsors, who stepped up to the plate and continued to support us; advance ticket sales, for which we were able to offer a deep discount at our office for the public and Mateel members; and of course our many food and craft vendors that paid to reserve their spaces. Thank you all for your continuing participation.
When the proverbial dust settled from the fair, we netted approximately $160,000, which is an increase of about $50,000 over the year before. A big reason this was accomplished was by significantly reducing our budget and streamlining many factors to make the fair leaner and therefore more profitable. These funds were immediately allocated as it was made available to some riding debt and ongoing operational costs, short-term community loans and loaded payroll as dramatically increased staff hours were needed going into the fair.
Along the way we were able to pay some critical past debts including 100% of what was owed to the Southern Humboldt Unified School District. In fact, in this calendar year, we have paid $140,000 in critical debt and have managed to pay past state-required audits to the tune of $30,000 which kept our organization in good standing with the Registry of Charitable Trusts.
We continue to operate under the Board of Directors’ management. We have no hall manager or general manager, and our hall staff is been cut to only a few part-time employees. The struggle is real. However, the hall remains open, and we are keeping up with the many operational costs such as insurance and utilities. If you would like to rent the hall for an event please call the office at 707-923-3368.
As many of you know, we no longer have the ability to produce Reggae on the River, and it is common local knowledge that we licensed the show to High Times Productions. They deserve kudos for taking the chance and producing the show at zero cost to the Mateel. Without their investment into the show and the community, the 34th Annual Reggae on the River would not be a reality. The Mateel stands to make a sizable piece of the net profits of the show (if that exists), so please know that supporting Reggae on the River still supports the Mateel. This is a huge economic boon to the area and really shouldn’t be underestimated.
We’re excited to announce that the Mateel will be operating a general store at Reggae, selling all kinds of goods and supplies–stop by our Jah Mall and see us! We’ll be located near the entrance to North Gate. All proceeds benefit the Mateel.
We will reevaluate where we stand financially after Reggae on the River is over–make no mistake, the situation is dire. We have a finger in the dam, and have managed to persevere so far thanks to the patience and support of the community. We are focusing on income so that we can keep the Mateel property intact. The board continues to meet weekly and holds its public meeting the third Tuesday of each month at the Hall at 5:30. Please come and add your energy to keeping the community center open.
Speaking of the Hall, our Building & Grounds Committee headed by Bruce Champie keeps on a-fixin’ broken things in need of repair, and that’s the kind of spirit that is sorely appreciated. We would like to remind people that giving can be very rewarding. If you would like to volunteer, please call the office at the aforementioned number.
We would like to highlight an act of generosity: Just Rent It, one of our creditors, recently wrote off our entire debt with them, as did Greenway Partners. A thousand thank yous goes out from us to those two local businesses and their spirit of generosity.
We hope you all stay safe this summer, hold your families close, for the very nature of community is people in cooperation, and we hope to see you around under the blue skies.
Eryn Snodgrass, Anna Rogers
For the The MCC Board of Directors