Darryl Cherney Hopes to Help ‘Save the Mateel, One Debt at a Time,’ Will Present Proposal at Tonight’s Meeting
Cherney explained he wants to step forward because he sees the Mateel as vital to the community as the place we gather when there is need of a plan, need of a conversation, as well as when its time to celebrate.
In addition, says Cherney, “There is an enormous amount of blood, sweat, and community tears invested in the building, from the wood that was cut and the floor that was made to the actual construction of the site by volunteers. This building was built by the community and if we have to pay for it twice, so be it.”
Cherney says the Mateel’s purpose and depth of meaning were driven home by his five-year-old daughter Abigail. He mentioned to her while they were driving to school recently that the Mateel might go out of business. She was distressed and cried as she said, “That’s where I see my friends; that’s where all the good parties happen. Daddy, that’s where I see Santa.”
Cherney suggests we look to the kids for direction on forgiveness and the need for community–especially as times feel like they may get tougher moving into the future.
His proposal includes a unified, organized fundraising campaign that combines a statement of reconciliation to the community for this calamity with bylaw and policy changes designed to prevent a future debt crisis.
Saving the Mateel, One Debt at a Time
Cherney points out that 700 Lifetime Memberships would eliminate the debt. he proposes that people or families donate to the Mateel with $1,000 Lifetime Memberships receive premiums such as free attendance to Mateel events for a year. People who donate more might become “pillars of the community” and get the name or message of their choice painted on the supporting columns inside the hall. Someone who really digs deep might get their name or cause placed prominently on a stage.
But Cherney says the centerpiece of his fundraising campaign is an “adopt a debt” campaign. Cherney says, “We can save the Mateel one debt at a time.” He is urging the Mateel to create a list of creditors and make it public so people can “adopt” a specific debt and pay the amounts owed to the Highway Patrol, or the school district for shuttle services, or the portable potty bill, for examples.
Cherney comes with a history of successful fundraising and organizing. He estimated he’s raised “over $2 million over the last 30 years” for a large number of projects and causes such as the Headwaters Forest campaign, to pay for the lawsuit by Judi Bari and him against the FBI, and for various members of the community who have fallen ill. And he raised several hundred thousand dollars to ensure the documentary, Who Bombed Judi Bari, chronicling her life and work got made as part of a broader campaign to stop the FBI from destroying the car bomb and other evidence from the crime committed on Bari and Cherney.
Cherney says, as a community, “We are in the business of cultivating miracles.” And in that spirit, he simultaneously is calling out to the community at large, asking them to search their souls for forgiveness and suggesting they look at the bigger picture of the Mateel’s role “as an essential gathering place to exercise our freedom of assembly and freedom of speech in these most urgent of times,” says Cherney.
Truth and Reconciliation
Cherney’s proposal hinges on what he’s calling ‘truth and reconciliation’ between the Board of Directors and the community. He sees a need to rebuild the trust so the community can feel assured their donation will be spent wisely and the Mateel will be safeguarded in the future. Cherney also intends this campaign to be comprehensive; it will be designed and organized to raise the entire amount needed to pay the debts.
The Board of Directors has already seen Cherney’s proposal and will respond at the public meeting on Tuesday, March 20, 5:30 p.m., at the Mateel Community Center in Redway.