News from the Kevin MacKay, Executive Director of the Sky Dragon:
It has been a few months since our last official update, and there is much to relate since the Sky Dragon Coop first experienced an acute financial crisis in March. Today I’m very relieved to say the situation is better than we could have hoped for, and the Coop is engaged in an inspiring renaissance and revitalization.
The major challenge facing the Coop in March was the Teacher’s Credit Union pulling out as first mortgage holders. This necessitated the Coop finding alternative financing at very short notice, and prompted a community-wide call-out for support. Thankfully, the community responded with vigor, and suggestions for financing, donations and community bonds came flooding in. In the midst of all of the offers of help, one particularly incredible offer stood out, and we’re excited to officially announce Sky Dragon’s new mortgage-holder – Lidster Financial Services.
Lidster Financial Services has come onboard with a five year term mortgage at an incredible rate. In addition, Tim Lidster has joined the Coop board, with the goal of fine-tuning our organization’s business practices and operational efficiency. We’re very excited to have Tim aboard, and owe our continued viability to the generosity and vision of him and his family. With the refinance, Sky Dragon has completely paid off sales tax arrears it had generated from its lean early years, and is in the process of settling all outstanding debts. The result will be a Coop in better financial shape than it has ever been.
The other very exciting development has been the organizational restructuring process that Sky Dragon has been undergoing in the past two months. Our new transitional board has now met twice, receiving input from 19 committed individuals representing Coop management and staff, community members, investors and partner organizations. The new board is tasked with transitioning Sky Dragon from a worker coop into a multi-stakeholder coop. The structural change will make Sky Dragon more responsive to the diverse community it serves, and will lend the organization more stability and sustainability.
As part of the transitional board process, several committees have been struck and have met to plan policy and action around priority areas of the Coop. Board committees include: fundraising, café, roastery, finance, diversity, policy, outreach, Mayday and events. Community members interested in joining a board committee are more than welcome, and it’s a great way to get more involved in the life of the Coop. For information on how to join a board committee, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sky Dragon Centre building has also been undergoing some much-needed upgrades, with intrepid volunteers Peter Rogers, Gary Ridge, Russel Smith, John Diggins, Melanie Skene, Dan Haartman, Bill, Jeremy, Kris and Joe all lending their skills and energy. To date the café stage has been expanded, the patio railing fixed (thanks Dan!), the front awning fixed, the back of the building cleared of construction debris (thanks John!), the basement cleared of 5 years of accumulated junk, and fab new storage cabinets installed in the second floor conference room (thanks Gary!). An upcoming project is installing new outdoor signage.
The new Sky Dragon membership campaign is up and running now, and supporters have been taking out memberships to help sustain the Coop, but also to gain access to a yearly AGM and have a say in how Sky Dragon operates in the future. Community memberships start at the accessible level of $30 per year, with other levels being $100, $200 and $400. Upper level memberships are tax deductible, and all memberships give the holder a 10% discount on retail purchases at the Sky Dragon Centre. $200 and $400 members also get a year’s subscription of Mayday Magazine mailed to their door, along with an annual sustainers appreciation dinner. For information about memberships, please contact email@example.com.
We’ll endeavour to keep the updates coming more regularly in the fall, but would encourage folks curious about the Coop to just drop by and visit us first hand. There’s a great list of events and classes on our web site (skydragon.org), or you can just pop into the café for a coffee and a quick chat.
To our friends, supporters, customers, sustainers and co-organizers, our heartfelt thanks for all that you do and all that you bring to the Sky Dragon. Long may she soar!