Casa Weekly

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Our Goal: A Self-Sustaining Casa

Thank you to all those who've sent in comments and suggestions on next steps.

I´d love to know how readers might be willing and able to help in this effort now that we´ve defined the steps. Our biggest hurdle is going to be buying a space with the location and size to allow this work to truly expand, which could cost between US$150-400,000.

Having purchased the space, we have several high potential ideas for achieving a self-sustaining balance where the center would pay for itself, which would reduce CatComm´s fundraising need over the coming years to simply covering our site (though we are working on an alternative plan to achieve a self-sustaining site, as well; more news on this will come!!). We want to create an organization that covers its own costs.

Here are some of the ideas we are working on for a self-sustaining space, assuming we can own the building:

  1. A 3-4 storey house would allow us to rent the first floor to an alternative restaurant (these are becoming popular in Rio´s downtown) serving vegetarian foods and educating about lifestyle changes. The first floor rent could literally pay for the costs of maintaining the rest of the Casa while educating the general public not only about lifestyle changes but also hosting our exhibitions of community art, and events in the evenings by community organizers (debates, art launches, theatrical and hip hop presentations...)
  2. A 3-storey house with a first floor organized and run by local fair trade groups could generate income for local fair trade, handicraft and community artisans, while providing income towards the Casa. This first floor could also host events in the evenings as described above.
  3. A 3-4 storey house would allow enough room to rent small office space to community organizations as they grow and need a downtown presence, at very low cost, as is done in the San Francisco Women´s building. One organization has expressed interest in launching, in the new Casa, a fixed space for regular capacity-building trainings to teach other community leaders how to set up community radio stations, and to hold discussions on the impact of the media and communications.

These are some ideas. We welcome others!