The Anza Community Building board of directors met Thursday, June 4, for an emergency meeting to discuss the financial condition of the nonprofit, member-owned building.
A brainstorming session was held to explore fundraising options available to keep the Hall open and functioning after state and county coronavirus mandates limited the usual sources of money available to the organization.
Present were board members Noel Donahue, Johnathan Schmidt, Bill Donahue, Dan Robinson, Birdie Kopp, Barbara Ann Keller, Keith Richardson, Kimberly Patke and Mike Patke. About 30 members of the public were in attendance as well.
Hall president Mike Patke opened the meeting by explaining the income issues and presenting his ideas to remedy the shortfall.
“The main topic I would like to address is our Community Hall memberships,” he said. “First off, the pandemic situation caused all nonessential businesses to close, and many of these have resulted in permanent closures and total financial ruin for many families. Our Community Hall was not immune to this order from our governor. We were allowed to continue to rent the Hall for events, however, the event had to be limited to 10 or less persons, so our rentals went from producing a sustainable monthly income to zero overnight. In my opinion the orders handed down from the governor assassinated small nonessential businesses and any enterprise that wasn’t exclusively funded by the government.
“Currently there is no funding in place to assist the Community Hall with its monthly operating costs, even though the county insists that we maintain certain permits and insurances.
“With a population of 9,000 people in the Anza area, the Community Hall has less than 200 members that pay $20 per year. That is roughly $4,000 in annual income. That breaks down to only $333 per month. During the shutdown, the Community Hall is running on a minimum amount of electricity and propane, and it still costs around $3,000 a month.
“With 2,500 members, we would have a sustainable income that would meet our operating expenses, plus give us a surplus in the bank to save for an emergency. Those 2,500 members are only 28% of the population.
“Some of you may remember the Cranston Fire. At the time when the people of this community were in desperate need for food, water and ice, they came to this Community Hall. In fact, we were supplying the needs of up to 1,500 people every day, not including delivering to those who could not get here.
“When they had the Anza Strong celebration barbecue, where membership applications were passed out at the door to the over 500 attendees. We picked up only 14 new members from that event,” Patke said.
The Anza Community Hall is available to rent for special occasions such as weddings, quinceañeras, parties and more. The Anza swap meet takes place in the Hall’s parking lot. In times of emergency, power outages and fires, the Hall is a meeting place for people to obtain information and supplies. The F.U.N. Group and Fishes and Loaves ministries use the Hall to distribute free food and meals.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting closure of the Hall to gatherings and the swap meet have adversely affected income in the form of rental and swap meet space fees and memberships.
Keller, as treasurer, gave a report on the Hall finances. Over the past three months, while the economy was shut down, the fixed bills for the Hall, including insurance, permits, utilities, pest control, etc., have averaged $2,916 a month, she said. Income has been a couple of hundred dollars, because the F.U.N. Group was using and paying for the Hall to distribute food. With the church reopening and the swap meet starting back up, income is expected to rise but not enough to cover the bills. Without several paying events a month, the Hall was on track to be another $2,000 in debt in June. With $6,500 left in the bank, that trajectory can’t be sustained very long, Keller said.
Members of the audience offered suggestions. Don Salazar recommended giving Hall members incentives, holding a membership drive and becoming more friendly to groups like the Girl Scouts.
Robyn Garrison said since the Hall is a nonprofit, member-owned entity, people that join should be called owners instead of members. It would make people feel more included, she said.
Rich Handy suggested that lifetime memberships could be made available.
Other ideas included more community events, such as a Battle of the Bands, as well as comedy shows, dances and dinners.
Phil Canaday recommended a GoFundMe fundraiser.
Bill Donahue said that the lines of credit, resulting from the grants obtained in the last several years, have all been accounted for, and there was a zero balance.
The date and time of the next working meeting was set for Thursday, June 11, after press time.
Twenty-five new memberships and renewals were purchased after the meeting was adjourned.
Community Hall Board meetings are open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to attend.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up and almost $2,000 has been donated so far. Visit https://gf.me/u/x7rpui to donate.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Anza Community Building Inc. can call 951-282-4267. Memberships are $20 per person or family with one vote per family or person and $35 per business with one vote. Cash and checks are accepted.
For more information, visit the Anza Community Hall on Facebook or at http://www.anzacommunitybuilding.org.
Diane Sieker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.