Reprinted from the November 20, 2020 Midland Daily News
Saturday, November 28th is designated as Small Business Saturday, a day when you can begin your holiday shopping while supporting your favorite local shops and restaurants. This year will be different: instead of shopping or dining in person, you might be carrying out dinner from that local bistro or doing a curbside pickup from your favorite specialty store. In 2020 we have redefined everything, but I encourage you to find a way to support your local entrepreneur.
There is another kind of small business that has been hurt dramatically during this pandemic and that really needs your help right now – your local small, non-profit. 2020 has been a devastating year for us as well and for some of the same reasons it has hurt the for-profit businesses. Many of us rely on revenue generators, such as performances, classes, or fundraising gatherings, that we cannot host this year. And unlike a for-profit business trying to maximize profit, our typical fiscal goal is to break even – the revenue we generate is pre-designated for our community programs. At Creative 360, for example, the dollars we earn by renting our beautiful facility for parties and meetings goes directly to support our community programs like Artshop, an inclusive arts education opportunity for people of all ages and abilities, or Creative Kids, a supplemental arts program for students who are learning virtually this year. One of our core values is Inclusivity, so all of our programs are priced in a way to make them affordable to everyone, especially those on limited incomes. We even offer scholarships for those who cannot afford our low rates. In a normal year it is a zero sum game – the money we earn is the money we spend. But this year we have had to cancel our rentals and performances and the direct result is a deficit between what we earn and what we have to spend to run our programs, especially with the new, safe rules for operation. Smaller and fewer classes and the cost to add virtual options, combined with increased supplies and time for cleaning and disinfection, have created a negative sum equation.
I am speaking for Creative 360 and for my fellow small, local, non-profit leaders when I make this special holiday request: Please consider taking a portion of the money that you might have spent to travel over the holidays and donate it to one of Midland’s local, non-profit groups. I can promise you that we are very good at squeezing every bit out of every dollar, so no amount of money is too small (or too big!). You have all heard the phrase, “If everyone just gave a dollar…”. It is true – Midland has about 40,000 people – and I can certainly tell you that if just half of those people sent a dollar to Creative 360, we would be overjoyed! Additionally, most of us can boast that 100% of your donation stays right here in Midland serving Midland. If you cannot spare the funds, consider volunteering. Even if our doors are temporarily shut, there are still things that have to be done remotely and most of us would gladly welcome the extra pair of hands!
So this holiday season, please, SHOP LOCAL! Midland has so many lovely stores and restaurants and businesses that offer wonderful items and services and that need your support. Here at Creative 360, we always Shop Local, using our fellow Midland businesses when we have operating needs, from postcards to printer ink, signs to facemasks. As 2020 ends, I would also encourage you to DONATE LOCAL – you can go to the Midland Business Alliance website (http://www.macc.org/list/category/non-profits-573) to see a list of all of Midland’s non-profits and if you are not sure what they do, or if they are local, check out their websites (links are on the MBA page) or give them a call. And as an added perk, your donations to a 501©3 non-profit, like Creative 360, are tax deductible!
Happy Holidays to everyone from Creative 360. Our wish to our community is that ALL people of ALL ages and abilities have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the creative process during the holiday season and beyond. And please stay safe.