What does that mean?
Well, when Margaret and I started down this path we initially conceived of 14 Black Poppies as a small business partnership. We didn't want to buy into the non-profit industrial complex because both of us were so burnt out on non-profit work. We wanted to do something different, to find new ways to bring community, arts, and wellness to communities of all shapes, sizes, perspectives, beliefs, and ages.
And we are doing just that. With our Spring Season of cultural programs, Artist and Healer Network, partnerships with small, local artists and arts organizations, internship program, and a year of ritual (more on that coming soon!), we are even increasing our FREE offerings to the San Francisco Bay Area community. It is incredibly exciting.
As we expand, hone, refine, and produce our offerings, we realize that providing FREE events and workshops to the community MAKES us a non-profit. We do not make any money doing this, and we leverage a whole network and community of artists, healers, producers, curators, scientists, filmmakers, musicians, and performers who also contribute (for FREE) their talents and skills. In order to sustain this kind of work, we needed to find a partner that shares our values, has infrastructure, and believes in the power of partnership and collaboration to bring people, ideas, and communities together.
After much searching, talking with others, and reflecting on past fiscal sponsorships (I have worked with many over the course of my career here in San Francisco), I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Josh Wilson at Independent Arts & Media. During our conversation, I knew immediately that IAM was a match for 14 Black Poppies as they have been doing arts, media, culture, and democracy work for over a decade. Additionally, right now all they do is fiscal sponsorship for small, nimble arts, culture, media, and democracy projects.
We spoke at length about the nature of fiscal sponsorship, of how infrastructure is needed to support the individuals doing ground-breaking, grassroots work that is impacting communities in deep, complex ways, ways that are often not funded by traditional means. What impressed me is IAM's focus on lean and mean fiscal accountability that provides a stable platform from which others can create solutions and experiments with, for, and in our communities. I was also struck by the desire to have fiscally sponsored projects represented on IAM's Board of Directors as a means of accountability, leadership, value alignment, and vision. In fact, I didn't just apply for 14 Black Poppies to be fiscally sponsored by IAM I also applied to be a board member representing fiscally sponsored projects.
On Tuesday evening, 14 Black Poppies was approved for fiscal sponsorship, and I was voted onto the Board of Directors. It also marked my first meeting, one of which I left feeling rejuvenated and connected to other folks dedicated to creating thriving communities.
I look forward to this new partnership, one that will help solidify 14 Black Poppies as an innovative organization that experiments with new models, strengthens deep connections between people and organizations, and cultivates community, arts, and wellness. I know it means more work. Luckily, I love work.