Toughening Part 2
Our goal during this our “Egg” six-month period (through February 2019) of our metamorphosis cycle is to add strength. Come February, we will emerge vulnerable as we move into the Larva (caterpillar) of our development and growth cycle. For any business, non-profit or for-profit, strength is bolstered when you get your financing just right. Knowing the parameters, you have to play in at least five years into the future. While shifts inevitably occur, this is always the goal.
During the acquisition of 1358 Florida Ave., NE, I always stated that when we got to the construction/renovation phase, we would do it without adding debt. Now, I said this because it would be the best situation in keeping our finances as stable as possible. In the past three months, I have started speaking with the board and some of our funders that we would need to get a bank loan to finance the construction. Each time I had to say this, I am pretty sure my face began to grimace. Getting a bank loan is a real-time suck, meeting with banks, prepping documents and so on. All in all, delaying the delivery of our project and the services that are needed now and not the best positioning for the Fringe space with that weight of debt on our balance sheet.
This week, I had meeting a that had been on the books for a month or so, with the Share Fund and the Revada Foundation. Both of these foundations have invested (gulp) millions into the project. They are invested and into it and a little anxious to get things moving.
As they pressed me for updates on Fringe, I started with the easy stuff, the Festival program. As I slide into the update on the building, I outlined that the first step after the Project Manager is hired is getting the financing set for the project. Since I do not have a set schedule of when the previously pledged funds will be received, it is clear that a bank loan will be required to get things moving. As soon as I said this, one of the Foundations that had pledged $1.5 mm to the construction said, “I said I was giving $1.5 mm. You can have it this now.” I wanted to fall out of my chair. Even the head architect said, “Julianne I have never seen you speechless.”
Seriously, I have been carrying around such anxiety about the financing. I want this to all work. Not just the construction phase, but the opening--the first five years of the space being open.
We need to be positioned to take risks, and have open arms to the community. We do not to be weighed down in debt. So, no bank loan. Holy shit! What I started back at the start, like five or six years ago, is actually going to happen!!! Strength was added big time this week!