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Wonderland Brings Community Up to Speed on Project

Walker Evans Walker Evans Wonderland Brings Community Up to Speed on Project
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Official news on the Wonderland project has been fairly quiet over the last few months, following July’s announcement that the project would be seeking a new home. Since then, the team behind the project has been working toward securing a new building and completing the process to secure their official 501(c)3 status in January.

Tonight, Wonderland’s Board of Directors held one of several events for contributors, friends and other members of the public involved with the project to get caught up to speed. Key events along the two-year timeline of Wonderland were explained, along with a detailed look as to how the group has generated revenue thus far and how it is being spent.

“By reaching out to the people who’ve worked with and supported Wonderland, we hope to spread the word that the project is on track and moving forward responsibly,” said Wonderland Board Secretary Melissa Starker.

The big announcement that many people are waiting for is the news of a new location for Wonderland, but that update will have to wait for another day. That deal is still in negotiation and Starker stated that while they’re working to move as quickly as possible, they must give the process it’s appropriate period of time to complete.

“After consulting with the full Board on how best to proceed, Wonderland’s officers recently started property negotiations,” she said. “I can tell you that we can’t wait to say we’ve found a home. And once a building is secured, much of the work BBCO did on the physical planning of the original space can be adapted to the new one fairly easily.”

Tonight’s event was seen as the first in a series of project review updates that will occur on an annual basis. Additionally, Wonderland is launching a more frequent communications strategy that will broadcast more regular updates on their website and through social media channels. Although any big announcements — such as securing a new building — will receive a more formal announcement when the time comes.

“When we hit the next milestone, we’re planning to share the news at a public event,” said Starker.

For more information, visit www.wonderlandcolumbus.com.

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  • Also, an informational one-pager was made available at the event that goes into more detail. It will be posted on the Wonderland website sometime tomorrow.

  • dreamy.mcdreamster

    So the point of this article is that there is nothing new to report, right? Because this says that there is basically nothing to report.
    Or did I miss something? Sorry. I just don’t get it. Lots of hoopla about, well, nothing new.

  • The event held last night was a community meeting, not a press event. I guess depending upon your knowledge of the project, the “newness” of information can vary. I don’t think some people realize they’ve gotten their 501(c)3 status, and I regularly talk to people who have no idea that the group is in negotiations to purchase a new building.

    More information can be found here: http://wonderlandcolumbus.com/2012/03/project-review-2010-2011/.

  • leftovers

    Thanks for the update.

  • HopperFan

    “along with a detailed look as to how the group has generated revenue thus far and how it is being spent”
    This is new, and a step in the right direction

  • Eliza Ho

    Be sure to check out the annual review http://wonderlandcolumbus.com/2012/03/project-review-2010-2011/
    The infographic is effective and clear! Might be good to have some evaluations or documentations for the spotlight programs. But in general I like the review a lot!

  • shirtandpants

    great that they’ve released that info, those numbers make some things pretty clear. they’ve spent more than half their (still undisclosed amount of) money paying a staff of 13 people, with 9% on “project development”? who exactly is this project supposed to benefit again?

  • Board members are not staff, nor are they paid.

  • shirtandpants

    so then they’ve used HALF their money to pay THREE PEOPLE and only 9% on actual project development? yikes.

  • Someone else could probably better answer this than me, but my understanding is that a lot of their project development costs have been donated either by board members or other contributors. They also have a volunteer staff that contributes a lot of time. Most young nonprofits don’t have a lot of operating costs pre-project launch.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t get too fixated on percentages. This group has used a relatively small amount of money in a small amount of time. Once the group takes on a million dollar mortgage and massive renovation project I imagine those percentages are going to change pretty dramatically.

  • dreamy.mcdreamster

    This is a really good start at rebuilding a relationship with the community.

    It is clear the amount of money raised. Top 2 donors- Columbus Foundation and GCAC. Those two groups account for 70K (grants). 53% of their income has come from grants, and we know of no other grants they have received. So… that’s total of $132,000 raised- or $62,000 from merch and Board members.  Further broken down to about 6-7K on merch (5% of total) and therefore about $55K from contributions- their board and all donors to date. If we can assume that the average Board Member contribution is, say, $500. That accounts for $5000, so they’ve raised $50,000 from all other sources of outside donors. They list 276 Donors. If you count out the top donors listed (CF, GCAC, 10 board members) you are left with 260-ish donors contributing 50K. Or an average of about $192/donor. This is all very back of napkin. Not counting the grants and the Board giving that also averages out to about just over $2K/month raised. Some of that was likely Big Give matching, so the above figures are even a little generous.

    They have their work cut out for them. The above giving figures represent the low hanging fruit. Wonderland are going to need some huge donor to step up if they are to make this a reality.

    I appreciate the new willingness to be open with facts/figures but also shows how slow/low the giving has been. I don’t see them being able to take on a million dollar mortgage. I doubt a bank would give it to them without some kind of sizable endowment… let alone a massive renovation project.

  • So, let’s assume (yeah I know) that dreamy’s numbers crunching and shirtandpants’ theory that half the money has already been spent is correct.  The amount of employee costs for two years is roughly $66,000 or $33,000 per year on this two year old project.  Whittle that down to $635/wk and then a conservative 9-5 schedule with no overtime, five days a week job- that’s $15.88/hr.  That’s not even taking into account employment taxes as part of that initial amount.  No one is getting rich here folks.  And I’m pretty sure more time is going into this project than is accounted for financially.  I’ve worked many salaried positions and know first hand how time can erode away at what looks like a great hourly wage.

  • FrankTank

    Well said LinerNotes.  All in all this is a great project with enormous potential benefits for the C-bus community at large.  I applaud them for staying the course and cannot wait until we hear the next update.

  • rkovo715

    So they do have their 501c3 status? The story makes it sound like they’ve sent in the paperwork but it hasn’t been granted yet. Can this be clarified?

  • They secured their 501c3 in January.

  • Urban development is tough, and to see this crew bring an arts concept to the table and begin raising real energy to do a project is impressive. I don’t see any reason this city today can’t be host to multiple unique spaces where arts and artists intermingle. And I don’t see any downside to the fact that they have had to spend money to continue refining the plan. Most major projects take years of planning to open doors and I’m glad to see people still pushing this Wonderland idea forward.

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