Asbury Park, NJ
2012 proved to be a year of Big Shifts. Recognizing the need to expand resources for enterprises and entrepreneurs committed to creating opportunity, changing lives and building community, Melarbit extended its Fundraising platform with Community Investing and established The Community Investing Network of NJ (The Network). As we do each year, this New Year's letter provides an update and reflects on changes in the field as we set the stage for 2013.
For those who have been following our work with HANDS and the Neighborhood Anchors Fund we established in 2011, we are well on our way to closing the first round of financing with over $3.5 million, in early 2013. Local NYC-based Contact Fund had its biggest year ever, deploying $2.6 million with money raised from new and renewed investors along with prior loans repaid.
On a personal note, my commitment to the revitalization of Asbury Park, NJ continued with involvement in artsCAP and Hope Academy Charter School Foundation. However, living and working in the same small community is not without its challenges. But it remains fulfilling and adds an important dimension to Melarbit's fundraising and community investing work.
Speaking of Asbury Park and the Jersey Shore, Melarbit is exploring ways we can support superstorm Sandy rebuilding efforts. Stay tuned.
So where do we go from here?
Continuing to create new, more flexible funding models that leverage philanthropy with the broader spectrum of capital (debt, equity, etc.) for different purposes (growth, capital, operating), remains a top priority. Whether it be grant funding and charitable gifts; earned income; government subsidies; and/or private market investments - it is only when capital comes together in all of its forms that truly transformative change is made possible.
This means experimenting with new technologies such as crowdfunding; more testing of collaborative funding approaches like blending capital and complete capital; and working across sectors. All of this will require a fundamental shift in how funders see their role and the way in which they support social change efforts.
Finally, we need to work differently with donors, investors and other key stakeholders. Increasingly, supporters are looking to mobilize a broader scope of their resources - financial, intellectual, human - around impact and less around an organization's internal goals. Social media is certainly disrupting traditional outreach strategies as we know them.
Of course, none of this will be easy. However, (thankfully) social activism shows no signs of slowing.
Fundraising and community investing are not just about money. They are methodologies for engaging the public and strengthening vital enterprises committed to expanding opportunity and building more livable communities. Melarbit remains committed to helping these enterprises and entrepreneurs realize the full potential and promise of their work.
Special thanks to colleagues at Ventureneer, Voices of Hope, The Prospect Finder, Andrea Rosenfeld Design, Answers Design Group and NeighborWorks America who supported these efforts this past year.
If you are interested in pursuing a growth strategy that requires access to/leverage of funding, then please be in contact to see how Melarbit can be of support.
With best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.