Pivoting & Priorities | Letter from Executive Director Carrie Richardson

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There’s nothing like a pandemic to make you evaluate your priorities, right?

When COVID hit our community in March, our small team began working remotely immediately. That temporary situation soon became the norm. We streamlined processes, increased efficiency and got into a rhythm. In the past 6 months, we have popped in and out of our workspace from time to time, but we primarily all set up shop remotely to ensure we practiced physical distancing as well as manage our individual life situations (shout out to all you parents being full time caregivers, full time teachers and full time employees & employers)!

Sure, like everyone else we missed the camaraderie of sharing a 1,000 square foot space. Our office has been home for us as we’ve grown as an organization, and we were so proud to ‘hang a shingle’ on a place of our own almost two years ago.

Around this same time mid-Spring, we saw demand for our programs reach all-time highs! With that demand brought record scholarship requests, from entrepreneurs, small businesses and other highly motivated, top-notch professionals locally who see value in what we do but asked for some assistance to participate.

As we played The Great Game of Business and huddled each week, we saw we were spending resources on rent and utilities when we were barely in the office. We also worked to prepare our financial plan for our new fiscal year beginning in July 2020 and wanted to ensure we could meet the scholarship needs of program participants.

As a team, we talked priorities. We looked at the numbers. We reflected on the importance of being good stewards of our nonprofit resources.

We pivoted.

Collectively and unanimously, we decided not to renew our lease this fall, and give up our private office space to ensure those funds could be used for scholarships instead.

We recognize the importance of having a place to call home in Springfield, and so we are thrilled to announce that as of this week, we are an eFactory member as a part of coworking space! The eFactory houses an incredible mix of companies and people working on things they believe in. We could not be happier to be a part of the eFactory! The eFactory is perfectly positioned to provide important things we need like printing, meeting space, Gigabit internet and, of course, bottomless coffee!

Our team will primarily be working remotely for this season, but I will be physically onsite at the eFactory each week.

It’s a season of pivots, friends. As you make decisions for your priorities, your people and your places, I hope you are finding creative ways to turn challenges into opportunities!

Take care out there,

Carrie Richardson

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