Dear Community Partner,
Old School Lives is 7 years old! As we begin our 8th year of serving the south central St Louis County area we are giving thanks for the relationships we have established, the sense of community and belonging that we have restored, the family values we have confirmed and the strengthening of physical, educational, emotional and spiritual health we have witnessed through our service and dedication to our commitment to the Lord and His calling of us to service. Someone said to me "you have created community, where there was none". What an incredible, amazing honor it has been to be part of this endeavor.
This year I am not only overwhelmed and amazed at Gods provision, through many of you, but also for the life changing results we are witnessing. Old School Lives makes a steady, consistent every day difference for people by making you all feel loved, needed and welcome. We provide basic daily needs in drinking water, food (low cost and free), personal hygiene (showers), clothing and physical health. In the longer view we change the lives of individuals and family by providing emergency housing and long term housing. Giving families a place of their own to focus on raising children, in order to become vital parts of community. Providing resources for education through our library, internet services, and early childhood Discovery Center and through our Arts and Youth programming. Our residential program and volunteer programs are vital opportunities for seniors to live full, active involved and valuable lives. Teens are learning value of responsible citizenship by taking part responsibly. In the past three months I have had three different residents tell me specifically that OSL has "given them a life" and they were being very genuine. We have helped high school drop outs obtain GED's and college certificates and diplomas.
We have a large number of volunteers who work hard to keep OSL functioning. Approximately 100 people, young and old, work anywhere from one hour a year to over 2,000 hours a year. Yes! There are a number of people who volunteer between, ten to forty hours a week. At our conception we were asked, by community, to not rely solely on volunteers, but also to provide paid jobs for community, in order to improve the economic health of the area. In the past seven years we have worked with the MN Office of Job Training and various programs for disabled to employ and train ten individuals in paid positions. We also have employed fifteen individuals through our own payroll. Currently we have seven on our payroll at various rates of pay. Old School Lives cannot function without these dedicated people.
Old School Lives annual budget is around $230,000. We basically have three sources for income, shop sales, building space rental and donations. We have concentrated greatly on improving our shops and sales are up! We have tripled our building rental through the incredible efforts of volunteers. However last year our donations saw a $10,000 decline. We did not press for more donations but instead concentrated on cutting costs and ended the year in our best financial condition, to date. This year we must make a very serious plea for donations. Winter costs have greatly increased. Our largest expense is electricity. We try to reduce those costs by using less electricity, however the fans and pumps that are used to heat the building through a very long winter are costly and rates keep rising.
So here we are! It is that time of year! Our annual 15 for $15,000 campaign is upon us. Although people have been generous in the past we have not even gotten to halfway of our goal on any year. We ask you to please consider making a donation this year., in order to reach that goal.
There are many ways to donate to OSL. Regular, automatic monthly donations work well for providing steady income we can rely on. Those can be made online, through your banks bill pay, through regular mail or in person. Large donations make a huge difference in helping us get out from under large seasonal costs and will provide funds for those capital projects, such as roof repair and parking lot and sidewalk work. Perhaps in the future a new heating system. In the past large donations have come from private individuals, civic organizations, churches and businesses. They range in amounts from $100 to $35,000. They may be made through the same process as the small regular donations. Donations have also been made directly through retirement and investment accounts. Also, through estate planning and life insurance.
Old School Lives is here to stay. We are in solid financial condition, in spite of our continuing need. However if we are going to be here for the next ten years it is viral that donations become a greater part of our income. Based on donations it is our goal to create a capital investment fund that we will be able to use in the future.
I am truly humbly thankful to you for taking the time to read this very long letter, and for considering your vital financial role in changing and improving the face and life of this community.
With heartfelt sincerity,
Old School Lives