Help us take our exploration of a possible capital campaign to the next stage

Dear Follenite,

We need two minutes of your time.

Last spring the Capital Campaign Exploratory Committee asked the Follen community to Dream Big; in meetings, conversations, and email we received 135 suggestions for improvements to the church. Over the summer we’ve been working with those suggestions, identifying common ideas and issues, and exploring whether and how these visions can be realized through capital investments.
 
Some proposals, such as new staff positions, would call for increased annual operating expenses rather than capital expenditures, which is what we were tasked to explore. A few proposals were just too big. But we’ve been able to incorporate or adapt many of the suggestions into a plan that we think will make Follen an even better place and take it through its next phase of growth. Some parts would take a while to bring to fruition. And some projects would entail some major short-run inconvenience in exchange for long-term gains (such as having to meet and worship elsewhere while parts of the work get done.)

But nothing has been decided, and we’d like your input to make sure we’re on the right track. So please give us your opinions on how important or unimportant you think each of these 10 elements would be for an improved Follen – and what we may have missed. And please complete the questionnaire by Sunday, Oct. 2 so we can keep Follen moving ahead!

Thank you,

 - The Capital Campaign Exploratory Committee (Jack Donahue, Alice Dunn, Stephen Ervin, Brad Howe, Trapper Markelz, Herman Marshall, Mark Metzger)

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* 1. UNIVERSAL ACCESS:  Removing barriers and installing a modern elevator that allows everyone easy and dignified access to most parts of the church, on their own, regardless of any mobility issues.

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* 2. BIGGER, BRIGHTER COMMUNITY CENTER:  A larger space with a bigger and redesigned kitchen for us to gather as a community, making for less crowded coffee hours and more inclusive all-church events like the annual Fellowship Dinner.

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* 3. CHILDREN'S CHAPEL:  A special space to serve as a children's chapel so RE can begin with a service for all the young people together.  The area could be designed to accommodate multiple other uses as well.

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* 4. MORE ROOM:  More space, more varied space, room to experiment.  This could include rooms with comfortable furniture for gatherings where chairs-around-a-table doesn't work.  Think FUUY, middle-school youth group, covenant groups, Coming of Age, OWL, knitters, projects, art exhibitions....  Latitude to add additional staff office space if and when needed.

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* 5. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY:  Follen needs to catch up.  At the CCEC's suggestion, Program Council is forming a task force to develop a thoughtful strategy for Follen to incorporate digital media and communications technologies that can enhance and deepen the Follen experience and improve our outreach.

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* 6. HEATING, VENTILATION, AND COOLING: Make major improvements in HVAC equipment, insulation, and infrastructure to make most parts of Follen comfortably warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

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* 7. "GREENING" FOLLEN:  Make sure any changes we make help to reduce our church's carbon footprint.

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* 8. MAKING IT EASIER TO GET TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY:  Many people asked for more parking.  While we couldn't come up with a way to add parking spaces, there are ways to ease the parking crunch by making it simpler to get to and from church without your car.

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* 9. STORAGE:  Find or create a place nearby for a barn-like structure to hold some of Follen's many seasonal storage needs (such as East Village Fair equipment, operetta sets, and Christmas tree gear) freeing up precious space in the main building.

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* 10. SOCIAL JUSTICE:  A portion of the funds raised in a capital campaign could support a significant social justice initiative in conjunction with the broader community.  This concept is still in development, though it might involve a new life for the Stone Building (former library) next door with Follen's active involvement.

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* 11. OTHER:  What did we miss?  Please remember that the focus here is what can be done through capital investment rather than increased annual operating budgets for things like additional staff positions.

T