Dave, why did you start doing this?
Only my therapist can accurately answer this one. If you'd like the long answer please see the Staff page for my biography and The Spot History page for a description of how we got started. The short answer is that I have experienced a variety of careers and industries, yet along the way I have found nothing that makes me feel more significant than working to create The Spot. Combine this with a very deep knowledge of what it's like to grow up a lonely fatherless boy and enduring a traumatic divorce in the late '80s which eventually caused my own son and daughter to move out of state, and you will have the bulk of "why" I started and continue to help create The Spot. Oh, let's also not forget that I didn't see anyone else doing it the way the urban adolescents wanted and needed.
How did The Spot get started?
Please see The Spot's History page.
Do you own your building? How big is the building?
In 1994 The Spot was born in two adjacent rooms that opened to the street. The Curtis Park Community Center let us borrow this space for free for the summer. We then found an abandoned building that the owner wanted to lease with no renovations. It was a bi-level warehouse-type building of 10,000 s.f. (only 7,000 s.f. useable) which we leased for 2 years for $1100-1500/month. This is where things really started happening. Our need to stay downtown in an escalating rental market caused us to buy our current building (with the help of a loan from U.S. Bank) in 1997. It's 9,500 s.f. on 2 stories only 1 block away from the previous site and was originally built in 1936 as a Paramount Studios film screening facility. We have purchased an "Annex" building just across the street. It contains 6,250 s.f. of space and will be home to our GED and A+ programs, as well as adminstrative offices and possibly an outreach office for a partner organization Urban Peak.
Where does your money come from?
People and organizations that don't fear, or don't fear as much as others, investing in risk (see our History page for more details about our original funders). Our first investors were (and fortunately still are) oil company executives who believe in the high return of investing in risk. Our first written grant proposal was made to the State of Colorado's brand new youth crime prevention and intervention grant fund in 1994. We asked for $80,000 and they gave us about $24,000. Here's last fiscal year's breakdown of our sources of our revenue:
What was and is your annual budget?
In the first year of our existence, 1994, our budget was under $26,000/year. This current operating year budget is $784,000. A rough breakdown is as follows:
& benefits; 11 FTE, 1 Part, 1 Contract): $456,000 (58%)
What staff did you start with and what do you have now?
We started with some volunteers and myself: Peggy (my wife to be) and key young people like Kim Reagan (homeless at the time) and Louis Jackson ("gang" affiliated at the time). We now have 9 fulltime employees and 1 part-time contract employee (see Staff page).
Who's on your board of directors?
The perceived risk of this night time place that was going to invite older youth from many neighborhoods, backgrounds, and gang affiliations was too high to ask our supporters to join a board of directors. For the first two and a half years we only had a very brave and talented non-profit attorney, Don Hopkins, and myself with Holme Roberts & Owen. Don had written our initial incorporation and IRS documents, and participated in one of our first Inner Reality excursions. Over the initial couple of years we were able to prove that while conflict was frequent, actual violence was minimal.
We now have 12 board members, including myself (see Board of Directors page). They are an extremely active and passionate group that meets once per month. Two of our youth participants are full voting board members.
Are your youth involved in the governance of The Spot?
Yes. Our youth are intimately involved in every aspect of The Spot. From rules issues to programming changes. We now have two full voting youth participant board members (see Board of Directors page).
Are there other questions and answers we should include here? Email your suggestions!