Frequently Asked Questions
Who is on the team and what are their backgrounds?
Will people be able to have weddings and other events here? Will they be able to serve alcohol?
The work began with four people on the team, Sulfiati Harris, Amelia Williams, and Robert and Helena Mertens. As of June 8 we have about 20 people working on various committees. This is info about the original team. We are happy to add to it because many others are working with us!
Sulfiati leads the team and does the website and outreach, and co-chairs the project with Amelia Williams, who brings professional experience in managing non-profit organizations in California and England.The Mertens are active in the communities in this area. Robert is a successful artist and Helena is a yoga teacher who has been running well-attended yoga classes in Pinehurst for over a year.
Sulfiati moved to this area in 2002 to help start the retreat center in Badger known as Seven Circles Retreats. The current managers of the center are bringing in groups from various church and community organizations throughout California. She ran the After School Program at Dunlap K-8 school for eight years, with an average of 123 students a day, and also ran a 1 to 3-week summer camp for local children and teens (Camp Badger) at Seven Circles for ten years. This was a non-profit camp that was reasonably priced and offered camperships to those who needed financial help to attend.
Previous to moving to this area Sulfiati and her husband started a company that sold tie-dye kits to the craft industry under the name Rainbow Rock. The Rainbow Rock company was purchased in 1999 by Duncan Enterprises in Fresno (now known as "I Love to Create"), which is how the Harrises first came to this area. These tie-dye kits are still sold under the "Tulip" brand name in all the craft chains, such as Michaels, Walmart, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's. Sulfiati will be glad to put on tie-dye classes at the community center for all who are interested.
Amelia’s background is a professional non-profit manager. In California she has served as Administrative Director of a large community action agency in Humboldt County operating programs for youth, energy services, homeless, reforestation, and economic development. She was Executive Director of the Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica - a community based non-profit created on the site of a unused school. In England she managed the office of contracts and research grants for University of Sussex. She has co-founded two small alternative schools (one in California and another in England), and has served on non-profit boards as trustee and president in California and England. She has also held administrative and operations management positions in for-profit art galleries. She currently handles bookkeeping for a number of small business clients from her home office. She is also a mosaic artist with a studio in Pinehurst. She feels privileged to use her professional background to serve our community.
Yes people will be able to rent the premises for their events. We are still finding out what the policies will be for events that include wine and beer. We may be able to do that if the event coordinators purchase extra event insurance. We don't yet have the final word on that.
Is this project a 501-c-3 non-profit?
Yes.We received a certified copy from the CA Secretary of State that as of August 1 we are a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation. In December, 2019 we received our tax designation of Non-Profit 501©(3) from the IRS. Our EIN number is #84-239200.
What is the governing structure?
Will this community center compete with the local Chamber of Commerce in Pinehurst?
We actively support the local Chamber that is in Pinehurst, and some of us are on the Board. We will not do the same kind of programs and will continue to help keep that organization strong. It has been in existence for 70 years and is an important part of our community.
Will others besides the current team be able to work on and design the project?
Emphatically YES! We see this as a community effort done together by all the various groups in the community, whether in Badger or Pinehurst or Miramonte. We want everyone to have a part in the planning and participation. We see it as a volunteer effort, so the work must be shared so that it grows into a strong organization. Please let us know how you would like to help the project by emailing or calling the information number: 559-336-9362.
Who will own the facility, and what is our cost to use it ?
The school buildings and grounds are owned by the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District. They built this school for education in the community around Badger. They are still committed to providing education to the community in whatever way is needed. They continue to be the owners and we have signed a 5 year lease at $1.00 a month so long as the site is used as a community center providing programs, events and services for the whole community. They have been very helpful in this past year and have sent crews to clean out the building of unwanted items, fixed the roof on the bus barns and done many other repairs.
How have you financing your efforts so far? What about the future?
We had an initial grant of $500 from an organization that funds community development projects. Since then we have had over $700 in spontaneous donations from local people (not people on our team) who want to support the community center. In July we raised over$4000 at our fundraiser. we have also received a $1000 grant from Tulare County. We are all working without pay during this development phase. Now that the Center is open we are hoping that donations from those who will benefit from the Center and take part in the activities will provide one stream of income. We will continue also to look for grants.