by Stephen Dafoe
A year after the founders of the not-for-profit Higher Grounds passed the torch to a new group of volunteers, saving the shop from shuttering, the present board and volunteers are looking for additional help to keep the coffee and lunch shop and community gathering place open.
Currently, the not-for-profit coffee shop is run by a group of volunteers and a paid manager. The manager’s salary has been covered by a local business owner – however, that funding will end at the end of February, leaving Higher Grounds board with three options: finding a new funding source for the manager, finding a volunteer manager, or shutting down the well-loved shop.
“What I’d like to see is enough community commitment to keep up Higher Grounds on a volunteer basis without the need to higher a full-time manager,” said Higher Grounds Community Support Society Board Chair Kim Mills. “If we were to continue going the way we are [with a manager], we would be looking for about $4,000 a month.”
Before Christmas, the Higher Grounds Community Support Society held an open house to make local business owners and community members aware of where some of their funding goes and what programs they offer to the community.
At that meeting, the Board unveiled a sponsorship package and a sponsorship goal chart looking to hit the $20,000 mark to cover about six months of 2018’s operating costs. Although the meeting resulted in a couple of one-time donations to assist, the shop is looking for more donations, particularly those who can commit for a full year.
Packages range from $50 per month to $150 per month in cash or in-kind contributions.
Current Manager Betty Fraser said the shop is growing in terms of being able to cover rent and product costs; however, the management salary is not able to be covered by the proceeds from the shop.
“Come the end of February, our supporter is no longer, so if this is not self-supporting by that point, who takes the loss every month,” Fraser said. “If we could find a manager to volunteer that time, it would be self-sufficient.”
For more information on how you can help, visit Higher Grounds or contact them through their Facebook page.