Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ISLAND Year In Review

ISLAND is nearing the end of our first full year as a non-profit organization, and this is to say THANK YOU. We could not have asked for a better year. Here are some quick highlights:

  • Our first event! We brought Dave Jacke of Dynamics Ecological Design to Traverse City for a free evening lecture on Edible Forest Gardening (a form of Permaculture); the next day Dave led twenty-five folks in a design workshop at the Eco-Learning Center in Leelanau County.
  • The Unity Library! The good folks at the new Unity Fair Trade Marketplace in Traverse City welcomed ISLAND’s library – 1,200 titles (and growing) on sustainable living, art and ecological design. The first 200 are available there for browsing and lending.
  • Relocalizing Conference! ISLAND was honored to work closely with some of our favorite area non-profits: Bay Bucks, Bioneers and NMEAC, to host a half-day conversation about taking steps toward a more sustainable, self-sufficient community.

However, this letter is not about our pride as a burgeoning organization. We are absolutely awestruck at the heartfelt feedback we’ve received – a level of encouragement and support that we never anticipated. So, THANK YOU:

  • to the non-profits who have shared their experience and guided us;
  • to Bill Palladino, Wendy Wieland and Jim Bardenhagen who helped us coalesce our vision into practical, working reality;
  • to the overwhelmingly generous members of our business community who have underwritten our events;
  • and to our family and friends, of course, for believing that this was possible and helping out in countless ways, large and small.

Of course, these thank yous may be a bit premature – this is just the beginning. We have big plans for the next year; most notably, we’re close to finding and moving onto new property, which will challenge our energy and our finances, but provide new opportunities for workshops in alternative building, permaculture design, renewable energy and more.

We’re also planning more public events with speakers, authors, artists, teachers and community voices. Our goal, as always, is to host events of high quality at extremely affordable prices (if not free). Finally, we’re working hard to reach Phase III, where our first residents will arrive: artists, naturalists, designers, food growers and ecological thinkers working together to discover how we can best make art and earth meet.

Which leads us to our last piece of good news – just a few days ago ISLAND received official notification from the IRS that we are now a fully recognized charitable organization. This opens new doors for us as we seek grants and foundation support for our work. It also means that individual donations are fully tax-deductible.

So this is not only a thank you but a request for contributions, for continued blessings from our supporters. Everything we’ve done in the last year has been done on volunteer time and with generous community support. Every project has, through responsible money management and lots of hard work, paid for itself. We promise to be frugal stewards of your support, and make every contribution count.

Please give, to help us ensure a more exciting, vibrant and blessing-filled 2007.


Brad & Amanda Kik
Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND)

View the same letter on our website and link to contribution options.

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