CHIP for the Mural
The project of the community mural has been a source of pride for us here at the co-op. The unique and detailed art has added a huge piece of beauty to the west side of our building and parking lot area, we are eternally thankful to our artists, artist volunteers and collaborators. In celebration of it’s completion, we’re having a party! On November 9, we’ll be celebrating with cake and music at the co-op from 1-3pm, we hope you can make it!
As the mural project has unfolded, the co-op and our partner The Alliance for Sustainability have raised funds for the costs associated with this large scale project in several ways. The project is supported in part by a grant from the Chequamegon Bay Arts Council and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. Funding has also been given by the Ashland Foundation. The co-op began a go-fund me page (check it out here)! Not to mention all of the in-store donations given by co-op customers. The project could not have moved forward without all of these contributions over the past year, we thank you.
However, as fall 2019 approached and the artists finished their portion of work, the co-op took on the responsibility of the remaining costs by paying our two artists, Rose Spieler and Mae Stoutenburg, for their time and for materials used. Now, the co-op is the owner of the remaining debt. We will continue to raise funds through Go-Fund Me and in addition, co-op leadership has decided that beginning in November, we’ll up our in-store donation requests by asking customers to “CHIP for the Mural.”
This change might lead you to wonder if CHIP for the farmers/producers micro-loan program is leaving. It is not! After 6 years of your dedication to chipping to the micro-loan program, we feel that the micro-loan pot, which has reached nearly $100,000, is sufficient (at least for now). We will continue to award micro-loans to applicants twice per year in the spring and fall. As loans are paid back, funds in the micro-loan pot will replenish, allowing the program to continue as a self-sustaining revolving loan fund.
As co-op owners, many of you have expressed a wish to be able to chip to other local entities, which has caused us to rethink our CHIP Program entirely! So, after our CHIP for the Mural initiative, CHIP will evolve.
How you ask!? In addition to offering micro-loans to local farmers and producers, we will begin offering grants to community organizations, on a rotating monthly basis. Our grantees will be announced in February, and our first recipient of the CHIP for Partners program will begin to raise funds in March, 2020. Each month, at check-out our staff will ask you to CHIP to (fill in the blank partner) and all funds raised during that month, will be donated to that partner. Local organizations must to apply to become a CHIP grantee and applicants will be chosen based on the potential of community impact as it relates to the co-op’s End statements. Each month we will post the recipient in store so you can choose to lend your support. If you have a favorite organization or group, please encourage them to ask us how to apply!
Of course we’ll be communicating these changes throughout all of our channels throughout the next few months. We invite any questions you may have about changes to our CHIP program by emailing Kiana, Marketing & Member Services Manager or by calling us at the store (715) 682-8251.