Economic Development For the Rest of Us

This is what could help revitalize small towns and inner cities, veterans, and certain racial groups who are excluded from everything.

Description of Fully Implemented Healing Home Program


The legal structure of this entity will combine the user-owned, for-profit private club as a sponsor for a Charter School or other public or private organization that receives outside funding for its operation.
The for-profit component will offer affordable and subsidized memberships ($40 per year in this prototype) and common stock ownership to the community. The community includes students, parents, as well as teachers, friends, neighbors, professionals and anyone who wishes to participate or own stock.
Membership entitles one to access fully equipped spaces, for $25 per 3 hour rental.

These spaces will be set up for work, meeting, education and performance. All of the tools and equipment needed for each workshop are available through a centralized ‘check-out system’.
Work spaces and equipment are available to members after a certificate of competency is achieved through practical on-site workshops.
A core group of professionals who qualify as Masters will have permanent studio or office space free of charge and a salary in exchange for a negotiated number of consulting hours and/or teaching workshops so that others can earn their certificate of competency.

These professionals will serve as ‘anchors’ and guides to newcomers, and will maintain the ethical and professional work standards that are required for this project to function correctly.
Example A:
A group decides to make home-made butter, cheese and bread to ultimately sell to the school cafeteria for a profit.
The group will be guided through:
1. A feasibility study which requires mathematical computations, historical research, marketing studies and scientific investigation…
2. On-site workshops taught by experts in the chosen manufacturing techniques and field trips to other facilities…
3. Equipment acquisition which develops letter writing skills, purchasing skills, negotiating skills, craft skills, physical labor, science…
4. Manufacture which requires actual physical labor, delineation of tasks, recognition and coordination of talent, mathematical calculations, scheduling skills, and various aspects of science. ..
5. Actual sale of the product and follow-up which requires mathematical, business and interpersonal skills…
Example B:
A member who has earned the Certificate of Competency, and has $25 for three hour commercial kitchen rental, plus the cost of ingredients, can earn money by cooking and serving a good meal at a fair price to other members, to the charter school, to guests or other clubs or for take-out. This member charges a fair price for the food, pays expenses and rent, keeps the profit and leaves the place clean for the next renter.

Example C:
A master printmaker rents the printmaking workshop and offers workshops and classes to the public. A group of home schoolers pays the printmaker for student workshops, the printmaker pays rent for the space used, and keeps the profit. The master printmaker has already identified curriculum components and has created appropriate tests and activities that are attached to the printmaking workshop.
From this workshop, the class can decide to make prints for sale to earn money. The students then contract with a marketing expert, in addition to the printmaker, to help guide the class through this aspect of the project.

Example D:
A group of students decides to make bio-diesel. Workshops and field trips are scheduled so that they can learn the process from experts. The bio-diesel can be sold to a local business under contract or to other members at a discount. The proceeds are distributed amongst the participating students..

This method applies to all other spaces. Whether you want to offer a class, perform, provide a professional service, make a product that you can distribute, sell in a consignment or on-line shop, or generate your own energy, the possibilities are infinite.

The goal is to provide a way for our members to earn money, save money, try out new ideas and build up a customer base with very little overhead, with all permits taken care of through the organization, with both professional advisors and an established advertising and distribution system in place.

Charter School or Other Publicly Funded Educational Program, and Home School Resource:
The publicly funded/free-to-user component is important to this model because it will disburse its proceeds amongst members by purchasing such things as seminars, workshops, products or other services within a guided environment. This recaptured tax money guarantees a continual flow of cash back into the local community, while providing the school with a continual flow of fresh ideas and talent, as well as a unique and proven effective hands-on learning experience.
The Mission Is…
To create economic stability on a neighborhood level. This is achieved by providing an inflow of purchasing power through an affiliated Charter School or other publicly funded or privately funded facility. The purchasing power gained by recapturing taxpayer contributions is then channeled into member owned businesses and professionals who actively participate in the curriculum.
To provide a professional, disciplined, guided environment where individual skills can be developed and real income gained from that skill.
To promote ‘hands-on’ learning and practical skill development as the means for gaining academic proficiency and for developing talents and job skills from an early age, or for adults as rehabilitation.


As a Business Incubator

•Creates a steady income flow for members.
•Develops a strong neighborhood economy.
•Utilizes and develops raw talent and skills, leading to local entrepreneurship through consolidated efforts.
As a School
•Provides hands-on practical workshops as a path to academic proficiency.
•Encourages the creative arts and low-tech enterprise as a learning tool and viable profession.

•Develops social and political skills within the community.

•Promotes ethical behavior and respect for self and others.
•Provides an environment where experimentation is encouraged, mistakes are corrected with respect, resources are provided, and guidance is given with patience and care.

As a Neighborhood Social Club
•Provides facilities for members and guests to showcase their talents and skills and earn money from those talents.
•Offers affordable quality family entertainment and meeting space.
•Enables community participation, networking and cooperation.
Description of a typical facility in the final phase:

Following is a list of fully equipped spaces that could be included which would be available for $25 per 3-hour session:
Consulting Offices for Professionals
Professional Therapy Rooms (all modalities)
Professional Kitchen
Woodworking Shop
Recording Studio
Private computer rooms for long-term use, plus other computers for short term use
Performance and meeting area with stage, seating and sound
Classrooms and meeting areas
Photography and video studio
Childcare Area
Construction Workshops (may include Welding, Plumbing, Electrical, Mechanics, Electronics)
Printing, binding, copying, CD and DVD quantity production shop
Energy and Food Production
Textile Arts
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this set up as a private club and LLC rather than 501C-3 as a legal structure for this project?
Since this is a model for an emerging business incubator, operating as a ‘for profit’ enables members to be directly involved in learning to make a profit. The model is one of self-sufficiency and community service. As a for-profit entity, members are stockholders and thereby share directly in profits that are generated by the facility. Details of stock ownership are not included in this proposal, but this is an important component of the model in order for profits to be disbursed directly into the community.
How do members earn money through the Center?
Members can earn money by providing products and services to the on-site Charter School, private school or other education or rehabilitation facility, or to a private individual or group which requires these services. Classes will be provided so that members may earn a Certificate of Competency which qualifies them for use of equipment and offering of further classes. Because overhead is low, classes are affordable. Some classes may be subsidized or free through donations, grants and percentage of profit set-asides. Members can also produce goods for resale through a consignment shop, web-site or other distribution channels. Members can provide services on-site using facilities and equipment, consulting rooms, shops and of course the kitchen. The possibilities are virtually limitless. Members may also own stock in the facility and earn dividends.
How do you prevent theft of equipment and tools?
There is a three level method of discouraging theft.
1. A primary method of discouraging theft is to provide a fund for purchasing or soliciting donations of tools and equipment to give away free or at very low cost to members who need them and who don’t have funds for purchase. The director will manage this fund and help provide members with start-up tools and equipment after they’ve become proficient in their use. In the case of more expensive or hard-to-find equipment, micro-loans implemented.
2. In addition to removing incentive for theft by helping members to obtain what they need, certain pieces of equipment can be bolted to tables or floors, or stored securely in the centrally located ‘Equipment Check-out Area’ which is where the Manager’s office is also located. Members simply sign for equipment and tools needed for their session, leave a drivers’ license or state ID, or in some cases a deposit, and the equipment can be carried to the room where it is needed, to be returned at the end of the session. Carts will be on hand for moving tools and equipment from the check out area to the session area. It is the manager’s responsibility to monitor use of the tools and equipment.
3. The building is restricted to members only.
How will expansion be dealt with?
This proposal is a model that can be implanted within any existing organization whose goals are basically the same. Once full capacity is reached, rather than expand, establishment of another facility in a nearby under-served area can begin. In this way, a network of decentralized neighborhood centers can be established throughout the city or region, each with a friendly, home-like atmosphere, and within easy reach. This network can be a source of strength through unification when dealing with community emergencies such as hurricanes, etc.
5. How will you ensure that people won’t check-out equipment that they don’t know how to use, resulting in breakage, etc.?
A Certificate of Competency must be earned before equipment can be used. These are earned by attending workshops designed for this purpose. Managers are responsible for monitoring equipment use.
6. How does this function as an emergency shelter?
The Center itself is designed to be a short term shelter for its own members, with emergency power and toilet facilities. In addition, one of our main objectives is to develop, teach, and demonstrate through practical use, a variety of emergency preparedness methods through our energy and food production workshops.

Some of these methods will be easily adaptable to home application, making it easy to create enough power to run small appliances, collect and filter rainwater, build home-made composting toilets, participate in a community garden and small poultry and dairy farm.
7. What if someone wants to participate but can’t afford the membership or cost of classes?
Financial assistance for members is an integral part of this model. This will be in the form of direct payments, work exchange, or vouchers paid for through government agencies, charitable organizations and a percentage of profit set-aside fund. No one who is sincere will be refused membership for lack of $40.00. Membership income is a very small percentage of the budget.
8. Why are a few spaces set-aside for long term yearly leases, and how do you decide who will rent these spaces?
Several resident experts who have reached a level of mastery in their field will be on-site daily to serve as an anchor and guide newcomers, and to work on long-term projects.

The areas of expertise represented will vary depending on who is available. In exchange for subsidized or free rent, these expert members will offer free consulting during posted hours to other members. Resident experts will have a secure space for their own equipment and supplies, not accessible to the general membership. These will also be the people who maintain ethical and professional work standards of the organization. They might also be called upon as a council to help settle disputes and to help in negotiations between members.

Healing Home Pilot Project
An original economic development project by Suzanne Broussard, copyright 2008.

With an understanding that rampant crime is a symptom of undeveloped skills and talent, which then results in lack of economic opportunity, this Model combines the following interlocking entities:
Emerging Business Incubator
Charter School, Head Start or
Other Publicly Funded Education or Rehabilitation Component
Professional Development Center
Entertainment and Community Education
Retail, Advertising and Distribution Cooperative
Gallery, Performance and Meeting Place with Open Cafe
Home Schooling Resource
Micro-loan Resource
Child Care
Emergency Shelter
Food and Energy

A Sample Plan [that was ignored) submitted to:

New Orleans Alternative School Pilot Program at McDonough City Park Academy Charter School
Phase One Pilot Program

This plan is for a Phase One Pilot program to be implemented during the 3 hour Arts Enrichment program offered by New Orleans Outreach at City Park Charter.
This pilot program will enable us to take the first step toward establishing a full scale version which is described in the document entitled “Healing Home”.
What is needed:
Access to two or more large rooms will be needed. The unused girl’s locker room, with minor modification to create privacy for an adjacent girls bathroom is suitable because it is divided into three separate rooms which can be used for different functions. The all-day detention area can also be used. The former detention area adjacent to the Cafeteria is suitable for Culinary Arts. The garden area is already established and will be used. A corner of the playground can be used for mechanics and diesel production with minor modifications. One or two other rooms would be useful for electronics and audio-visual recording.
The following list describes the projects under consideration in Phase One and the tools and supplies that will be needed.
Pilot Project Wish List:
Vegetable Garden: Additional dirt, plants, fertilizer, rain-water collection system and hand tools for small garden will be needed. The school already has 2 raised planter beds which are not being used. This can be expanded with more raised beds and overhead trellis or wire for vines. Optimal use of small garden spaces will be investigated.
Culinary Arts: Access to the commercial kitchen in the cafeteria could be arranged.
Audio-Visual Recording: Heavy duty video recording cameras and still cameras, editing software and hardware for both audio and visual, lighting and backdrops will be needed, along with a permanent space, practice stage and secure storage.
Textile Arts: A few sewing machines, including old-fashioned pedal operated and sergers, a cutting table, ironing board and iron. A large loom and several small ones as well as embroidery, crochet and knitting supplies will round out this workshop.
Printing Press or silk screening: I would like to start with an old-fashioned letter press for use in printing posters and small pamphlets. There are many different types of printing press which can be chosen beyond this. Drying racks and a large supply of paper and inks will be needed.
Woodworking shop: This will begin with only hand-tools and small projects to develop twig furniture, furniture repair and other simple projects based on recycled lumber or other materials.
Mechanics: Introduction to mechanics and simple body work. This will require basic mechanics tools, various types of small engines and a space outdoors with some minimal protection from the weather.
Electronics: Introduction to repair of computers and other electronics.
Community Project: A community project will be decided upon by a group of students who will then seek funding, manage the funds, bring the project to completion and follow-up with a report and news release to the media.
Political Involvement: This involves following City, State, Federal and International legislation and actively participating through letter writing, attendance at meetings, and phone calls to legislatures.

Students will be encouraged to research a topic, formulate an opinion and express that opinion to their representatives.
Alternative Healing: Students will study herbs and nutrition, the eastern philosophy of wellness and learn the various techniques employed in holistic healing by various cultures.
Music: A collection of instruments and a place to keep them.
Art: A permanent space to work and store materials will be needed.
Dance: A practice space and coordination with the audio-visual group will be needed.
Energy production: A space for work, storage and distillation equipment for bio-diesel production from used vegetable oil. Assemblage and installation of solar panels can be accomplished fairly easily by purchasing surplus solar cells, plexi- glass panels and aluminum frames. Coordination with the electronics group will result in research into the installation of panels, inverter and batteries.

As more funding becomes available and as quantifiable results are obtained, the project will move to Phase Two of implementation.
Phase Two can involve the expansion of the program into an all-day option in order to make optimal use of the equipment and spaces that have been completed in Phase One.


Development Consultant:

Suzanne Broussard

New Orleans 2008


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