Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Portland Revisiting Goals

In all honesty, we're in an interesting predicament seeing as I cannot seem to locate our September goals blog. However, I do remember discussing our goals a year from now and in 5 years, even if I cannot find it in the sea of blogs, so I'll go from that!

I think I can say with confidence that as residents we meet regularly and we discuss a myriad of things that are going on. House events, budgets, house maintenance, roommate relationships, future of the house. We've been meeting almost once a week for the past several months! This has been great for the functionality of our house. So even though it's just me writing this, I feel like I can speak for the whole house since we talk about all things Portland Moishe House so regularly.

When we talked about Moishe House in August/September and thought about our goals for a year from now, a lot of them had to do with transitions. Our founder and elder, Jodi, will be leaving us in not too long, so the transition of her departing with her legacy and finding a replacement is important. At the time, I think our goals were to have Jodi transition out effectively, find a good replacement, and continue the house mission. Portland has a unique mission, seeing as Jodi founded us as a Shomer Shabbat, Shomer Kashrut, Shomer Chag house. Because it's been so successful, and Jodi has brought into creation this wonderful model of inclusion, we all feel its important to keep on this mission over time, even after we are gone. So a year from now, we hope the mission is still in place, and also again in 5 years from now. We'd also like to see more involvement from participants. It would be great to have folks other than residents leading events. It would be great to have even more people involved in our events and on our listservs, and to have the house functioning well as an independent organization. I honestly cannot remember if we discussed fundraising in our conversation or not!

Sooo now fast forwarding to present moment, we can talk about how we've addressed these goals. I think we've definitely made some headway. Jodi's been gradually transitioning out, which is the way to go since she's so majorly involved in so many programs. Making the transition gradual allows her to appoint leaders to her projects and discuss changes with us. We've identified a potential future roommate and we're really excited about her, we think she'll be a really great fit! In addition to keeping to the integrity of the mission of the house, we also talk about gender balance within the house and at programs. We hope to keep some balance of men and women in the house to continue to attract diverse participants. So this means we also have to keep an eye out for future male candidates and consider the gender and personality balance of any resident combination.

As a house we've spoken about our mission statement a lot. We're all on board and I think we've identified how future potential housemates could or could not be a good fit. We've also talked about how to sustain our model with external parties, like a board, a "house mom" or "house dad" or a representative from the synagogue we go to. We haven't quite gotten a move on this one yet, but it's an ongoing conversation.

I think recruiting more folks to do events has been a natural part of our growth over the last few months and it's been going well!

We have had some pressing issues come up in the meantime. We are hitting a bit of a low in participation. So I think I can safely speak for my housemates when I mention some goals for the next few months:

1) Come up with a housemate support system for when events fall through or when life happens
2) Brainstorm exciting new events to pull in new people and to serve as "marquee" main big exciting events
3) Increase participation, reach out to groups we haven't before.

We actually discussed a lot of these goals in greater detail for a grant we worked on, so thankfully we've even sketched out some concrete ways to reach these goals.

1) Continue our weekly meetings so we have the time together to discuss all these things. We also try to make some of our weekly meetings out at bars or restaraunts so it can be a fun thing to do together and bond.
2) In terms of reaching out and advertising: using news resources like the Willamette Weekly, Portland Mercury, Jewish Review, Southwest newspaper, etc. Going into coffee shops in neighborhoods and putting up flyers. Doing phone-banking. Being consistent on our newsletter. Planning out our calendar 2 months in advance.

We met last week and we know we've got a lot on our plate. I think we're all dedicating to setting aside the time and chipping away at our goals.

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