Rob Gunnison put me in touch with Doug Merlino – a fellow j-school grad who is now working as a writer in NYC. He works out of a place called the Writer’s Room. It’s been around since 1978 and was founded to create an affordable workspace for writers of all kinds.
Here’s what Doug says about it.
“I love the place I work… Basically, you apply for membership and, assuming you are accepted (you send them a resume and some references), it costs $100 a month to work there. It’s basically a big room with cubicles and a separate kitchen and phone area. You keep your stuff in a locker and, when you come in, grab a place that’s free to work.”
He also told me about another similar place called The Paragraph. This place was founded by two women who wanted to create a work environment similar to what they had in grad school. YES! Their space is gorgeous – I need to find out how they funded it. They also do special events, round tables, etc.
And here’s yet ANOTHER one in Tribeca – The Village Quill. Apparently the waiting lists for these places get so long they have to keep opening new ones.
Finally – Doug pointed me to this NYT article that basically proves the value of these kinds of work spaces. So very encouraging.
Oakland Workforce Investment Board – a city organization helping employees and employers get matched up in Oakland. On the surface it sounds like a lot of dysfunctional city bureaucracy, but maybe there is something here. Need to look into it further.
TWO ROOMS – A work space for freelance moms. Or at least it used to be. Their website is still working but it looks like their physical space is closed for the time being. I wonder what happened?
The main idea (from their website): “Parents work and children play at a facility designed to meet the needs of the growing population of freelance workers who are parents – a group that requires flexibility, professional resources and childcare. Our mission is to provide a comfortable and complete work environment for parents, with quality childcare on site, to give parents and children the room they need to be creative and productive.”
Childcare + Office Space – their tagline “You work, they play.”
Knight Brothers 21st Century News Challenge
My brother found this. They have ALOT of money and very open guidelines. But their deadline is December 31!
PacificCare Foundation – I heard an underwriting message about these guys on KQED. They are a health care provider that gives grants to various organizations… not exactly useful at the moment but worth filing away.
While it looks like Aimee Allison is not going to defeat Pat Kernighan in the District 2 City Council race, she still might be a helpful ally in developing a small business in Oakland.
From her campaign website:
Support Small and Local Businesses
• Adopt a plan to attract retail that will include development of key neighborhood business districts like the Grand Lake, Eastlake, Chinatown, and 23rd Avenue
• Encourage Oaklanders to develop independent businesses
• Provide marketing and promotions grant and loans to merchant associations
• Encourage successful, well run small businesses to open a second or third site in Oakland (e.g. coffee shops/restaurants)
The Grotto – home of Po Bronson and other freelance superstars. It’s an amazing organization with one major problem – it’s exclusive to folks who are already relatively established in the freelance world.
Here’s an article by Po Bronson about writer communities.
NaNoWriMo – These guys sponsor National Novel Writing Month, challenging folks to write a 175-page novel between November 1 and November 30. But more than that, they are trying to create a community of writers who would otherwise be alone in their rooms/offices/local cafes. The founder, Chris Baty, is an Oakland-based freelance writer.
Craigslist Foundation – the non-profit branch of craigslist which provides resources and workshops for other non-profits. My friend Wendy knows the Executive Director, Darian Heyman. They do a non-profit boot camp every year in SF and NYC. I missed it this year, but I might make it a goal to attend the SF camp next summer.
Incubator.com is not exactly the kind of support I’m looking for, but who knows… maybe we can draw these hi-tech/startup-focused investors over to the non-for-profit side. Plus, this organization is based in Rensselaer, NY, so maybe they’d be willing to make an exception for a hometown girl. (Or maybe we can skip the whole non-profit thing and go for the big bucks!)
Here’s google search for “bay area incubator.” I haven’t had time to look through these carefully yet.
And here’s a google search for “east bay incubator.” Some good stuff in here about local businesses.
EastBay Works is primarily a career search organization, but there’s some good stuff here about starting your own business.
Oakland Chamber of Commerce – I don’t think my idea will be as appealing to Mayor Jerry Brown as, say, a shiny new big box store, but he’s on his way out anyway… This site includes a Small Business Resource Directory.
I know there are a lot of places that give money to non-profits – the trick will be finding a good match. Here’s the beginning of a list of possibilities:
- Saratoga Foundation (for women)
- Charity Navigator – matching givers with getters
- National Endowment for the Arts (long shot)