Editor's note: This newsletter was originally shared via email to our members, friends, and other subscribers. A PDF of the full newsletter can be found here (~850KB), or view it on the MailChimp website.
2020 has been a tough year. We started out full of hope for what Nova Labs can be, and the 2020 Strategic Aims were our vision for a bigger, better Nova Labs. But then… 2020 happened. So how did we do?
We doubled down on our commitment to build the Nova Labs entrepreneur community by launching the Innovation Center, which occupies the majority of our additional square footage at 1930 Isaac Newton Square. This move also helped grow revenue, and we now have twelve IC office members occupying seven office spaces. The 1930 expansion also gave our robotics program its own dedicated space.
Our renovation of the 1916 space added capacity by expanding the Greenway (now its own space called the Mixed Media Shop), the Woodshop, the Blacksmithing area, and the Metalshop. We created dedicated spaces for jewelry, stained glass, and composites work, while maintaining classroom and conference space.
We have also worked to strengthen, modernize and streamline our operations. We automated our expense reporting system with Abacus, created a space reservation system in Zoho Creator, and implemented a modern membership management system with Wild Apricot. Improving the membership experience will help us sustainably grow our revenue, and diversify the makers we welcome to our space.
In 2020 we launched makerschool, a K-12 and votech educational setting providing hands-on STEAM and shop opportunities to all students. The makerschool both aligns with the goal of diversifying our revenue stream and with our core mission as educators.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult because we’ve had to change so much of the way we operate Nova Labs in order to keep everyone healthy. 2021 will bring even more challenges. The classes and events that we rely on for building community and generating revenue are still likely to be limited. There are big bills looming, and our ability to generate revenue is limited. The space we occupy is slated for redevelopment, with an uncertain timeline.
Our vision for Nova Labs 3.0 is still intact, and will be even bigger and better. We know we will need at least $1.1 million to find a new home in the next 13 to 18 months, and we have been saving to get there. We haven’t raised membership dues in years, and planned to do so this year, but we have delayed because we know some of our members have faced financial challenges this year. If you are able, I ask you to go into the Nova Labs donation portal and add a recurring donation of $25, $50, or even $100 monthly. These donations will be used for operating expenses and a portion will be set aside for the Capital Campaign Fund as we save for Nova Labs 3.0.
I think our most important achievement this year is that we served our community – the recap below shows what our family of makers was able to achieve. In a time when our lives were turned upside down, we pulled together, even when we were apart. Crossing the chasm in the face of a global public health crisis isn’t for the faint of heart. But if anyone can do it, makers can.
Karen LaFollette ShumwayExecutive Director
Read the rest of the 2020 Year in Review on the archive of the email at MailChimp.
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