SJCF Urges Collaboration Among Island Groups at Annual Meeting


About 45 people gathered at the Fish Trap restaurant on Monday night, April 16, to hear what the St. John Community Foundation has been up to over the past year at the group’s annual meeting. 

“It was a great meeting,” said SJCF executive director Celia Kalousek. “We had a big round table and we did a run down of what SJCF does and where we are financially. I explained how our money is split up and shared as many details about our programs as possible.”

SJCF used 70 percent — a total of $131,275 — of its expenditures in 2011 directly on program expenses with 17 percent, $30,688, spent on salaries and labor. A total of 11 percent, $20,750, of the group’s expenditures last year were spent on overhead like rent and utilities, with another two percent, $3,058, used for printing, copying and miscellaneous expenses.

 After detailing exactly how their funds are spent, the meeting was opened to residents to explain their own organizations, according to Kalousek.

“We went around and asked folks what they were doing because the point is not to duplicate services,” she said. “We want to make the most of the money that is coming into St. John community groups. There were a lot of people doing a lot of good things so we need to stay in touch with each other to collaborate.”

“There are a lot of grants out there and I’d love to see organizations working together to get funding instead of competing with each other,” said the SJCF executive director. “There were a lot of seeds sown at the meeting. It was awesome.”

The meeting also helped Kalousek realize the different groups and programs and find out ways she can help their initiatives, she explained.

“It was really useful to hear from the different groups about what they are trying to do and to hear their wish lists and volunteer needs,” said the SJCF executive director. “There are so many grants out there and when I see them I want to know who I can pass them to. If there is no member of a group to write one, they can pull a team together and work on it together.”

“We want to facilitate collaboration so we can bring money to St. John and start working on these programs and initiatives,” said Kalousek.

Community organizations, like St. John Rescue and Island Green Building Association, were on hand to discuss their initiatives, Kalousek explained.

“There were several people at the meeting who are doing youth mentoring,” she said. “St. John Rescue folks were there and they talked about trying to get a grant for an oxygen production unit. I think a lot of people at the meeting realized how useful having the oxygen on island would be.”

“We talked about the environment and someone there wanted to know how to donate to IGBA,” Kalousek said. “There were people from the group there, so we were able to make that connection.”
Kalousek hopes to follow up with each of the groups in brainstorming sessions to further create opportunities for collaboration, she added.

“It’s really about this whole collective collaboration process and us working together,” said the SJCF executive director.

The group also took time during its annual meeting to celebrate saving its long-running and much-used Dial-a-Ride program, which was at risk of being eliminated when government funds were pulled.

“We certainly celebrated keeping Dial-a-Ride and gave Andy Stillman a shout out for throwing us the life line and the ability to pay barge and gas fees,” said Kalousek

Anyone who missed the meeting, but wants to find out how to collaborate with the group should call Kalousek at 693-9410.