2014 Yearly Meeting

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Agenda for the 2014 yearly meeting. January 11, 2014. 1:00PM to 4:14PM

(If this is a little tl;dr, you can always skim it for the "Action Items" sections to know what it is we are expecting people to help with)

Attendees: Nathan, Jenett, Jay, Steve, Nick, Allyn, Heath, Austin, Daniel (through google hangout and IRC) Note taker: Austin Toombs (if you have more notes to add, please do! Or if you have a question about something I've recorded, please ask!)

Contents

Administrivia (Monies, Tax information, Membership, etc)

  • Non-profit status & relationship with School Factory

Meeting notes

Financial information

We reviewed the bank accounts and other financial information. Conclusion: We are doing pretty well, especially compared to previous years. We do have several members who owe back dues, but we are at a good spot as far as paying for bills and other things while having money come in. No bank issues for a long time.

Taxes and School Factory

We are officially a non-profit (and have been for about a year), so we do not pay taxes like we used to. We have 21 months to file taxes after declaring non-profit status, so we need to file this year to be safe. We are not yet a 501c3, but can apply as a 501c4 or 501c7. The most important distinction here is that if we were a 501c3 people would be able to claim their donations to us on their taxes. Right now for them to do that we have to go through School Factory, and when we do that they get 10% of that donation. We are currently working on becoming no longer affiliated with School Factory, but for the time being we have learned how to make the best use of them that we can. To get 501c3 status we have to prove we are a charity and that we do charitable things for the community. We definitely do that, we just need to work on the proving it part. As far as additional paper work goes, we are already filing about as much as we would have to if we weren't affiliated with School Factory, so we are not concerned.

Concerns. One concern raised during the meeting was for how we are allowed to use money through Bloominglabs, as far as being taxed and keeping our non-profit status is concerned. We are allowed to purchase things with Bloominglabs funds for Bloominglabs. We're a valid company. We just aren't allowed to take a profit out of it. We can even hire people and pay them a salary if we wanted to, we just can't take money out of Bloominglabs' bank account and claim it for people.

Donations (of things and of money)

If you hear of people who would like to donate equipment to the space, we can provide them with the paper donation form so that they can use it as a tax deduction if they wish. If they don't care about that, then we can just take their stuff directly. If they want the tax deduction, it must go through School Factory (until we are our own 501c3).

Membership

We are currently at 25 members, but will probably lose another 2 in the next couple of weeks. Around this time last year we did a push for increasing membership, so we will likely need to do the same for this year. We have not heard anything negative to concern us about our decreased membership, but if you do hear something (like "I left because I did not feel welcome") then please speak up so that we can try to mitigate those concerns. For now, though, our members who have left have done so for reasons outside of our control. Members who have left should still be encouraged to attend public meetings.

Concerns. It might not be completely obvious to members that they need to let us know if they are intentionally discontinuing their dues payments because they no longer plan to attend. It's fine if they decide to not be a member for a few months, but they do need to let somebody know for record-keeping purposes.

Making Money

We have been doing a pretty good job with replenishing the bank accounts through workshops. We will try to ramp this up, because it would be nice to have a buffer for potential relocation. See below for more information about these efforts.

Action Items

  • anyone who would like to help Jenett with the taxes side of thing, please speak up and contact her.
  • push for membership!
    • e.g. flyers

Review our achievements from the past year

  • Laser cutter
  • Makevention
  • Membership grew over the summer (has since dropped a bit but still more than last year)
  • We got more press on the Internet/radio/print media
  • Classes and Workshops

Meeting Notes

We got a laser cutter! And broke it twice. Once because of a defective tube, another time because laser tubes apparently do not appreciate the frozen outside air coming in through the direct access vent...oops.

Makevention was obviously awesome, thanks everyone! (especially Jenett)

Membership grew to over 30 at one point! We will get up there again, some day, so we aren't worried about it.

We have had a lot of good press throughout the year, from WFIU and other media events we've participated in. We have heard people say that they took their job in Bloomington specifically because they knew that there was a hackerspace here. We have yet to hear anything negative about the space, and have even specifically looked for it through reviews etc. If you come across anything please say something so we can find out how to improve.

We have put on several workshops and classes throughout the year (Arduino, Lathe, Rain Barrel, etc).

Action Items

  • If you know of any other achievements that should be listed here for posterity's sake, please add them in or let someone know so they can add it in.

Areas for Improvement

  • Keeping the space clean

Meeting Notes

We have done some work recently on keeping the space clean and organized, but more can always be used. There are currently metal chips in the carpet in the front room that should not be too hard to be taken care of, we just need someone to get on it and do it. There was an expressed interest in pulling the carpet up. This is a possibility if someone is really interested in leading the charge on this and willing to pay for the tile to go in (which will also probably have to be replaced when we move because we WILL destroy it).

One thing that would be really nice about doing a serious clean of the space is that we could then bring companies and other people by the space for a tour.

There are plans floating around with a lot of Bloominglabs' assets on them showing how they could be reorganized, but we keep getting new equipment so they are hard to keep up to date.

Building Committee Nick and Ally are now our official "Building Committee" in charge of the organization and cleanliness of the space (that description is probably still very flexible so feel free to change it!). Feel free to have meetings and email out the notes from them to the rest of us! Potential things for this building committee to tackle / ideas mentioned during the meeting:

  • Setting aside a few days to really reorganize the entire space.
  • Bringing in dividers for the electronics room.
  • Official static mat for working on electronics
  • More locked storage spaces
    • IU might be selling something like this that we can use, so keep an eye out
  • Eye wash station
  • Unlabeled chemicals are an issue
  • Guards for the tools
    • Remember we are not employees, so we don't actually have to be Osha compliant. But some safety is nice ;)
  • A material's shop would be nice (for the laser cutter materials, for blank metal stock, etc)
    • Not necessarily as a way to make money, but as a way to keep our materials-for-use organized.

Action Items

  • Building committee should meet and start thinking about what it would like to do
  • If you have questions about building codes, Allyn can field those. He works with the guy who wrote the building codes for Indiana.
  • The material's shop idea needs to be worked out.

Any outstanding issues from the 2013 yearly meeting?

  • Security system/video camera?

Meeting Notes

Someone has yet to do something about the security issues brought up during last year's annual meeting. There are cameras installed that take pictures of the space. We are putting up stickers on the door declaring that there is a security system in place, but there is definitely more that can be done to keep the space more secure. (It's probably not the best idea to share all of these details publicly, though.)

Action Items

A member-only spot on the wiki might be helpful.

Issues to discuss

  • Potential relocation of space
  • Makevention 2014
  • Not an issue per se, but what things can we do for fundraising and/or apply for grants?
  • Workshops for the coming year
    • Machining class
    • Using PGP encryption with email (signups from Makevention still)
  • Children in the space
  • Membership dues
  • Officer elections

Meeting Notes

Relocation. The short of it is we are probably staying in this space for the time being, and that's fine. We would benefit from a larger space but can make do for now. One of the spaces we were interested in has been sublet until June or longer, unfortunately. The firehouse could take another 2 or 3 years for there to be an official decision. And parking around that space could be an issue anyway, so it has become less desirable for some members. Would we ever want to actually own property? This can be discussed again at a later time. There are pros and cons, but for the most part we seem to lean toward "no, except for the firehouse." The Pizzara place is still a very nice possibility. It's close to JB salvage, is at the end of the B-line trail, has a bus stop right next to it, is close to the eco-village guys, etc. We would need around 40 members to pay for it though.

Makevention. Makevention page has more information. Brought up during the meeting: it would be fun to do something with the Terre Haute makerspace that is getting started. Makevention has already started having meetings. We will contact the exhibitors from last year first before opening it up to others. Circuit bending would be fun to do at the upcoming Makevention. Having a place for kids to take apart computers could be fun too. That would make good use of all the junk people donate to us, as well as sort of providing free labor (they mind find some useful components for us!). As far as advertising goes, a surprising number of people responded because of the yard signs. This should be focused on more for the upcoming Makevention! We could also do a soldering workshop here.

Fundraising. If anyone wants to lead the charge to fundraise for something they want to see, then they can lead the charge. Funds only have to go through school factory if they want to take it off of their taxes. And in that case they take 10%. So we would need to fund raise for 10% more than the cost of the thing. Classes and workshops bring in extra money and are always helpful.

Workshops. To run soon: Arduino class, AI class, brewing class, laser class, solar panel class, soldering workshops (could we do one of these every quarter?), mending workshops where we help people fix things from around their houses (pair this with the 3D printer and laser cutter skills). Open house in spring? For all workshops in the future, make sure you have it set up so that people need to pre-pay to save their spots.

Soldering workshop prep: printed circuit boards, could we just get them through a service? (that's too expensive and not worth it and not very hacker-like). Nathan is happy to just do them himself if it's just him doing it. We scheduled 3: one for Feb 18, one for Feb 25, and one for March 4. The last two are a surface mount workshop.

Rain barrel workshop on the 29th and 30th (which month? I didn't get that down).

Open house and flea market: some time in May.

Unattended children in the space is not a problem, but we definitely don't want it to become one either. If you are under 18, you have to have a parent or guardian with you in the space. We talked about implementing a buddy system of some kind, where maybe a member can be a "sponsor" of someone younger than 18. We are a little bit relaxed with this rule when it comes to high schoolers in the space during public meeting nights. We did not reach a resolution on this discussion so we should probably bring it up during another meeting.

How do we feel about the homeschool group that comes into the space? Are they monopolizing the space? Are they taking advantage of our public nights some how? What does "taking advantage" of our public nights look like? For now we do not think this is a big problem, but we should keep our eyes open for it.

We had a long discussion about membership dues. This needs to happen again at another meeting, because we did not resolve it.

Officer Elections. All officers remained the same. There might be some name changes though.

Action Items

  • If you have an idea for a workshop or class, please let someone know about it!
    • What should NOT stop you from doing a class or workshop is worrying about getting some kind of permission to do it. You have permission. Just let people know about it so that they can 1) help out, and 2) know what the space is being used for
      • We can help with advertising etc.
  • Jenett will look into the space across the street from the fire house
    • If you are interested in helping her do this, do it!
  • We need to discuss what our rule is for people under the age of 18 and whether they can be in the space without their parents or guardians.
  • If you are interested in helping out with Makevention, contact Jenett. But be careful, because she WILL put you to work!
  • Include notes about makevention in this page on the Makevention page!
  • Nick: write up a little description about your surface mount workshop!
  • We need better signage for the laser cutter, making sure people know to track their time on the laser to know how much to pay

Ideas/plans/dreams/hopes

  • Group projects (thermostat is going on but more of course would be great)
  • Hack-a-thons (host or participate in them)
  • Monthly or weekly topic-specific events (Thursday's 'Microcontroller Madness', groups like HAM or 3D printing groups)
  • Participation at other events (Louisville Arcade Expo, DerbyCon, other area Maker Faires)

Meeting Notes

Outstanding Concerns

Things we will probably need to pick back up in a future meeting because we did not resolve them during this meeting.

  • Children under 18 in the space
  • What is allowed and what is not allowed during public nights? How do we know when people are "taking advantage" of our open public nights? Is there a line to cross in this area where we feel like we need to start charging membership dues?
  • Membership dues (specifically a tiered membership?)
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