Putting a new website together and ensuring its content and financial sustainability is no small challenge. NolaVie founders and early supporters, having been honored with a grant from J-Lab, have met several times over the past weeks to discuss aspects of website design and content subject matter, as well as to put together a realistic business plan.
Receiving a grant has definitely pushed us “off the cliff” and into concerted action which, for us, means really establishing some “rules of the road” for content providers. Recent discussion have included a number of key questions: who are the key providers; how are they to be presented; how often can they be presented; how do we design a benefit package for organizational members; what are the intellectual property issues to be considered, what would be the most attractive benefits for organizational members, among many other issues.
On Thursday, July 15, 2010, a meeting was held of the trustees and members of Partnership for Action, the umbrella not-for-profit agency of NolaVie. While a number were out of town on vacation or business, more than 20 members appeared to hear and discuss the NolaVie project. After a thoughtful and exciting discussion, they endorsed the project and approved the new slate of officers nominated: Sharon Litwin, President (and co-founder of NolaVie); Renee Peck, Vice President (and co-founder of NolaVie); Jackie Sullivan, CPA, recently retired Deputy Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Treasurer; and Constance Charles Willems, attorney and honorary consul of the Netherlands in Louisiana, Secretary.
The next step for PFA is to institute three ad hoc committees until such time as an advisory structure is created to oversee NolaVie. They are: Governance Committee, Content Committee and Development Committee, all of which will meet between August and late September, 2010.
Governance Committee will meet to discuss the relationship of NolaVie and its leadership structure to PFA. Should a member of the NolaVie leadership have a seat on the PFA board? What, if any, oversight should PFA have of the NolaVie leadership? Should NolaVie be run by an Advisory Committee or a Board and what is the difference?
Content Committee will meet to determine a core list of providers to be included in an upcoming small group meeting which, having met, will then notify interested others who will be invited to a community-wide “town hall” meeting to introduce the NolaVie project to the widest possible group of potential constituent providers.
Development Committee will meet to identify potential organizational members and discuss benefit packages for them. Having identified potential members, this group of PFA trustees/members will accompany NolaVie personnel on fundraising and membership calls.
Since notification of the J-Lab grant, NolaVie has obtained free office space, the pro-bono services of an attorney specializing in the area of Intellectual Property, a free bank checking account, and a Post Office Box for incoming mail.
Sharon Litwin and Renee Peck have met and are working with a group of outstanding, talented young New Orleans professional jazz musicians for whom NolaVie will be both a marketing and promotion site. Their emerging New Orleans Jazz Works organization is being designed to harness the energy and creativity of the area’s younger jazz performers and composers. NolaVie will provide the first-ever interactive site available for communication and dialogue for this constituency.
Similar discussions have taken place with the leadership of the area’s growing theatre community and also with the active Arts Council of New Orleans. Discussion will continue with other constituent groups both to encourage participation and avoid duplication of effort.