Draft business model brief

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  • text below last updated April 30

Omni anti-capitalist model brief

Summary

The Omni Oakland Commons (OOC) will be a shared community space – “a commons with a roof” – meeting the underserved needs of Oakland exponentially more than we can in our existence apart.

Needs in our community

Spaces in Oakland are increasingly expensive, exclusive, and out of the hands of communities without access to means of producing a better, more joyous livelihood. From a history of uneven development, Oakland’s future needs basic space and resources that serve as community anchors. Bridging gaps in social services and continuing education can be accomplished by bringing together separate initiatives.

Members and stakeholders

The OOC is made up of several Bay Area collectively-operated groups. We have roots in Oakland for many years and a shared vision that prioritizes people’s needs over private profit.

Members includes these eight groups, which represent 250 active participants and reach to 5,000 individuals through mailing lists and other channels, as well as other groups and individuals interested in using the space.

Stakeholders include these members as well as neighborhood residents and organizations, community beneficiaries throughout the Bay Area, donor and partner entities, and allied initiatives locally and beyond.

Unique model and value

The OOC models a community initiative where space and resources are mutually shared and cared for. We invite collectives and groups to join us in establishing this hub for the use and stewardship of the greater community. Every person and activity brings value to the space as a whole.

Our unique model unites social services, continuing education, co-working and project space, and civic life. We support these activities by providing designated spaces for specific activities and common spaces open for everyone.

We are intimately familiar with the needs and assets involved. Three of the founding member collectives have qualified experience providing space together at their current location. Our accomplishments range from creating an Oakland independent wi-fi to organizing a panel discussion featuring feminist scholar Silvia Federici.

Operations

The OOC is established as a public benefit corporation to administer a property with space and pooled resources. The OOC will hold a master lease and sublease to several member collectives.

A delegates council will represent member groups in facilitating decision making regarding the shared space. A stewardship team will oversee essential functions of administering the space, collecting fees, and paying bills.

Project phases and costs

Phase 1, leasing the building: the OOC leases the space, builds out the interior, strengthens community support, validates our idea and business model revenue and cost assumptions, and formalizes out operating model.

  • Move-in costs of $X include first month and security deposit plus appx. $Y legal fees and $Z build-out and general improvements. We have $X in contributions from member collectives plus access to appx. in private, no-interest loans.
  • Monthly operating costs of $X include monthly rent, utilities, X% of property tax, upkeep and maintenance, insurance, legal, and other bills. We expect rent fees for space us from 8 member collectives, booked events and produced events, private donations, community development grants, and no- or low-interest loans.

Phase 2, purchasing the property: Omni develops a major capital fundraising and financing strategy, evaluates a healthy and sustainable plan, secures partners and allies (e.g., land trust), and executes transaction.

  • The long-term goal of purchasing the building costs of $1.95M at current market price. We will lease with option to purchase within X years, secured with a down payment of $XX.

Phase 3, owning the property: Omni changes operating structure (e.g., ownership and management roles and responsibilities), changes financial structure, and prepares for the future.

How we pay our bills

Rent is paid through a consensus process. Groups commit to paying what they can and we work together to help each other meet their commitments. Fees and shares are determined by need and ability to pay.

Additional rent money comes from recurring, produced and booked events as well as community development grants and fundraising from dedicated friends and allies.

Anticipated risks include unforeseen major capital improvements and ..? We project reaching financial stability by X date and purchasing the building by Y date.

Feasibility

In the past six months, we have vetted this project by exploring ideas, proposing plans, and building consensus.

Most importantly, by collectivizing, we are able to consolidate expenses and amplify our efforts.

The founding groups are currently paying rent for space independently or has sufficient funds to begin paying rent and ample capacity to do initial build-out.

We have an ideal building that is perfectly suited for our effort.

Appendix

  • Graphs for expenses and revenue over time
  • Member fee breakdown
  • Space use and allocation breakdown
  • Details about the stewardship team
  • Photos of collectives and the space
  • Floorplans with notes

References