Oshkosh Food Co-op nearing March 31 capital campaign deadline

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$235,000 needed to be raised by March 31, 2020 to meet the $1.6 million dollar goal and move forward the new downtown Oshkosh retail space

After launching a $1.6 million dollar capital campaign last Fall, the Oshkosh Food Co-op has less than $235,000 to raise by their March 31 deadline.  

The campaign will fund store construction, hire staff, purchase equipment and inventory, and assist with marketing and other expenses related to opening up their future member-owner grocery store on the corner of Jackson and Pearl. 

Lizz Redman

The Co-op has leased 8,000 square feet of space from Merge Urban Development on the first floor of the proposed BRIO building and must complete its fundraising in order to move forward with its plans for this site.

We connected with Lizz Redman, Project Manager for the Oshkosh Food Co-op, to see where things are at:

OI: How are things going with the capital campaign and support for the co-op?

Lizz Redman (LR): We have almost 300 member-owners and community leaders who have participated in this campaign.  Just like we’ve had to drive membership by the support of the community, this campaign has been another awesome grassroots movement.  We’ve had support at many levels and we are 85% to our goal.  This is a huge accomplishment in itself. 

We’ve had a very busy 48 hours and it will likely take us a few days to process all of the charitable gifts and loans we have received.

OI: How has the pandemic affected your campaign?

LR: We are of course following the governor’s guidelines and staying home.  Instead of gathering together to make campaign calls, our volunteers are now reaching out to our 1200 member-owners from home.  On the bright side, it has been easier to reach our members during this time. 

Additionally, I think people are recognizing the importance of local, small businesses right now. We have been overwhelmed by the support of not only our membership, but the entire community.  People are looking for something to look forward to, and this project has given us hope of the good things to come in our community’s future.

OI: What are the options for participating in the capital campaign?  

LR: Our member-owners who are 18 years of age and live in the state of Wisconsin are eligible to make a loan to our campaign.  Member loans are a common way that Food Co-ops raise funds from their campaign, offering a lower cost of financing than commercial loans.  Anyone is able to make a charitable gift through our fund at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

We know it is not the right time for everyone, but if you are interested in growing our local food economy, helping relieve food insecurity in Oshkosh and helping grow our central city, please consider participating in our campaign.  Every dollar counts.

For more information on the campaign and to donate online, visit oshkoshfoodcoop.com/capital or call 920.312.7220.#

images courtesy of the Oshkosh Food Co-op

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Justin R. Mitchell

Justin is the founding editor of the Oshkosh Independent.

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