Friday, February 19, 2010

Message from Stone Soup - Shop the Frontier

From Betty Buckley, Executive Director of Stone Soup:

Last spring Stone Soup celebrated its tenth anniversary. This spring, sadly, we have to shut our doors.

After a wonderful decade of working on rural economic and arts development programs, Stone Soup is closing our doors as of March 31. We managed to stay open despite recessions and vanishing grants, but this is no longer possible. In years past we have been extremely fortunate to receive funding from a number of major foundations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USDA Rural Development, Verizon, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and others. But these organizations have either shifted priorities, or we have reached the maximum number of grants allowed. Over these years we\'ve aided thousands of rural families by serving as an incubator for rural arts; teaching art, business and technology classes, and providing a professional venue for rural artists. Our microloans have helped people start small businesses. Though it\'s sad to see things end, we know that the skills training we provided along with the skills of the artists and entrepreneurs themselves have combined to create a pathway to success for many.

Our website will continue for the time being with members shipping product from their homes. We hope to find a buyer for the website and, as a way of thanking our most loyal members, we are working with another organization to arrange a new sales venue for their products.

We want to thank the many people in Republic and the surrounding area that supported our efforts by buying the beautiful products made by dozens of talented artists and artisans.

On a personal note, I want to thank the Stone Soup staff who gave so much of themselves to the program, and who worked hard to make rural arts a viable income stream for so many families. Their dedication and innovation made it possible to stay viable for as long as we did. It has been my pleasure to work with these dedicated women and I wish them every possible success in the future.

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