Author Archive for TwispWorks

Methow Housing Solutions Network Researching Solutions

At the heart of our mission is increasing the economic and cultural vitality of the Methow Valley. One of the ingredients of a healthy community and thriving economy is equitable access to affordable housing.

Methow Housing Solutions Network membersRecognizing that the local housing crisis in the Methow Valley is dire and complex, TwispWorks is pleased to be working with a group of nonprofit leaders to learn from other communities who have faced similar challenges and find solutions that can work here. Since October 2020, Danica Ready, the Executive Director of the Methow Housing Trust, Kelly Edwards from Room One, Jasmine Minbashian from the Methow Valley Citizens Council and Don Linnertz from TwispWorks have been exploring what other rural, resort communities have been doing to address affordable housing for locals. In February 2021, the group added Sarah Brooks from the Methow Conservancy to aid in facilitation.

The Methow Housing Solutions Network recognized immediately they are not a group of housing specialists. Don Linnertz, TwispWorks’ Executive Director pointed out that “from the start, the group named the value of hearing about the housing challenge from all sides”, noting “the work would not be complete without input and buy-in from the diverse set of people who see this issue from different aspects. This collaborative approach brings together our community and puts us in a better position to get to work on what is possible.”

The collaboration, now calling itself Methow Housing Solutions Network, is grounded in a straightforward mission statement: “We believe that all local community members should have a stable place to call home. We acknowledge that this is not the case right now and we recognize that if we do not address housing in the Methow Valley soon, the Valley we love may be lost.”

Methow Housing Solutions Network logosThere are several other groups working on the housing issue in the valley, including SASH which is focusing on supported senior housing and the Methow Housing Perseverance group which features working class needs. The Methow Housing Trust was formed in 2017 in response to the lack of affordable housing after the 2014-2015 fires. The community land trust homeownership model was chosen as a first housing solution for the community because of its proven track record of immediate and lasting impact in other similar communities, and how it matched with the voices of many local lower- and middle-income community members who wish for the possibility of homeownership here in the Methow.

To date, the Network has focused on two learning efforts: exploring responses of communities facing similar challenges, like Port Townsend, Chelan, Leavenworth, San Juan Island, Sun Valley, and various Colorado counties, and listening to the Methow Valley community.

Throughout June and July, the Network held solution sessions and heard from people in need of housing, employers who are struggling to find workers because of the housing shortage, potential and current developers and builders, architects, real estate agents, housing management professionals, planners, and elected officials.

The Network has been focused on finding tangible steps the Methow Valley community can take to help address long-term rentals, seasonal and workforce housing, and opening pathways to home ownership.

Over the next two months, the Network plans to coordinate their efforts with other groups looking at local housing issues and is working on a community outreach event scheduled for September. At the event, they hope all who are working on ideas for addressing local housing needs will share their ideas and community members will be able to provide their input and get involved if they wish. Stay tuned for more information!

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Small Business Emergency Grant Pivots

2021 Cub Creek FireJust over a year since the Small Business Emergency Grant program was created to provide immediate relief to businesses coping with the COVID shutdown, TwispWorks is adapting the program to help businesses heavily impacted by the 2021 fires.

In partnership with the Twisp and Winthrop Chambers, TwispWorks will administer the fund, taking award recommendations from a diverse committee of business and community members. If you are interested in supporting this effort, please visit our Go Fund Me page.

TwispWorks Comprehensive Economic Study Coming Soon!

Methow ValleyAs part of our commitment to the Methow Valley, we launched a Comprehensive Economy Study in September 2019. Over the last year and a half, we have launched three community surveys, hosted five community events, and gathered data on every sector of the Methow Valley’s economy. This spring, we are excited to announce that the study is coming to a close. Overall, over 1,100 residents participated in the three surveys and events, generating hundreds of comments and data points on the main influences of our economy like tourism, second homeowners and remote workers, as well as the building industry and our business community.

The results of the study will be disseminated online as well as in a five-week series hosted by the Methow Conservancy and TwispWorks on the state of the Methow Valley in September 2021. Stay tuned for more information on the study!

TwispWorks is Hiring – Executive Director

Are you passionate about Washington’s Methow Valley and eager to promote rural livability, the arts, and economic vitality? TwispWorks is hiring a new Executive Director!

TwispWorks is a thriving 501(c)3 organization that works with local businesses, artists, and educators both on and off its 6.4 acre campus, located in beautiful Twisp, Washington.

Our mission is to increase the economic and cultural vitality of the Methow Valley, and in the last decade, TwispWorks has grown into a significant force for good. Our facilities host more than 30 tenant-partners, including a community radio station, a local newspaper, a microbrewery, entrepreneurs, over a dozen artists, and an independent learning program for high-school students. We’ve created an investment network that matches local investors with small business ventures, and a collective that promotes local makers. We’re now looking for new ways to help lead the community through the challenges and opportunities of the coming decade, particularly with regard to housing and affordability. TwispWorks envisions a collaborative community where opportunities thrive; we want a new Executive Director who envisions the same.

The Executive Director oversees the campus, manages programs, empowers five to ten experienced program directors, spearheads fundraising efforts, and works with staff and board to set vision and strategy for the future. This position leads valley-wide advocacy for economic and cultural development, and networks and collaborates with local, regional, and federal government, business and non-profit organizations to make good stuff happen.

We’re looking for a candidate who:

• Doesn’t just direct the organization, but is a thought leader at TwispWorks, in the community, and in the region, and will help chart new pathways for the Methow Valley in a time of growth.
• Is able to drum up grassroots support, maintain and develop relationships with major donors, and secure foundation grants and governmental support for unrestricted, programmatic, and capital project funds.
• Can create and manage budgets including significant earned and contributed revenue
• Has a thorough understanding of nonprofit fiscal best practices.
• Builds consensus.
• Will advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion among staff, partners and the board.
• Is a skilled communicator, as both a writer and a speaker, and has facility with social media.
• Is committed to continuing education as a working professional.

The salary for this full-time position is negotiable based on experience, but expected to range between $65,000-$70,000 a year, plus paid time off and medical, dental, and vision benefits. The job starts September 1, 2021.

For a full job description and more information, click here. Applicants should email a cover letter and resume to twexecdirector@gmail.com by June 30, 2021. Please, no phone calls regarding this position. We especially encourage applications by people from under-represented groups.

TwispWorks Receives Washington State Microenterprise Grant!

509 Automotive Methow Investment NetworkWe are pleased to announce that TwispWorks received a $17,000 grant to help fund some key programs and projects at TwispWorks. Specific projects included hosting a Local Investment Network event, revamping our application process and launching a strong Methow Investment Network restart, and sponsoring the creation of a Good Tourist brochure and Climate Friendly Business Brochure.

With WSMA funds, TwispWorks hosted the “Rebuilding Better: Local Investment Networks and the Post-Covid Economy” on January 27th. The event was a first of its kind, drawing investment networks from around Washington State as well as partner organizations, Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA), Association of Washington Cities, Washington State University Extension (WSU), and Neighborhood Associates Corporation. Guest speaker Michael Shuman spoke about post-Covid trends in the economy and how LINS can help rebuild businesses in their communities. The event drew over 200 participants and generated animated dialog on different topics including: collaborating across sectors, Covid changes and opportunities, equity and equality and fluctuations and risks.

The grant also helped to fund our first MIN virtual pitch night on February 24th, 2021, where six startup businesses pitched their plans to our investment network. The pitch night resulted in four out of the six businesses being fully and partially funded! Stay tuned for news about these upcoming business ventures during 2021.

Finally, the grant helped further our collaboration with Methow Valley Climate Action Plan in forming a taskforce to help create two brochures to address tourism in the Methow Valley. The Good Tourist Brochure lists 20 ways visitors can reduce their impact in the Methow Valley and help preserve our natural resources and wild spaces. The Climate Friendly Business Brochure will focus on specific actions businesses can take to reduce their carbon footprint and help promote a sustainable future in the Methow Valley.

We are grateful for the support from WSMA for these exciting projects at TwispWorks!