why a non-profit?

On monday, March 7 11, we filed our articles of incorporation to obtain non-profit status. But let’s back up. Who is this we evan always uses when he’s speaking for Quiet Lightning? Before this past month, we referred to me and Rajshree; many of you know that Rajshree stepped down last month. I’d like to say a few words about that.

Most of the press Quiet Lightning has received since our first show (and formation) on Dec 14 09* has referred exclusively to me. In a lot of ways, this is natural: because i don’t have a ‘day job,’ as she does, i’ve been the one in the public, going to readings and recruiting people, answering emails, and running the website. But Quiet Lightning would not at all be what it is today without Rajshree Chauhan, and i would like to thank her for that. She often provided me with perspective that, even if i didn’t always heed, allowed me a counter to my own. Thank you again, Rajshree, for putting up with my neuroses (we all have them, but we don’t all deal with everyone else’s so gracefully).

I have filed articles of incorporation because i think Quiet Lightning is an organization that should belong to the community as a service, and in that regard should not depend on the decisions of only one or two people.** What we have created has already changed lives. I have seen it first, second, and third hand, and not only in fictions and poetries. I feel like i’ve watched a time lapse of your maturation (well, not all of you!) into responsible members of a legitimate community. As legitimate as we want to be.

There seems to have been some confusion after the SF Weekly article; we have not yet obtained non-profit status. We have put our application into the mail, which makes us a legal entity (i don’t know what that means, frankly). We should hear back in 2-4 weeks. Often there are slight mistakes in the application that can cause the process to take longer. Not if but when we are cleared for 501(c)(3), the following members of our community will serve as the first board of Quiet Lightning:

Evan Karp, President

Charles Kruger, Chairman of the Board

Kristen Kramer, Treasurer

Chris Cole, Assistant Treasurer

Meghan Thornton, Secretary

What is the purpose of the board, then, if this is to be a truly communal organization? The purpose of the board is to maintain the integrity of the project and to ensure it continues. Also, to make sure it is not the evan karp show,*** as certain readings of the media might suggest. The board will serve as an acting guide that holds the group’s interests as its first priority. It is—we are—a collection of people who are passionate about and dedicated to what Quiet Lightning is and can do for the community. High hopes for the future? You bet.

How would you like to be involved? We have only met once—so be patient—but we are currently looking for help in the following areas. We would love you either to volunteer or to recommend someone we should speak with. All positions will be unpaid, including the board’s. I will receive a very small stipend. I will still hope you buy the coffee.

  • Art Solicitation Committee: We want a team of people who move in the art world, who have a sense of what’s going on there in the same way that we know about the lit scene.

  • Volunteer + Mailing List Committee: We want people to help out at the shows, specifically to make sure everyone gets one of our postcards and has a chance to sign up for our mailing list.

  • Fundraising: We will have an ongoing campaign, seeking both private donors and other public organizations for support. We will also throw regular fundraising events and apply for grants. We could certainly use your help here, especially if you have experience.

  • Street Team + Promotion: We will have 2 teams here: one that beats the pavement (and/or puts up signs in their respective neighborhoods) and one that assists with online promotion.

  • Outreach: The primary role of Outreach will be to spread the Quiet Lightning gospel, either through direct contact or via advertisements. This includes everything from widening the net of our calls for submissions to finding like-minded organizations we can collaborate with to finding new and exciting venues for shows.

While the above positions are unpaid, active and honest work on Quiet Lightning’s behalf will be the #1 deciding factor used to determine future board members; maybe that’s something you’d like to do (and maybe not).

That’s it for now. If you’d like to help, send a line to me @ lightning [at] evankarp [dot] com. We have also recently obtained QuietLightning.org and will be moving there soon enough; that will also include a more direct system of email addresses, but for now the old one will have to do.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!

Here goes everything …

Evan Karp

for Quiet Lightning

* read my remarks from the first show here. it’s quite touching (and relevant), really.

** quite unlike the Free University of San Francisco which, if you will indulge me for a moment (as i hope this is the last time i address you as a truly singular voice) i had high hopes for and then condemned, publicly, due a dissatisfaction with one principal change: the collective, which was the first and most important aspect of the school, has been disregarded for a small governing body that claims it knows what’s best for the group at large and intends to offer it to them. i want to be clear, while i’m on this tangent: i am in no way at war with FUSF, and will likely attend a healthy handful of its classes. however, it is my personal preference to offer what we each have as individuals and in this way to increase the strength and foundation of our community. we must alternate between teacher and student, organizer and poet. for i am both, as i believe you are, and i hope you will share your input with the board in order to keep it this way. we will consider your thoughts, and we will, BY LAW, make our decisions transparent; THIS in itself is reason to go non-profit.

** read this. everything but the politics is relevant to ql, which started out of my rather naive but zealous citizen journalism, which resulted in my high profile amongst our community, etc. don’t bill keller me! sometimes i feel like you guys are kellering me! i’ve been writing this article for a long time now. oh! maybe you want to see footage from our last show! watch it here, and thanks for listening. talk to you soon, love: