A Message from Outgoing Board President Less Lincoln

On behalf of the board, I want to update you on our status as we welcome the New Year. 2021 continued to be a challenge with COVID-19 and its variants, but we accomplished a great deal thanks to help from our valued community and capable staff. We started the year with a reduction in our workforce and strived to maintain operations with a streamlined and often remote staff. Based on feedback we received from several focus groups done with different segments of our community, we began implementing changes to embrace their recommendations. We revamped our course offerings, many of our systems and processes, and our physical space, creating more areas for people to collaborate with one another on creative projects. We also entered into partnerships with KMVT to lease available office space, and with Gallery House to expand the work of local artists throughout our building.

With community participation, we completed a study drawing on data from the historical performance of our class offerings to determine what people have the greatest interest in learning. The 2021 Classes Study report also addressed the need to better promote our classes to bring in new faces. The first step toward expanding levels of class enrollment was to re-examine our current offerings and adjust them to fit the online education model and appeal to a wider audience. We held three very successful summer camps and several in-person and remote classes. We deployed more aggressive marketing and promotional efforts, and you can now find our classes promoted on community calendars and bulletin boards like Patch, NextDoor, and Craigslist, as well as Eventbrite, the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Daily, and other local newspapers. Our Development Director was instrumental in implementing a new donor tracking system and bringing in several new grants, as well as driving our Giving Tuesday efforts. Throughout the year and the pandemic, all of our staff worked tirelessly to update the space, streamline our equipment check-out process, and train more people on our truck and other equipment.

Last year we implemented a number of program options that support our core mission. In addition to identifying ways to support our producers remotely, we began booking shows in the studio again, following COVID-19 guidelines to protect everyone coming into the building. While many of our producers are still utilizing Zoom to produce their shows, it’s been rewarding having some of our most prolific producers and dedicated volunteers back in the studio. 

With all that we’ve accomplished together – all of us – even as we honor our engagement, tenacity, resilience, and determination to respect and maintain the core of what the Media Center has been, we are all looking to the future together. We’ve brought more transparency to the process by which programs are funded so that everyone can work together to bring important new projects to fruition. We’ve evolved production and storytelling methods that work regardless of physical proximity. We’ve revamped our space with new workspaces including a genius bar for editing, more classroom options, a new Green Room, and a mini-studio upstairs. If you missed our Open House or haven’t had a chance to see the new space, I encourage you to schedule a tour and decide for yourselves. More importantly, more deeply – we’ve engaged more and more diverse parts of our communities and revamped the tools by which we maintain engagement on many different levels, helping us to see what works. We’ve all reinforced the foundation of Midpen Media for a more engaged and comprehensive media center to help you realize your own creations. 

2022 marks the next chapter in the story of our community, and we look to the media center to help us document our stories.  With a robust offering of classes, workshops, and camps, and a new lecture series on a wide variety of topics related to media-making, we are teaching and learning new ways to get the word out about what each of us has to say, and how Midpen Media can help each of us speak our truths.

Part of my legacy as outgoing Board President is to ensure we build upon the work completed in 2021 by offering more ways to engage with Midpen Media. Please continue the conversation by using our online feedback form and joining us on Discord. You can also find information about the board, staff, and committee work activities on our public documents site at: pub.midpenmedia.org. We are a stronger organization with your participation and input. 

I want to acknowledge the leadership of our Executive Director/CEO Keri Stokstad, and the hard work and tenacity of the Midpen Media staff and the Board, especially under the challenging circumstances we faced.

It’s been my pleasure to serve as Board President for the past two years, and as I hand over the reins to the capable hands of our incoming Board President Tilak Kasturi, I wish you all well. Please know that I truly believe in Midpen Media and will continue to support its endeavors moving forward.