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Finances solid, but fundraising a constant, Occupy Madison officials say
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Finances solid, but fundraising a constant, Occupy Madison officials say

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Occupy Madison officials say the finances for their tiny village project are solid but that fundraising will be a constant necessity.

The nonprofit organization has raised about $182,000 in cash donations so far and an additional $5,000 through what it calls its micro-enterprises, such as the sale of craft items at its retail store, said Bruce Wallbaum, treasurer of the Occupy Madison board.

Some supporters of the effort have personally loaned Occupy Madison additional money, he said.

Occupy Madison bought the tiny village site last year for $110,000, putting $33,000 down. It spent an additional $160,000 or so getting the site ready for the tiny houses, Wallbaum said.

Each house costs about $3,500. New ones continue to be made in an on-site workshop.

Monthly costs run about $1,800, which includes mortgage, utilities and insurance, Wallbaum said. The organization’s reserve fund typically can cover four to six months of costs, he said.

Residents are not charged anything, but they can contribute financially as they are able and see fit, he said. Two residents with full-time jobs currently help pay for basic supplies such as toilet paper and light bulbs for the communal building, said Luca Clemente, board vice president.

Occupy Madison has done a couple of online crowd-funding efforts. Plant sales from its gardens and proceeds from its on-site retail store bring in about $500 per month, Wallbaum said.

Additionally, “we’ve become a tourist site, so people will come through here on weekends and toss us a 20 (dollar bill),” he said.

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