July 10, 2016
A progress report for our supporters
The House. We have engaged the services of a very good real estate agent in St. Paul de Vence. They have been in business here forever, know every nook and cranny of the village, are women-owned and have a reputation for honesty. When I walked in the door they knew exactly who I was (it’s a small village) and were ready to take on the job. Tomorrow, they will transmit our letter of interest to the developer to open negotiations.
The Organization. This week, friends with expertise in organizational development of all kinds answered the call for help. We now have a bookkeeper, a media consultant, an organizational development coach and a webmaster. In the coming days we will file our 501c3 status. We’ve also ditched that awful crowdfunding platform and are in the midst of going to a direct “donate now” button. Sit tight, donors! Meanwhile, go to the website and subscribe to the newsletter!
Community Mobilizing. The squat of the house resulted in a dramatic outpouring of support from the people of St. Paul de Vence. While a few hardy insiders knew about the squat as it was happening, most of the village learned about it in the newspaper, Nice Matin. People sent me letters at the convent to try to find me so we could chat. I had cups of coffee and glasses of wine with people whose lives were changed by the house and by Baldwin as well as people who knew nothing about him but simply don’t want luxury condos in their backyard. Some people, mostly small business owners, support the project privately but not publicly, for fear of reprisal. In the last 10 days I have met dozens of people, formed good relationships, and been recognized (twice!) as “the Baldwin lady” in the next village over. There is enough local support for this project and enough disdain for its current owner that I can say with confidence the people of St. Paul want us to succeed.
Back to Paris. After having scouted unsuccessfully for an apartment in Vence, the aforementioned next village over (where they have boulangeries and a real market, unlike St. Paul), I’m heading home in a few days. I’ll spent the next six weeks wrapping up my affairs to prepare for a proper move to Provence in September. While in Paris I’ll also set up meetings with key figures in government and the arts who may be able to shepherd our dossier to the Ministry of Culture. Despite August. (bonne chance!!)
Our current pressing needs: 1) a PR and social media consultant. 2) a newsletter editor. 3) many translators (English to French)
On a personal note I see here that my pronoun use is all over the place. Until we are incorporated and have a board of directors in place, “we” really means just “me.” I’m working to change this situation asap. Until then, kindly interpret my use of the second person plural not as royal but as very, very hopeful.
Thank you! More updates to come.