Build a Community Space in Blacksburg, Virginia


After many months of hard work, including not only preparing the physical space but also distributing meal and essential supply boxes to over 2300 individuals across the New River Valley, we are nearing the opening of the cafe portion of our community space. As of mid-November, we are only weeks out from a soft open. Due to COVID-19, we will only be open for take-out and are still unable to open fully as a venue or full-fledged community center, but that has not dampened our enthusiasm! However, this does mean the expected revenue is less than what we were hoping for at this point, making your donations all the more meaningful to us.

We remain in deep gratitude for those who have helped us get to this point. Truly, y'all have been our angels!!!!


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Future Economy Collective has re-structured the functioning of SouthPaw, our space in downtown Blacksburg. Presently, our focus has shifted to serving as a distribution hub for essential goods towards those most affected by the global pandemic.  In line with our original intention, SouthPaw has adapted to meet the needs of the community.  

However, the threat of COVID-19 has made opening as a café and gathering space impossible at this time, forcing us to seek out alternative forms of revenue (e.g., grants, merchandise, etc.) to be able to maintain our previous goals. On top of this, here, we are reaching out to donors to ask for support in this dire time.

Our hope is to come out the other end of this tunnel having helped those most at risk in the community, and still having the capacity to open as a community space and volunteer-run café, while continuing to engage in mutual aid.  We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who has helped us get to this point – SouthPaw is serving as an invaluable resource for providing community support and it is thanks to your contributions that this is even possible.


The Future Economy Collective is so thrilled to announce that we are 80% of the way to our fundraising goal!! Thanks to grassroots donations and some generous donors and grants, we are so close to making this community-led and community-accountable space a reality. 
We have created this new fundraiser to reflect our current remaining goal of $2,500 and to invite people to check out our new donation appreciation gifts! 


“Do you understand that your quality of life and your survival are tied to how authentic and generous the connections are between you and the people and place you live with and in?” – adrienne marie brown

The Future Economy Collective is a 501c3 nonprofit composed of community members and organizers that are passionate about creating a collaborative community space in the New River Valley region. We are all folks that have seen needs in this area and are now taking action to meet those needs – needs for food security, clothing security, for an accessible and sober venue space, for more free educational opportunities, and for a space in which you don’t have to spend money to spend time with others. We want to build a place in which we value our community over economic gain by literally investing in the people of its community in a way that so few organizations or companies are willing to do -- we strongly believe that building community means building a thriving resistance -- knowing that our love for each other is what can help us survive. 

This space will take the form of a sliding scale volunteer-run café featuring a sober and accessible venue space, a collectively curated library, a food share, a gallery, and more – if you have something you are passionate about adding to the space, you have the power to do so! The proceeds made at the cafe and from donations will be invested directly back into the area, funding free public workshops (anywhere from learning how to administer Narcan to learning how to screen print), talks, and community projects. The Future Economy Collective will be able to use its proceeds and donations to cover costs of workshop and materials, ensuring accessible, free information and skill sharing for the public. In addition, we are working with several different groups to be able to provide services such as free hot food monthly, Narcan, and interest-based volunteer opportunities for folks fulfilling service requirements through the drug courts in the area. 

Our goals for this next year include officially opening our physical location, opening a Food Not Bombs chapter within our organization (where edible food that was going to be disposed of is instead intercepted and redistributed to folks in need), holding a free closet pop-up event with at least 25 people in attendance (where we provide free clothing and free toiletries), and holding a minimum of one Narcan training session. These goals will help us accomplish our mission of opening a community space in the New River Valley area, providing support to folks in recovery programs, helping to bring food, clothing, and haircuts to those in need, and providing educational opportunities that are specific to our area’s needs.


We would like to say thank you for your support for the Future Economy Collective!  Our donation tiers are made up of numerous community members, offering their art and talents to say thank you for supporting this project -- after you donate, we will send you a form as soon as possible that will give us the information needed to send you a gift.

At these tiers we will send you;

$5 - A handmade thank you card, created by one of our volunteers!

$15 - A patch and a handmade thank you card!

$25 - A shirt (you can choose between short sleeve and long sleeve), a patch, and a handmade thank you card! The shirt features our current design as seen on our instagram as supplies last (you can even help us decide on our next design!) 

$35 - A sweatshirt, a patch, and a handmade thank you card! The sweatshirt features drawings made by various community members!

$100 - A custom handmade 12" x 12" mini rug -- you choose the colors! Also included: patch, thank you card, and choice of shirt or sweatshirt!

$200 - A woven tapestry (in colors of your choosing) made by local artist Lauren Malhotra! Also included: patch, thank you card, and choice of shirt or sweatshirt!

$500 - A custom handmade 36" x 36" rug -- you choose the design and colors! Also included: patch, thank you card, and choice of shirt or sweatshirt!

$1000 - A custom handmade 76" x 76" rug -- you choose the design and colors! Also included: patch, thank you card, and choice of shirt or sweatshirt!


Your donations will be used towards start-up funds for this space – the deposit, rent, inspections, equipment needed, and more. We have a total goal of $20,000, but we will also be sourcing money from grants and fundraising events. After we have acquired our start-up funds, we are hoping to be self-sustaining on the profits made in our café.

Your donations are also tax-deductible!


You can follow us on Facebook at, or on Instagram @future_economy_collective ! We post regularly about projects we are working on, alongside meetings and new information. If you have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to email us at [email redacted].


We appreciate your help in creating this space, and we hope to see you soon!
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Gretchen Dego
Blacksburg, VA
Future Economy Collective Lagoon
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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