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Youth are The Depot's biggest asset. All youth are welcome to come to The Depot and Friday nights we have great live music for teens, although all ages are welcome.
The students describe their governance as "student decisions with adult guidance." The Depot is led by a student board of directors, which meets monthly and is comprised of students and adults. This board sets policy, works with staff to run programs, and works on financial development and planning to sustain the Depot project.
There are two management staff members – one manages the Coffee House business, and the other runs the youth community project side and works closely with the student board.
The Depot employs part-time staff who work behind the counter, as well as staff who run our sound board.
In addition to the adult advisors on the board, the students of the Depot have a partnership agreement with institutional partners including the City of Hopkins, the Three Rivers Park District and Hopkins School District #270.
This group meets quarterly to make sure the Depot is "on track" from safety, legal and financial perspectives. All Depot Youth Project employees are employed by the City of Hopkins.
The Depot Youth Project maintains youth programming and youth development work. The annual budget hovers around $130,000.
The City of Hopkins, which is one of the community partners for The Depot, manages the money. They are a "fiscal agent" and process all donations to the Depot Youth Project. This is particularly important in securing grants from community foundations, as well as from individuals. In this regard, the Depot Youth Project is viewed as a community non-profit organization. The project budget pays for building and utility expenses, and covers the purchasing and maintenance of most of the equipment, whether primary use is for the project or the Coffee House.
There are basically three funding streams for the Depot Youth Project: grants, income (cover charges/tee-shirt sales/rentals) and donations from community groups and individuals. Typically, grants cover specific budget items and donations can be applied to the general budget.
The Depot Coffee House is a profit-making business. The coffee house creates its own revenue to provide for staffing and for product. At the discretion of the manager, some profits can be designated to the Youth Project or other program needs. Student volunteers are expected to learn the business and be trained to "work the counter" as part of their Depot commitment.
The Hopkins School District provides levy for lease funds in order to use The Depot as a "Learning Lab" for the Business Department.
Students have created ads for products on display inside the Depot, and have designed specific promotional campaigns in partnership with the Depot board and staff. Depot board members have been invited into business classes to present the details of the project and ask for specific help and expertise. A "Handbook for The Depot Coffee House / Business Class Learning Lab" has been developed, contains history, rationale, procedures and specific work product, and will be updated on an on-going basis as the program grows and changes.
The majority of the student board must be Hopkins School District residents and/or attend Hopkins schools, but the remainder of the board can be filled from other school districts.