“For such as we are made of, such we be.” Twelfth Night, 2.2
Well, it’s that time of the year. The days are getting shorter. The weather is getting colder. The Timbers season has ended and, by the time this blog post is published, the Thorns may have either won their fourth star or bowed out from contention. One of the things about our organization is that tradition is a big part of the culture, and so this is a blog post that is as good as tradition: the call for you to renew your membership to the 107IST.
This year has brought a lot of change both for the clubs we support and for the organization itself.
On a club level, we eagerly await a sale of the Thorns, which we hope will be completed before next season. The Timbers turned over their head coach, and there have been numerous changes in the front office composition in the last 24 months. Both clubs look to be in a state of transition. The Thorns between ownership groups and the Timbers between roster orientations.
On an organizational level, we are a bit in a state of transition as well. This year we had a temporary store front in 1919 Morrison, and it was an amazing success. Both No Pity Originals and RivetGear put out merchandise that seemed to resonate with the public in a big way. People are finding us in a way that we haven’t seen before. So many new faces, new folks, are wandering into 1919 Morrison Street and asking who exactly we are. They’re buying things (often) but perhaps just as importantly, learning about who the 107IST is.
The thing that stuck out most to many of the folks working the space was that for a lot of folks, this was the first time they had heard of the 107IST. The amount of time spent on education was massive, and it gave us a chance to think critically about the role we play in the community of soccer fans in Portland. How many more folks would join us if only they knew who we were?
Now, as much as any year in recent memory, there is so much to be proud of when it comes to what the 107IST has accomplished. This year, through our monthly drives, we were able to support incredible local organizations like IRCO, Rose Haven, and Blanchet House. Both the Pride scarf co-sold by NPO and RivetGear, and the two tee shirts designed by Meghan Klingenberg and sold through RivetGear raised money for New Avenues for Youth this year. For New Avenues for Youth alone we raised more than $10,000 to support the purchase of gender-affirming clothing and other items for the youth they serve.
While the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters are two pillars of the 107IST, two spaces of amazing impact that close ideological and organizational alignment to the 107IST are the Gisele Currier Scholarship Fund and Operation Pitch Invasion. The Gisele Currier Scholarship fund recently finished the application cycle for their 2023 applicants, and it looks like an amazing group of folks. Operation Pitch Invasion put on several well attended events this year.
So where are we headed next year? What are we hoping for? What are our dreams? What are our hopes for our membership base in the future?
We feel as though this is an important moment to announce that we have a big membership push coming up, we’re calling it 25% by 2025. By 2025 we want the 107IST to represent twenty-five percent of the stadium capacity. While this may seem to be an incredibly ambitious goal, we view it as something that is remarkably achievable. We also know that some of that 25% will include members who rarely set foot in Portland — those 107IST members who value and support this work from all over the world.
Since the 107IST was founded, the soccer market in Portland has grown. More people love the game and attend PTFC matches, University of Portland matches, and soccer at the grassroots level, such as PDXFC. Providence Park has expanded, adding capacity and increasing the amount of folks who attend both Timbers and Thorns games. While this growth has occurred within our stadium, our membership numbers have stayed relatively stagnant. We have a wonderful, consistent membership base, but we want to make sure that we continue to be a voice of the stadium. As we expand, so does our capacity to impact our community.
Put simply: We want to do more, and the more members we have, the more power we have to be a respected voice and enact change in the stadium.
This goal is achievable if we continue creating an environment of welcome for new folks. We need to continue to spread our mission of “support soccer in the Portland area from the grassroots to the highest professional level” to all corners of our stadium, and if we each take it upon ourselves to be stewards of this organization.
We cannot achieve this goal without you. For such as we are made of, such we be.
Have an idea about how we can grow our numbers and want to pitch it? Now is the time. Ever wanted to paint tifo, load membership packets, organize away travel, help organize a match day drive, and help bring the yielded donations to the organization? Now is the time. Have time to lend a hand in any way? Now is the time. Ever wanted to be part of spreading word of who we are and what we do? We want you. Now is the time. Attend a committee meeting, attend a board meeting, email us about how you can get stuck in. Learn more. Ask questions. Find a niche, a role. As we grow, our volunteer pool and the people passionate about helping the organization needs to grow too. We want to facilitate your involvement and help you feel seen.
We are nothing without our members. There is so much good that we can do, so much more that we can do, and now more than ever our mission is vital.