For 43 years Charis Books and More has served as an innovative model for what a bookstore can be. We were among the earliest feminist and LGBTQ bookstores in the South, the first bookstore in Little 5 Points, and among the earliest bookstores in the country to move to a sustaining for-profit/non-profit hybrid model when we created Charis Circle, our 501c3 programming arm, in 1996. As the literary, political, and cultural landscape continues to change, we are changing with it, by partnering with Agnes Scott College--an inclusive, historic, women’s liberal arts college--at a new freestanding home located just 4 miles from our current location where we will be moving in late Spring 2018.
This opportunity, to continue to serve our existing customers and constituents while expanding to serve the Agnes Scott College and city of Decatur communities, allows us to guarantee not only survival for Charis, but sustainable growth. Charis has been a hub for activism, art, and conversation for more than four decades in Little 5 Points and while we are sad to leave the neighborhood that has nurtured us for so long, we are excited to bring an invigorated experience to our existing customers and community members by incorporating the new energy of Agnes Scott College and the Decatur and Winnona Park neighborhoods.
For many years our ability to grow towards our dreams has been constrained by the rising cost of space and the limited size of our building and parking facilities. Although Charis has always been responsive to the needs of the moment, welcoming and co-organizing discussions and debriefs for our communities in times of strength and sorrow, we have been constrained by the need to host events before or after bookstore hours. Through our generous partnership with Agnes Scott College, we will no longer have to worry about our month to month space needs and can instead focus on growing our program capacity and investing in nurturing the next generation of feminist cultural leaders.
Our new building at 184 S. Candler will double our programming capacity, offering dedicated day-time event space separate from bookstore browsing space. This event space allows us to focus additional efforts on parenting and children’s groups such as our Race Conscious Parenting Collective, and forthcoming Gender Creative Parent’s Collective; as well as on new programming offerings for elders and lifelong learners. We’ll grow in our capacity as a convener and feminist hub by welcoming community groups into the space for meetings and discussions.With this new dedicated programming space and extended hours, we’ll be open to even more public community partnerships and programs.
Our new space extends beyond the walls of our new building, onto the full campus of Agnes Scott College. Our partnerships with the College include access to ASC event facilities for large author readings, collaborations with academic departments and student groups to bring dynamic speakers to the campus, and more. We’ll also be easier to get to, whether you’re travelling by car or public transportation. We’ve long heard one of the biggest barriers to coming to a Charis event is that it’s hard to park. We can’t wait for you to see the huge, free parking lot behind Charis or experience the shorter, more pedestrian and wheelchair friendly 0.5 mile route from the Decatur MARTA station.
We’re excited to invite you into the process of building your new Charis home and we need your help.
In 2016 alone, Charis Circle hosted more than 250 events with audiences ranging from 5 to 700 people. Every day dozens of people come to Charis for resources; to look at the bulletin board, to find out what’s happening in the community, to meet a friend or a study group. If each person who attended a program or came to Charis to be in a welcoming space donated just $10, we could fully Fund the Feminist Future and celebrate campaign victory together in our new home. We’re asking you today to stretch deeply with your donation, knowing that you are investing in a solid future. We also want you to know that every single donation counts. Just as we sometimes host life changing events with five people in the room, we also depend primarily on thousands of $5 and $10 donations to help get us across the finish line!
With your donation we can:
Build Feminist Spaces:
This fund includes full renovation and build out, and accessibility updates at 184 S. Candler, moving expenses, and rent in our current space as we prepare to move. Renovations are underway now and we are already more than 70% of the way to our financial goal! We need your pledge to help close the gap.
Build Feminist Capacity and Community:
Our dreams don’t stop once we get into our new home. This fund helps expand our existing Charis Circle team by hiring new staff and paying them a living wage.