Displaying items by tag: masie center

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A cutting-edge center of 21st century global technology and a venue honoring the traditional offerings of helping those in need met at the intersection of Franklin and Washington streets this week in a collaborative effort for the betterment of the local community, and all points beyond. 

Elliott and Cathy Masie built the Masie Center on the east side of Saratoga Springs 20 years ago. This week, Franklin Community Center – which serves thousands of people every year locally - has purchased the Masie building and will be expanding their services. The new building, to be renamed the Michael & Stacie Arpey Family Community Center, will allow the Franklin the space it has needed to grow their programs.   

Franklin Community Center has served as a social service hub for the less fortunate in and around Saratoga since 1983.

The Center's programs include a food pantry, a free after-school prevention program for local students and affordable housing for low-income individuals, as well as assisting with furniture, clothing and household needs, among others. 

“At the beginning of 2019, our board really committed to obtaining more space,” explains FCC Executive Director Kari Cushing.  “We were at a point where the space didn’t provide confidentiality for the people we serve.” A fundraising campaign was initiated with the idea of building an addition to an existing building to create more space. 

“We were in the middle of it and had raised about $1 million toward our $2.5 million goal when the world stopped and COVID happened,” Cushing says. “We were no longer able to use our volunteers, so we repurposed all of our staff and since March we’ve been filling grocery bags, unloading trucks, delivering supplies and just doing what needs to get done.”    

At the same time, she says, the need for services increased exponentially. 

“The numbers have just gone through the roof. The need usually ebbs and flows and goes with the economy, but right now people are in dire need of just basic services. Since the start of the pandemic, just the food pantry has served 2,300 families – and of those 588 of them were brand new, they’d never been to a food pantry before. Those numbers are staggering,” she said. 

“In September. I looked across the street and saw a For Sale out in front of the Masie building. It seemed way too good to be true, but we had to at least explore our options.” The building was listed at $2.6 million, and members of the board visited the location. 

“When I tell you it’s perfect, that’s an understatement. It’s wide open and we could do whatever we need to do with the interior space, but we were still too far from our fundraising goal. We only had $1 million raised and being a non-profit we’re not comfortable taking out a loan for more than a million dollars. Our Steering Committee met to go over our options and that’s when Stacie Arpey, who’s on our board stepped up to increase her pledge from $100,0000 to $1 million and make it a reality for us. The Masies lowered their original asking price, and a deal was struck. “Between the two of them, it became possible.” 

The Masie Center has served for a generation as an international Learning LAB working with global organizations.

“We’ve probably had tens of thousands of executives come from around the world. We helped launch E-Learning there. When the pandemic hit, I looked at my staff and said, ‘OK, go home.’ I gave them computers and lights and screens and after a couple of months predicted, well, we’re not going to go back to regular work soon. We looked at each other and said: maybe this is the time to sell the building. 

“After we put the building up for sale, Franklin Community Center was intrigued and one of their board members, Stacie Arpey, and her husband Michael decided they really wanted them to have it and gave them a million dollar donation to get to the price, and Cathy and I lowered (the asking price) by many hundreds of thousands of dollars because we couldn’t think of a better buyer for it than Franklin,” Masie says. 

“What I like about Franklin is that they service people who have deep and continuing needs as well as people who have newly arrived at the point of need,” Masie says. “I think we need to be quick to respond to people when they enter that and help put them on a pathway to becoming more self-sustaining. And Franklin does that. The other thing is they work a lot with kids.” 

For Masie, the present world continues via video, having conducted keynotes for tens of thousands of people during the pandemic, right from his piano room at home in Saratoga Springs. 

“They do so much in that cramped building they’re in now – to have that 10,000 square feet of space, it’s going to be exciting to see what they can do,” said Masie, who conducted a walk-through with FCC staff this week.

“This new home for FCC will help ensure that families in Saratoga Springs having an inviting place to receive the resources of FCC for years to come,” Stacie Arpey said in a statement.

The transition will happen gradually allowing FCC to ensure there are no disruptions to the services provided. The plan is to maintain the current venues and begin adapting some of the organization’s programs into the new venue. “In the beginning of 2021 our goal as a Board will be to really delve into that and see how we can be more efficient and make things easier to access for the folks who use our services. We want to make sure that we make things better for Franklin and for the entire community,” says Cushing, who has been with FCC for 18 years. 

“COVID has obviously turned everything upside down and has disrupted all of our lives, but we have a unique perspective: we get to see the other side of it, and I have to tell you how heart-warming it has been to see our community come together to make sure that nobody has to go without,” Cushing says. “We were scared to death when it started and we saw our numbers going through the roof. We didn’t even know if we would be able to serve everyone that came to us. 

“Every day we would post our biggest needs on social media and we have a contactless drop-off in the front of our building and every day when we would come in, it would be overflowing with the things we had asked for. We never had to turn anybody away, because people were so generous. This community is absolutely amazing. I think Stacie and Mike embody everything hat our community is and Cathy and Elliott – everybody made it possible, it’s such a group effort and it’s wonderful to see.” 

The Michael and Stacie Arpey Family Community Center /Franklin Community Center is in fundraising mode and need just under $1 million to complete their expansion campaign which would include costs for moving and potential renovations to the space.  For more information or to contribute to the campaign go to:   www.franklincommunitycenter.org.

Published in News
Friday, 31 May 2019 14:31

Sit-down Chat with Elliott Masie

Elliott Masie is on the move, setting the GPS satellites to dancing across the constellation.

Masie left his home in Saratoga Springs and landed in Florida to deliver a keynote address. Two days later, he was in Shanghai to give a speech to 3,000 people about how the Internet affects daily learning. Next week, he will return to the island of his youth and take his seat at Radio City Music Hall to watch the 73rd Annual Tony Awards unfold. Two of productions with which he has been involved– “The Prom,” and “The Cher Show” – have collectively been nominated for 10 awards. 

“I like to do different things. The two things that drive me? Learning and curiosity,” says Masie, who moved in the mid-1990s to Saratoga Springs, where he built the 10,000 square foot Masie Center - a facility that serves as an international Learning lab and focused on how organizations can support learning and knowledge within the workforce.

“The Tony Awards are a fun, big deal and it’s an honor to be nominated. We’re excited and we’ll be there. Tuxes and gowns. And win or lose there’s a party afterwards,” says Masie, who with his wife, Cathy, has been involved in theater as a producing partner for several years. 

“We’ve always been theater audience fans and along the way we thought: Oh, I wonder what it would be like to be involved in a production. We started modestly and it kept growing. We grew more intrigued. And what happens in life is you do one thing and you suddenly start to hear from others.”

Among their show credits are “Kinky Boots,” “An American in Paris,” and “SpongeBob The Broadway Musical.”

This year, “The Prom” has received seven Tony nominations, including Best Musical. The show tells the story of an Indiana high schooler barred from bringing her girlfriend to the prom —and the group of eccentric Broadway folk who infiltrate the town in an earnest, misguided attempt to fight the injustice, according to Playbill

Masie has taken his turn as a producer meeting fans of the musical at the stage door following performances.  “The reason ‘The Prom’  is so important to us is that every day there’s an LGBTQ kid who comes to the stage door to say ‘hi’ to one of our actors and who then whispers in their ear: ‘that’s my story too,’ and often they’ll say, ‘and I’m now telling my parents my reality.’” 

By his own definition, Masie is a researcher, educator, analyst and speaker focused on the changing world of the workplace, learning and technology.

He is the editor of “Learning Trends by Elliott Masie,” an Internet newsletter read by over 52,000 business executives worldwide, the author of 12 books, and over the past 35 years estimates he has presented programs, courses and speeches to more than 2 million  professionals around the world. With his wife, Cathy, he had presented annual learning conferences in Florida whose past keynote speakers have included Bill Clinton and Laura Bush, Colin Powell, Anderson Cooper and Michelle Obama, among others. 

“At The Masie Center, we are a research and a learning organization that looks at how employees learn to their jobs, no matter what the job is. How are jobs changing? What new skills are employees needing to succeed in the world?” Masie explains. “We’re best known for having explored and advocated that the role of the Internet and of technology could be one of the things that could help people learn.”

Masie is credited in some circles as being among the earliest pioneers to use the term ‘eLearning.’ In the mid-1990s, at the Saratoga Springs City Center, he staged the first-ever conference in the world on elearning.

“At the center (in Saratoga Springs) we host seminars and sessions, so probably every month we’ll get 30 to 40 corporate leaders from around the world coming in.”

The $2 million facility is equipped with workstations, tablets and a platform network providing learning examples from organizations around the globe. There are dedicated rooms that function as virtual teaching studios and allow for audio, web-based and broadband video collaboration, as well as a wide range of mobile devices, video cameras and new and emerging robotic technologies.

“I feel very fortunate that we’ve been successful in different places and also been able to make a social difference, support things like Franklin Community Center,” he says.

Earlier this month, Cathy and Elliott Masie gifted a $50,000 donation to the Franklin Community Center to support the center, whose programs and services provide, among other things,  a food pantry, a free after-school prevention program for city School District children, and affordable housing for low-income individuals, as well as assistance with furniture, clothing, and household needs.

Masie was one of the prominent voices raised against siting an emergency homeless shelter at the nearby Shelters of Saratoga properties on the west side, whose residential properties provide affordable housing options for those in need.

“We were one of the first new commercial buildings there when we built on the corner of Franklin and Washington and we did it knowing and being supportive of our neighbors being Shelters of Saratoga and Franklin Community Center, so we were excited about putting a business there,” Masie says. “It was an interesting and difficult moment when the proposal was made to put the Code Blue right there in that space. We’ve always supported the shelter, but that was not the best place to do it, for lots of reasons. Do you want to put a shelter that’s open to anybody right next to a place where there are some pretty strict and good rules with people in recovery and transition?” he asks. “At the end of the day what were excited about is that there are a lot of entities – including the shelter and churches and what we see going on with the Mercy House and for building some creative solutions and alternatives coming downstream. “

“What drives me is two words: learning and curiosity. I worry when I see folks who go into business on the assumption or the theory that they’re going to get rich. Some people do and some people don’t. But most of the people who have been really successful, they didn’t do it to get rich. They did it because they had a curiosity, a desire to change something, to solve a problem. I think curiosity and learning are the two key words. And you have to be a good business person and not give it away.”

His dream gig?

“There are really two things. The first is I would love to be a conductor on a railroad train. Someday I’m going to have to find a way to do it. I think that would be incredible. The bigger dream gig is to look at how you creatively solve problems that are in front of us which involves people having to cooperate, collaborate, communicate. Look at an alternative way of doing something; Is there a different way?

“I’m drawn to seek how we create things in a place where people can communicate and collaborate. Even if we disagree, we can listen to each other, we can resolve problems. I love addressing things that are complicated and complex. And I think the other piece is you want to help make the world a slightly better place.”


Published in News