A $750,000 challenge grant and a $500,000 corporate pledge have helped put the downtown nonprofit within $1 million of reaching its capital campaign goal. In an announcement Monday, Center called on the public to help close the distance.
The project is well behind its original proposed schedule, with construction now expected to begin in spring 2011, but given the recession, Center capital campaign director John Harlow said he considers the campaign’s progress a victory for the community.
“We’ve done the best that we could given the circumstances that we were in,” he said. “It’s taken a little longer. That doesn’t make the victory any less sweet.”
Center announced the public campaign in September 2009 and had hoped to renovate its Church Avenue building this year, but the nonprofit is still negotiating the terms of the loan needed for work to start, said Center president Jim Sears.
Funding for the renovation comes from two components: $18 million in federal and state tax credits and a $9 capital campaign. Harlow and Sears say all the necessary tax credits have been sold.
The final phase of the capital campaign will welcome even the tiniest donations, employing methods including mailing inserts, promotions at regional banks and “donate” buttons on Center’s website.
“The last million dollars arguably will be the hardest to raise,” said Bob Lawson, Center’s campaign co-chairman. “It’s going to take the entire community.”