Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The SH Cowell Foundation Awards $150,000 Challenge Grant for the Development of New Mid-County Community Center
The S.H. Cowell Foundation has awarded a $150,000 challenge grant to support an innovative public/private partnership that will result in a green, rent-free home for two of the community’s crucial non-profits, the Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County and Community Bridges' Live Oak Family Resource Center. The Cowell Foundation will match each dollar donated, up to $150,000, to the “Opening Doors to Community” capital campaign between now and December 15, 2009.
“Imagine every penny the Volunteer Center and Live Oak Family Resource Center raises for the next 30 years going directly to serving the community through programs; not debt service, or rent, or repairs,” said Karen Delaney of the Volunteer Centers. “Imagine 300 more families each year accessing essential services like health screening, parenting classes and health insurance enrollment. Imagine 1,000 additional volunteers every year helping clean up graffiti; mentoring at-risk youth; providing rides and home repair services to seniors; teaching parents to read and hundreds of other critical tasks that lead to a more vibrant, livable community.”
The $10 million cost of the new 7,000 square foot, two-story facility is covered by the Santa Cruz County Redevelopment Agency and is designed to fit the two agencies’ needs. Upon completion, building ownership will transfer to the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department (HSD). The HSD, a partner to both community programs, will execute a renewable 30-year lease of the building with both organizations at no lease cost to either one, contingent upon their raising $1 million for long-term maintenance. The two organizations are conducting a joint capital campaign, “Opening Doors to Community,” to raise the necessary funds.
“This is a public/private partnership of the best kind, one that will benefit local families, children, and seniors for generations to come,” said John Leopold, First District Supervisor. “The new facility will allow both non-profits to increase the ability to support families, seniors and youth while increasing community engagement and serving as a model example of how co-location and collaboration can enhance sustainability throughout these economic times and into the future.”
Environmental considerations are key to the new building with its design reaching for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification as a green building. Features include a solar energy system, heated cork floors and many windows and clearstories that make use of natural light airflow. The state-of-the-art solar panel system will significantly reduce energy bills, creating an estimated savings of several hundred dollars per month. Shared space includes a kitchen, grounds and a conference room capable of providing access and benefit to other neighborhood groups.
Elizabeth Schilling, Director of Community Bridges Live Oak Family Resource Center said, “For the last three years the Cowell Foundation has helped to fund pre-development work for this building project. The Foundation believes in the potential of the people of Live Oak and their investment has been deep. We are so grateful for this latest show of support that will help us complete such an ambitious campaign.”
To donate to meet the Cowell Challenge and maximize services to those in need throughout the County, please contact Karen Delaney 427-5070, Naomi Brauner 688-8840 x207. or visit the website at www.openingdoorstocommunity.org.