February 8, 2012 // Local

The Franciscan Center announces relocation, $189,000 campaign

FORT WAYNE — The Franciscan Center announced Feb. 3 today that it is making a big move.

In mid December The Franciscan Center silently initiated the Jean Kelly Building Campaign to relocate the programs and services of the organization. The total campaign goal is $189,000 and includes the purchase of a building, an addition, renovations, equipment and a reserve fund. To date the organization has raised $50,000 or 26 percent of the total goal. As soon as funds are raised the organization will move into its new home.

“The building is located at 1015 E. Maple Grove Ave., only a few hundred feet from where we has been operating out of the former Sacred Heart Elementary School since 1999,” explains Sally Ley, co-founder of The Franciscan Center. “The new location first served as the Sacred Heart Convent for several decades before being purchased and ran as The Church of Fort Wayne in the 1970s.”

Recently vacated, the building is 4,500 sq. ft. with a 1,400 sq. ft. basement and 1,000 square feet in outbuildings. The building has already been purchased with the first lead gift to the campaign.

“It was very important that we relocate to a space that would not only allow us to continue our existing programs, but also continue to serve the community of our core clientele and volunteers on the south side of Fort Wayne,” adds Tony Ley, executive director, “and we praise God that this building was available when we needed it.”

The Franciscan Center is moving to save costs and to better serve its volunteers and clientele. “We will save over $20,000 annually just in overhead and other operating costs by moving to the new building. Just the savings in utility and leasing costs alone will have a total investment payback in less than 10 years,” notes Tony Ley.

In addition to this huge financial savings, the move will allow the organization to better serve its clients and volunteers. The building service areas are all on the ground floor, eliminating the use of stairs for elderly and handicapped clients and volunteers, as well as resulting in smoother lines with less confusion. Also, having all operations and staff on the same floor, they can consolidate employee and volunteer spaces, and therefore operate and communicate more efficiently with far less heavy lifting and moving. The new location will also offer the freedom to expand and change services and activities in the future.

The new building will be named for the late Jean Kelly, co-founder of The Franciscan Center. Kelly helped found The Franciscan Center in 1989 and was its “quiet strength” and backbone until her death in 2008. Kelly was more than happy to work backstage, exemplifying the Franciscan spirit of humility and love for the disadvantaged.

When The Franciscan Center decided on a name for the new building, the choice of naming it after Kelly was unanimous.

Sally Ley notes, “I counted Jean among my closest friends and confidants and I can truly say that The Franciscan Center would not be where it is today without her wisdom, dedication, prayers and financial support.”

The Franciscan Center has created the following list of naming opportunities to help reach their $189,000 campaign goal. Any gift is appreciated to help reach this goal:

• Gifts of $1,000-$4,999: The donor’s name will be listed on the dedication board in the main lobby of the new building for all visitors, clients and volunteers to appreciate their generosity.

• Gifts of $5,000-$9,999: In addition to the dedication board, the donor will also receive an engraved stone with his or her name in the new concrete walkway.

• Gifts of $10,000 and up: In addition to the dedication board and engraved stone, the donor can have the opportunity to attach his or her name to one of the rooms, offices, halls, or meeting spaces in the new building.

The organization is also looking for contractors and renovation experts willing to reduce aspects of their services to help reduce overall costs.

“Any in-kind donation of services and materials is as good as cash to us, and could qualify for one of the above naming opportunities,” notes Tony Ley.

For more information about the Jean Kelly Building Campaign and how to support the effort, contact Tony Ley at (260) 744-3977.

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