Capital campaign reaches milestone

Jay Ryan, president of the board for Good Cheer, raises the line on Good Cheer’s capital campaign indicator sign next to Bayview Road. - Photo courtesy of Laura Canby
Jay Ryan, president of the board for Good Cheer, raises the line on Good Cheer’s capital campaign indicator sign next to Bayview Road.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Laura Canby

Good Cheer board president Jay Ryan got to do something he has been wanting to do for a long time: raise the red line on the charity’s capital campaign thermometer to the million dollar level.

“It’s taken awhile, but we’re getting there,” Ryan said, referring to the voluntary hiatus the campaign underwent in November and December while Good Cheer conducted its holiday fund drive for vitally needed contributions to meet dramatically increased families accessing the food bank.

The campaign has now raised $1,012,000.

“We still have $400,000 to go to meet our goal and complete Phase II of the campaign,” Ryan said.

“We think we can raise another $100,000 or so in grants, which leaves $300,000 to be raised in our community. If we could get 300 people to pledge $1,000 apiece, we would meet our goal easily,” he said.

“Some people are making monthly or quarterly payments over two years to fulfill their pledges and that’s just fine. We know this is a difficult time for many, and we want to make it as easy as possible.”

The capital campaign began in 2007, shortly after Good Cheer purchased the former Masonic Lodge in Bayview. The first phase involved remodeling the building and adding a refrigerator/freezer wing in order to relocate the food bank and the nonprofit’s item donation distribution center. The added food storage capacity came just in time to help families affected by local layoffs, and then the general downturn in the economy.

“Without this new food bank, there is no way we would be able to keep up with the food needs of the hundreds of families turning to us for supplemental food at this time,” said Kathy McLaughlin, Good Cheer’s executive director.

Phase II involves opening up the second floor for expanded retail space at the Langley Good Cheer Thrift Store, the charity’s main funding source.

“This is a good time to do the renovation since building and material costs are lower and more people are shopping at thrift stores to save money,” Ryan said.

“We’d like to move more items out of storage and onto the sales floor to generate extra funds to support the food bank. An additional $30,000 to $40,000 in revenues can help a great deal,” he added.

The capital campaign had several setbacks in 2008 with the deaths of fundraising consultant Dick Collins in May and capital campaign co-chair Jack Hoover in December.

The economic recession has also had an effect on the size of contributions, officials at Good Cheer said.

“It may take us a little longer than planned,” said Ryan, “but we know we’ll reach the goal because it’s the right thing to do.”

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