Good Cheer celebrates good news on fundraising effort

The capital campaign thermometer in front of Good Cheer’s Food Bank and item donation center in Bayview took a significant jump up with the announcement Friday of a $100,000 challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a $25,000 grant from the Glaser Foundation.

That brings the fundraising total to $918,000 of its $1.4 million goal.

“This is great news for Good Cheer,” said campaign co-chairman Jack Hoover. “These grants, especially the challenge grant, give us renewed energy to reach out and request donations from within our own South Whidbey community,” he added.

News of the grants came shortly after the death of Dick Collins, a well-known consultant in nonprofit fundraising, who designed Good Cheer’s capital campaign.

“Dick was an amazing leader who fought a brave fight against cancer,” said campaign co-chairman Bob Olson.

“He cared deeply about Good Cheer and wanted to see this campaign through to the end. Our team wants to complete this campaign as a tribute to Dick, as well of course, to enable the food bank to meet growing food needs on South Whidbey well into the future,” Olson said.

Phase One of the campaign involved the purchase and relocation of the food bank from its cramped quarters at the back of the charity’s Langley Thrift Store to Bayview last October. The move came just in time to help families deal with layoffs at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, and though many workers were hired back, other South Whidbey families have taken their place and the number of clients keeps on growing.

“With ever-higher fuel and food prices, more lower-income working families are feeling the squeeze and turning to the food bank for help,” said Kathy McLaughlin, Good Cheer’s executive director.

“We are currently serving about

18 percent of the South Whidbey community, and expect this number to increase,” she added.

The food bank has also seen a 50 percent jump in its own food costs for the past two months.

Phase Two of the campaign is designed to help meet escalating costs through increased sales at Good Cheer’s main source of revenue, its Langley Thrift Store. It will be extensively renovated to create more retail space.

The two recent grants join a list of others such as the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound, the D.V. and Ida J. McEachern Charitable Trust, the Norcliffe Family Foundation and the Bob and Carol Dickson Foundation.

Additional grant proposals are under consideration.

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