Share Inc. gets $1 million capital boost

Donors pitch in to help organization that aids homeless

By Howard Buck, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 2, 2011, 8:53 PM

 

A shared effort by community donors will create a much-improved Share operations base.

Local businesses and business leaders have produced a $1 million capital fund for major upgrades at the Share Fromhold Service Center, on Northeast Andresen Road in Vancouver, the nonprofit group announced Tuesday.

Heading the campaign is the KMR Group Foundation, run by business owners Kate Jones and Marty Rifkin. The Foundation supplied $150,000 toward a matching grant from several anonymous donors, netting $500,000 total.

Share is a leading provider of services to the hungry and homeless in Clark County.

The nonprofit group has used previous grants and a large loan to transform the former Timber Lanes bowling alley on Andresen into its headquarters and operations center. The new money will promote modernization of the aging building and allow the group’s Backpack Program to operate in better conditions.

In addition, the KMR Group Foundation gave $150,000 more as a matching grant to help CDM Services purchase space from Share for a new CDM headquarters on Share property, next to the larger building. That donation resulted in $300,000 funding for construction.

CDM Services provides day and in-home services to elderly and disabled residents of Clark County.

Share will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 3 p.m. Wednesday at its hub, 2306 N.E. Andresen Road.

“It’s a very good thing, a very good thing,” said Rifkin, whose Northwest Natural Products firm has been a steadfast Share supporter. Once the remodeling is done, “it’ll be a good spot for them, and they will be able to consolidate” other Share outreach activities, he said.

Back in October, Share had secured a $250,000 grant and a $750,000 loan from the Meyer Memorial Trust to help start transforming the bowling alley.

The project had also counted on a pending $900,000 federal grant, but that fell victim to a new congressional ban on earmarks, leaving a large void. That’s where Jones and Rifkin stepped forward, said another Share backer.

“We had to really rally to build some private support to replace that,” said Mike Westby, head of Westby Associates Inc., which consults nonprofit groups. “That’s where Marty and Kate really came in and became instrumental” in leading a donor charge, he said.

Rifkin’s Northwest Natural Products itself helped to round up $200,000 for the Share capital fund. Each year, the firm provides hundreds of Christmas care boxes for local families. Share announced the improved Back Pack staging area will now be named the “Northwest Natural Products/Gummy Vites Back Pack Building Area.”

Also, Share’s executive director’s office will be called the “Mary Granger Executive Director Office,” to honor the late Vancouver leading philanthropist, who died in 2010.

The $1 million infusion marks the second of three phases of a facility makeover envisioned by Share, starting with purchase of the building. Diane McWithey, Share executive director, credited RSV Construction and Ron Frederiksen for creating an effective design plan.

“With over 1,000 back packs going out every month, there is an urgent need for this facility in our community,” McWithey said in Share’s written news release.