Share inching closer to new headquarters

Open house raises $202,000; charity still needs $1 million

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

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Share is well on the way to raising the last chunk of money it needs to finish remodeling a former Vancouver bowling alley into its new headquarters.

At an open house Wednesday night, Steve Hansen announced a $100,000 challenge gift. It was quickly matched by pledges of $102,000 by other individuals and local business owners. Those included a $50,000 gift by Marc Grignon on behalf of The Firstenburg Foundation and $25,000 pledged by Terry Murphy of Design Showroom and Ron Frederiksen of RSV Building Solutions — the contractor on the project.

That leaves $1 million still to be raised to complete the $5.4 million renovation of what used to be the Timber Lanes bowling alley on Andresen Road. It will become the Share Fromhold Service Center, in honor of the late Bill Fromhold, a Democratic state legislator from Clark County who championed Share, and who died of leukemia in 2010.

The new space will combine offices for officials and caseworkers, work space for volunteers and warehouse space for supplies and food. Renovation of one section is done: the Northwest Natural Products/Gummy Vites Backpack Building Area. That is a step up for Share’s ever-growing Backpack Program, which sends weekend food home with 1,500 local schoolchildren at 55 schools. In recent years the volunteer-driven program has been operating in cramped, borrowed, underheated space on Main Street.

The move also will free up critical shelter space at Share House, the downtown building that now contains offices, cafeteria and sleeping space for 30 single men. There won’t be any shelter beds at the new Fromhold facility.

“At the event, (Bill’s widow) Marcia Fromhold shared that ‘a community is measured by how it treats the neediest among them,’” said Share executive director Diane McWithey. “And the Vancouver community has shown, once again, that they value every man, woman and child, no matter their life’s circumstance. Thank you to everyone who has donated thus far to our campaign and to making the Share Fromhold Service Center a reality for our clients.”

The open house marked the second phase of a prolonged capital campaign. Last year, Share was counting on $900,000 from the federal government that was promised but then cut from the budget. Since then, the agency has been beating the bushes for money — signing up lots of business sponsors, community partners and individual donors.

For more information or to make a donations, visit http://sharevancouver.org.