The Frederick Hutchinson Center’s $2 million capital campaign to expand the Belfast facility has reached the halfway mark, leaders of the fundraising project announced last week.
Since the campaign began last August, $1 million in private funds – from individuals, corporations and foundations — has been raised to help create a 15,000 square foot expansion that will house additional classroom space, science labs and other facilities critical to the center’s future as the University of Maine’s primary educational and outreach connection with Mid-Coast Maine.
Campaign leaders hailed the milestone, and noted that it had been accomplished thanks to the generosity of many.
“We’re delighted to arrive at the half-way point so quickly,” said Judy Stein, campaign co-chair with Jim Patterson, retired director of the Hutchinson Center.
“This has been achieved through the hard work of volunteers and the generosity of community members,” said Stein. “The community obviously accepted the words of The Citizen’s editorial board which said that ‘it’s up to us.’”
The Hutchinson Center fundraising effort is part of Campaign Maine, the University’s six-year, $150 million comprehensive campaign.
Praising the “literally hundreds of people” who contributed to the Hutchinson Center campaign, Patterson said there has been “amazing progress to get it over the halfway point. Now we look forward to trying to finish up within the next few months.”
The total cost of the project is $4 million, with the balance coming from a bond to be repaid with future revenue generated through the center’s expanded activities.
The Hutchinson Center campaign is being aided by a Unity Foundation $200,000 challenge grant which was awarded earlier this year and matches each dollar raised from other sources.
“Everyone has been so enthusiastic and supportive,” said campaign volunteer Betty Becker-Theye. “The Hutchinson Center has been the most positive development along the Mid-Coast area in the past seven years, and residents of Belfast and other Mid-Coast communities appreciate the fact that people can complete undergraduate and graduate degrees close to home. So much of what has happened at the Hutchinson Center has been because of the University of Maine, MBNA, and the Bank of America. People know it’s now up to us to raise the money to build the expansion.”
Many of the early gifts came from the Hutchinson Center’s Senior College, which pledged $280,000, said Stein. Those contributions likely set a positive course for the campaign.
“It provided momentum.”
Senior College has raised $184,000 toward its commitment, according to Mary Frenning, co-chair of the Senior College public relations committee. The 500 current members and the more than 1,000 former members of Senior College have been solicited for contributions.
“The Hutchinson Center is our home, so we have strong feelings about it,” she said. “It will be no surprise if we hear from many more of our members when they learn that the campaign has reached its halfway mark.”