WOW! We can't believe it's been a year now since we held our Grand Opening for our Forever Home in downtown Cleveland. As many know, it had been a 1 year and 3 month process of cleaning out + major construction for this building that had been devoid of life for many years.
Purchasing this building was a major step of faith for our organization, but we knew this was an opportunity only God could have orchestrated. In spite of the main level of the building being completely full of anything and everything you could think of (see pics below), there were rental apartments on the top floor that were occupied. Because of this fact, we realized that that would allow our organization to be able to purchase the building. With that plan in place, we knew we would next need to raise the construction expenses to be able to restore this space.
At the beginning of 2019, we launched our Capital Campaign with a goal to raise $150,000. Funds we needed to clean out, restore and build out the space to fit our needs. Our organization had been operating for 2 years in separate side by side spaces and had outgrown both spaces a couple times over. We were more than ready to get this fundraising initiative launched and construction started!
As this space had been used by the previous owners as a storage space (and all those items came with the building), we spent the first of 2019 just cleaning it out. We had many volunteers spend weekend after weekend with us throwing things away & organizing all that we would sell in an estate sale. We went through a total of 7(!) 20yd dumpsters for stuff that just needed to be thrown away. When we had sorted and unpacked all the items in the building, we were a little overwhelmed and realized it was too much of a task for us to host the sale. We found a wonderful company to handle the sale for us and we couldn't have asked for better partners in Blair's Estate Sale. After a 2 day weekend Estate Sale in our building, construction was ready to begin. We had raised enough money to begin the restoration process.
Construction began. We started with the outside of the building and worked our way in. We loved the idea of cleaning and painting the outside of the building first so it would help bring continued awareness to the community about our organization. We knew the community would see the transformation and get excited about what we had in store for this building that had been just sitting unused for so long.
Although we had started our Capital Campaign with a small group of individuals, we officially launched the Capital Campaign at the end of April. We invited our community into the space to hear the vision for our new home and our organization. We had a local artist, Kathy Kist, create a watercolor of our building and we turned it into a 1,500 piece puzzle. Each piece represented a $100 donation that represented the $150,000 needed to complete our renovations. We asked individuals in our community to donate one (or more) pieces of the puzzle towards our Capital Campaign. All throughout the building we had our renovation budget broken down into puzzle pieces/prices so attendees could see how much each need cost.
We knew our Capital Campaign would be a fundraising initiative that would last throughout the year in able to meet our goal, but the kickoff to the Building Campaign was a great and successful start. We celebrated our 5 year anniversary that night and all God had done and was going to do through this new building.
Construction continued and we knew that this was truly a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line. We were blessed with Tom Cate as our Contractor to oversee the renovations from start to finish and we could not have done this renovation without him. Tom is such a well respected man in our community and his heart is gold. Tom's daughter, Amy, is one of our founding Board members so Tom has literally seen our organization grow from the ground up. We know that God is in the details of every aspect of our lives and organization and this was just another example of that.
February of 2020 was here and it was time to fully move in and then CELEBRATE! We planned our Grand Opening and we were ready to show our Forever Home off to our community and supporters!
Our Forever Home was move-in ready! We would still have some projects to complete after moving in (and funds to continue to raise), but overall the building was ready for us to make it home. The Grand Opening was more than what we had hoped for. It was an all day event where so many of our supporters, old & new, showed up to tour our new home and hear about all we had planned for this space! We truly felt supported and cared for in this big transition for our organization.
We entered 2020 with much hope and anticipation as we moved into our Forever Home. We had big plans for the year and for our organization, but we had no idea what the year would hold. In spite of all the past year brought, we saw God's continued faithfulness and hand guiding & providing for our organization. We have even been able to add 6 new women to our program this past year! As we enter into this new year of 2021 and celebrate our 1 year anniversary in our Forever Home, we can only trust for God's continued care and provision. We are truly grateful for those who give financially, serve, pray and support our organization and women. We cannot carry out our mission without YOU! Whether it's signing up to give monthly, annually, or a one time gift, we covet your support. As we celebrate all God has done in our organization and look to this coming year, we ask you prayerfully consider coming alongside our organization financially this new year. We have big dreams for women in our program and community and we ask you help us make these dream & plans possible this year.
PROJECT FREE 2 FLY FOREVER HOME RENOVATION TEAM
Founder & CEO, Project Free 2 Fly
Creative Director, Project Free 2 Fly
CAPITAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
Project Free 2 Fly Board of Directors & Special Committee Members
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen".
PROJECT FREE 2 FLY 2019-2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
KIM BROOKS, ABBEY DUNCAN, KEENON HULTON, DONNA JOHNSON KENDRA RUTLEDGE, CAMERON SEDGWICK, AMY TIPPENS, BRENDA VOYTIK
SPECIAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS
TAMI HICKS, DAVID JOHNSON, LISA TURNER
SPECIAL THANKS TO
GOODAKER PLUMBING, TIM IVEY, STEVEN JOHNSTON, MCCAY ELECTRICAL, NAABCO ELECTRIC, KYLE TIPPENS, JOHN BIXLER and WHOLESALE SUPPLY