Every new donation made to MennoHomes by the end of 2016 will now be matched by a group of anonymous donors, up to $250,000.
This means if the community donates $250,000 by Dec. 31, then MennoHomes will be $500,000 closer to reaching their overall goal for the Elmira affordable housing project under construction on Church Street East.
“We had a donor come forward who was pretty excited about the project and really wanted to get behind it but also wanted to encourage other people to get involved as well,” explained MennoHomes executive director Dan Driedger.
He says a small group of people from Elmira came together as a donor to MennoHomes wanting to help out, but they also wanted to encourage other people to do the same and raise a good chunk of change for the project.
It will be Elmira’s only affordable and fully accessible housing project. Occupancy is slated for spring of 2017.
“They came forward with a significant amount and then round numbers always work nice. So they said if we could get some other people to come forward to get it up to $250,000, and that was their encouragement for me to go out and talk to some other donors,” Driedger said.
This will cover roughly half of the remaining outstanding balance of their overall goal. He said it was important to be ambitious, but to set a goal that’s attainable as well.
“You don’t want to come out with a small match that really doesn’t challenge people,” Driedger said.
Housing that’s both affordable and accessible is hard to come by in the region. There are a handful of units in Elmira but they’re exclusively for seniors and the waiting list is long. The MennoHomes project will be open to tenants of all ages.
He says this MennoHomes project spoke to the group of donors, who wish to remain anonymous.
“I would say that a significant part of it is certainly what I would consider new donors to MennoHomes as well, not people necessarily from our traditional base, but people who are from the local Elmira community, really see the need. It really resonated with them, they recognized if they don’t step up and help to make it happen, who will?” Driedger said.
He hopes the community will take this challenge seriously and donate, knowing every dollar they contribute will be doubled.
They’d love to talk to people who also might not be able to give a donation by the end of the year but would like to make one in the new year or commit to a multi-year pledge.
“It would be lovely to hit our overall target by the end of the year. We want to be realistic though about what people’s needs are because this time of year there’s a lot of good work being done and this is kind of when most of the focus happens on fundraising.”
MennoHomes has been creating affordable housing in Waterloo Region since 2001 and Driedger says they’re encouraged by the support they’ve received from Elmira and the Woolwich community thus far.
“We just hope that people in the community recognize the building, it’s not an idea anymore. It’s under construction, it is happening. Their support is certainly welcomed and needed.”
Donations for MennoHomes’ Elmira project can be made at www.mennohomes.com.