BEND, Ore. - Supporters, friends and leaders of Bethlehem Inn gathered on Thursday, February 23rd at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, to celebrate a significant milestone in the organization's effort to raise funds for a new and larger facility.
At the event, guests learned that the Bethlehem Inn Transforming Lives Together Capital Campaign has raised $4,668,700, exceeding its goal of raising $4.5 million by March.
With this milestone achieved, construction of the new 18,600 square foot Family Residential Facility and Service Hub will begin as soon as the permitting process is complete, most likely March or April this year.
Construction of the family residence and service hub represents the first major step in a planned overhaul of the Bethlehem Inn’s facility. Currently operating from an aging motel, the new buildings will for the first time be designed to support the program the Inn provides for men, women and families making a transition from homelessness to stability. The first phase of construction will expand services to families by 100%, doubling the number of available family units from five to ten.
At last Thursday's event, Bethlehem Inn Executive Director Gwenn Wysling announced that Bend resident Heather Tennant Salvesen has been officially named Chair of the Bethlehem Inn Transforming Lives Together Capital Campaign.
Tennant Salvesen is a homemaker and active community volunteer. Her leadership and volunteer experience includes serving on the Board of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) as fundraising chair; Project and Property Manager of Helping Hand Housing (2007-2011); Habitat for Humanity partner and family mentor (2007-2011). She is also a past volunteer and partner of Saving Grace, Grandmas House and MountainStar Family Relief Nursery. Active as a philanthropist, Tennant Salvesen serves as manager of the Tennant Charitable Fund.
After being introduced by Wysling, Tennant Salvesen served as emcee of the campaign milestone celebration. "To say I believe in Bethlehem Inn is the understatement of the century. It is one of the most inspiring, practical, tangible, necessary, impacting outreaches in Central Oregon," she said. "Their building is falling down, but their people are rising up."
Tennant Salvesen also laid out the complete plans for Bethlehem Inn’s capital campaign. While the Family Residential and Service Hub is under construction, the Capital Campaign Council aims to reach the $5.3 million milestone to completely fund the first phase of construction. “The next $600,000 we raise will ensure we finish construction with no debt to the Inn,” says Salvesen. She adds, “It will take another $3.7 million to completely rebuild Bethlehem Inn, including a larger unit for single men and women, including veterans and elders. Our goal is to finish the fundraising as soon as possible!”
Wysling concluded her remarks with words of thanks to the Bethlehem Inn Board of Directors, the project team, and current donors. "We have such a great, strong, caring community here in Central Oregon," she said. "And it makes me so proud to live here and be a part of this remarkable shared journey."
Bethlehem Inn reports that 57 percent of the funds committed so far have come from individuals, businesses and community organizations; 43 percent has come from grants, both from private foundations and government agencies. Major contributors so far include the Bethlehem Inn Board of Directors, Central Oregon Health Council, the City of Bend, The Collins Foundation and Bend Rotary Clubs. The top individual gift exceeds $500,000. Two other lead givers committed personal gifts of $250,000 or more, and two committed at the $100,000 level.
About Bethlehem Inn
Bethlehem Inn is Central Oregon’s largest emergency shelter; providing shelter, food and case management services to over 1,100 adults and children last year; 70,000 meals were served to those in crisis. To learn more about Bethlehem Inn and how they Transform Lives with Shelter, Help and Hope please call 541.322.8768 or visit www.bethleheminn.org. Donations may also be mailed to Bethlehem Inn, P.O. Box 8540, Bend, OR 97708. Learn more about the Transforming Lives Together Capital Campaign here: https://bethleheminn.org/capital-campaign/