KALAMAZOO -- Today, Family & Children Services announced it has raised $4.5 million as part of its $5.1 million Making Room for Hope campaign, a fund-raising effort to invest significant resources in child welfare and behavioral health services through upgrades and expansion at its 1608 Lake Street site.

The project will include a new Family Visitation and Learning Center, Outdoor play areas for children and families, Respite Youth Activity Center, and upgrades to its Counseling Center.

Initiated earlier this year, and chaired by community leaders Craig and Lois Lubben, Mac and Sydney Waldorf, and Don VanderKooy, CEO Emeritus, the Making Room for Hope campaign was launched to ensure that Family & Children Services continues to provide the highest quality services to vulnerable children and families in the region.

Demand for foster care placement and family visitation continues to increase as the State of Michigan refers fully half of children needing Child Welfare Services to the private sector. In addition, children with emotional and developmental challenges are in need of group spaces for social and emotional learning.

Overall, nearly 9,000 children and adults are served annually by the Agency, yet the primary facility on Lake Street is just 26,000 square feet.

“Unprecedented growth of Child Welfare services and a strong clinical interest in parenting education and trauma reduction for families experiencing foster care drives the need for our expansion,” Chief Executive Officer Rosemary Gardiner said.

As part of the project, Foster Care family visitation rooms and outdoor spaces will be built for active play with birth parent and child, Gardiner said. “The space design will reduce further trauma for child and family and encourage parent-child interaction and experiential learning in the aftermath of crisis. In this space, all parties have the opportunity for a new start as a family.”
The Making Room For Hope capital campaign project “has been an absolutely amazing experience for Family & Children Services,” Gardiner added. “Foundations and lead donors in the community really stepped up – enthusiastically. Our campaign cabinet’s high level of commitment to the project further fueled their generosity.”

“We started earlier this year with a need and a strong group of volunteers who shared our passion for the Agency’s work and by spring they were actively sharing that need with Agency Donors. In just a few months the campaign has achieved 88% of its $5.1 million goal. This speaks to the generosity of this community – and that is incredibly humbling. It is now our honor to invite all community members who believe that strengthening families strengthens community, to make a personal or corporate gift to Making Room For Hope so that we can achieve $5.1 M in as short a time as possible. Our communities’ children and families depend on the timely delivery of trauma services, parenting education, and social and emotional learning groups in nurturing spaces to promote healing. That’s what we do here at Family & Children Services as we have for over 112 years. We can hardly wait to get a shovel in the ground so that these family-like spaces can support services”.

“The Campaign got off to a great start with an extraordinary lead gift of $1 Million from the Stryker Johnston Foundation and several other sizable Foundation gifts,” said Mac Waldorf. “That lead gift demonstrated that key community stakeholders have confidence in the direction of Family & Children Services and the valuable programs it provides to our community,” said Craig Lubben. “And it inspired other gifts along the way.”

“We are now focusing our attention on completing the fund-raising effort and have the privilege of being in a position to help many in our community that need help strengthening their families. It is our responsibility to help ensure that every child has an opportunity to grow up in a safe and loving environment,” said Sydney Waldorf.

The Making Room for Hope campaign has two important objectives: To fund construction of new space and improvements of existing spaces at 1608 Lake Street, overall increasing the Agency’s capacity to serve our community and deliver the best possible outcomes for families in the region. To date, the fundraising effort has garnered the support of nearly 300 community donors with lead gifts.

“Raising more than $4.5 million for Family & Children Services is something that the entire community should be proud of,” said Lois Lubben.
“We now hope that the greater community will join us in embracing this campaign to help us raise the additional funds needed to complete this effort. Donors can support Making Room For Hope campaign by visiting www.fcsource.org or stopping by Family & Children Services to make a donation,” Mac Waldorf said. “We gratefully accept any and all gifts.”

Questions? Please call Rebecca Pierce, Marketing and Communications Manager, at (269) 207-4916.