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Bigger donations sought by Monmouth Senior Center

MONMOUTH -- Volunteers for the Friends of the Monmouth Senior Center have raised almost $50,000 in one year to expand the senior center facility via a combination of pie sales, auctions and other fundraisers.

December 05, 2012

MONMOUTH -- Volunteers for the Friends of the Monmouth Senior Center have raised almost $50,000 in one year to expand the senior center facility via a combination of pie sales, auctions and other fundraisers.

It's an impressive feat and one the group hoped would warrant large contributions from foundations and granting agencies before the end of 2012.

That hasn't been the case thus far.

The Friends applied for eight grants valued between five and six figures. Some grantors have denied those requests, while others have opined there is still work to be done.

The general feedback has been that the senior center needs more community support in the form of substantial gifts -- those giving $1,000 or more, said Dianne Nordyke, a Friends member.

"We were kind of blown away," Nordyke said. "They all said the same thing -- 'it's a good project, but you're not ready yet.'"

The seniors are now reaching out to area businesses, community groups and private citizens looking for a good cause to give to during the holiday season and beyond.

"This isn't just a senior center, it's a community center," Nordyke said.

Patronage at the facility off Warren Street has grown exponentially during the last several years, with visitors from across Polk County, not just Monmouth. It's expected some 15,000 will visit by the end of 2012.

The Friends are trying to add another 2,500 square feet, with classrooms, bathrooms and an upgraded kitchen. Total costs are projected at $800,000.

Nordyke said members will focus on securing major gifts. Much of what's come before have been donations or purchases under $50, with just a handful of more than $500.

"We're still in 'education mode' about soliciting gifts," Nordyke said. "If we can achieve what the agencies want us to, at a minimum, we'll be able to reapply for the grants." Volunteers hoped to have enough money to break ground by spring 2013. They're now shooting for fall.

"To us it felt like what we raised a nickel and dime at a time should be worth more," Nordyke said.

You Can Help

* The Friends of the Monmouth Senior Center is looking for parties interested in gifting $1,000 or more toward the expansion of the Monmouth Senior Center, whether in pledges or building materials. For more information: Marie Kristiansen, 503-838-4361; Dianne Nordyke, 503-580-7830.

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