Friday, November 29, 2013
After years of hard word, fund raising and a lot of prayer, the Mitney Project is about to move into its new headquarters.
A grand opening celebration will be held at the new center located at 1801 Front Street at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 10.
“We have worked really hard to bring this opportunity to Georgetown residents,” said Barbara Huell, the Project’s founder. “It could not have been built without the commitment of dedicated board members, partnering organizations, many individuals – some of whom donated their time and labor – and multi-level support from government agencies.”
Huell said the United States Department of Agriculture provided a matching grant of $99,000 toward the center’s purchase. An anonymous donor contributed $17,500 to support construction of the center’s medical office. It was Mitney’s largest non-member contribution, Huell said.
Donors contributed an additional $86,500 in cash and in-kind gifts to the Project’s summer fundraising efforts including an online video campaign.
“The new space will allow us to expand our work to help people live healthier, fuller lives. This includes center programs like the medical office, with its auxiliary healthy cooking and zumba fitness classes, and the entrepreneurial training classes,” Huell said.
The building has two commercial spaces where fledgling entrepreneurs such as those who graduate from the Mitney’s entrepreneurial mentoring program can start up their businesses.
“Mitney’s new community center has already created 5 new jobs and will create at least 5 more plus 4 new businesses,” said Alma White, Mitney’s chairperson. “We are using resources in the community to reinvest in the community, but we still need help to do this. Public financial support is critical if these efforts are to succeed.”
One way the public can support Mitney Center is to rent rooms for private functions.
“Rental fees support the building’s upkeep, programming and help pay for the renovation costs,” said Huell.
Mitney Center is located in Georgetown’s West End, home to approximately 2,000 of the city’s residents.
Programs at the center encourage participants’ development in five areas: education (career-oriented/entrepreneurship, financial mastery, remedial), cultural enrichment (dance and visual arts), health/wellness, safe environment and social development.
The center is expected to serve more than 500 Georgetown residents in its first year, more than 200 in the medical office alone. Fifty participants are expected to graduate from Mitney’s small business development programs and BOOST entrepreneurship camps by December 2014, twenty of whom will be youths between the ages of 13-18, Huell said.
“The Mitney Center is just the beginning. It’s a sun rising over West End,” says Mitney’s Executive Director, Leslie Di Mitri. “Through it, we will strengthen our partnerships with other community organizations and working together we will accomplish Mitney’s broader vision of a physically, economically and culturally revitalized West End which contributes in the best way to the overall quality of life for residents in Georgetown.”
To learn more about the Project, its programs and activities for youths and adults, and community center rental spaces, go to www.themitneyproject.org