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Big donation moves IAM close to goal

Cook Cook

A church-supported nonprofit agency devoted to catching people who fall through gaps in government aid programs moved closer to breaking ground on new headquarters when it received an anonymous donation of $100,000.

"That put us in the position where we have just under $200,000 to go before we can break ground," said David Cook, executive director of the Interfaith Assistance Ministry. "That is really important because we said we need to be at 70 percent of our goal in order to move forward with site plan and preparation and get into the construction phase. Our total is $2.6 million but at $1.8 million we will be in a position where we'll not jeopardize our operation by taking too large a construction loan."
IAM plans to build a 17,000-square-foot building on 1.64 acres it bought in 2013 at 314 Freeman St. just east of the Blue Ridge Mall. The new facility will make it possible for IAM to consolidate programs under one roof, provide better work and reception areas for volunteers and clients, save money on energy consumption, expand storage space for its food pantry and clothing closet and add a community meeting room.

Seeks city, county grant
Like many other non-profit agencies, IAM is turning to local government boards for support. The agency has asked the city of Hendersonville for $26,000 and asked the
Henderson County Board of Commissioners to contribute $50,000. IAM is also supported by more than 80 faith congregations, individuals, business and civic groups throughout the community                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         "If we're in position to get to $1.8 million we can go to Cannon foundation and ask for a donation," Cook said. "It really breaks loose when we get to that 1.8 mark. We are also considering perhaps a targeted ZIP code mailing and we are aggressively now contacting local business. We have whole program where we will visit with some of our larger auto groups and some of the larger industries that have foundations."
The agency and the volunteers who work helping the needy and sit on the governing board have reached into their pockets first before soliciting money from others.
"The significant thing about this campaign is that almost a third of the funds we raised to date have come from volunteers, our staff and our board," he said.
The anonymous donor was not a volunteer but heard second hand about IAM.
"This individual told me he had a couple of good friends who were involved with us and had spoken well of what we had done here and felt it was a good cause to contribute to," he said. "He had no prior history of giving to Interfaith."
The agency plans to sell the 1970s buildings on First Avenue West.
"We'll sell it to liquidate our debt on the new building," he said. "We'd like to see something along the lines of affordable housing happening here of course. And we're in discussion with our partners on how we could make that happen."