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Hastings Family Service exceeds goal of $1 million

Amy Sutton, left, and Chris Koop hold a banner announcing the final fundraising total for the Hastings Family Service campaign. Submitted photo

by Jane Lightbourn • Staff writer

Hastings Family Service now has a permanent home in downtown Hastings and announced Tuesday that the goal of its Bring the Mission Home campaign exceeded its million-dollar goal, reaching $1,034,044.

Final costs of the project exceeded the goal by about $50,000, so the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation granted the final $30,000 as a match to help cover more of the total costs.

The search for a permanent home for Hastings Family Service began about eight years ago when a space needs committee was formed. Space was already becoming an issue and the organization knew it could better serve the community with adequate space. The Bring the Mission Home capital campaign was launched in January of 2011 with a $1 million goal to purchase and renovate a permanent home for Hastings Family Service.

Hastings Family Service has been serving the Hastings area for 44 years and has moved seven times throughout its history.

“Hastings Family Service is finally home, where we can better serve clients and customers, while also providing a safer environment for volunteers and staff,” Hastings Family Service Executive Director Chris Koop said.

The community rallied to help provide the funding for the purchase and renovation of the current location.

“This building became so much more than we ever dreamed possible because of the generous monetary and in-kind gifts from our community,” said Amy Sutton, resource development director. “The campaign was a leap of faith and while the dollars raised are paying for the purchase and renovation of the building, the ultimate goal was to free up the nearly $60,000 a year spent in rent to make it available for programs year after year.”

According to Sutton, Hastings Family Service has seen incremental increases in funding from events like Hastings Tastings and Gobble Gait, but those increases don’t come close to making up for the cuts in funding that have impacted the agency the past few years.

“This campaign was about sustainability, and ensuring HFS will always be here to serve the Hastings area communities,” she said.

It was also about serving people in a more respectful way while being as efficient and effective as possible with the resources entrusted to the organization, said Koop.

Hastings Family Service moved into its current location in February 2011, and the renovations were completed by Stotko-Speedling Construction over the next 18 months with many area businesses and individuals providing goods and services to make it all possible. The renovation included a larger warehouse and retail space for Rivertown Treasures, offices and a multi-purpose room for programs such as school supplies distribution, a kitchen/break-room area, a handicapped accessible bathroom, a dock and larger warehouse area with additional refrigeration/freezer space, and an improved grocery-style food shelf called The Market.

A personal goal for Sutton was to raise at least 25 percent of the funds through grants or gifts from outside of the community to help meet the campaign goal.

“Hastings Family Service already relies heavily on the community to make our programs and services possible, so we saw this as an opportunity to engage additional support,” said Sutton.

That goal was met and exceeded with nearly $365,000 provided through grants. Additionally, nearly $200,000 was given by Hastings Family Service Board members, staff and volunteers; and the business community provided nearly $135,000 and invaluable in-kind gifts and services to the project. A temporary recognition wall in the Hastings Family Service Donation Center lists all who made the project possible, and a permanent wall is currently being designed.

“Thank you to everyone in the community who helped to Bring the Mission Home to a permanent home where we can serve the Hastings area communities for many years to come,” said Koop. “Special thanks to our volunteers who helped us through the many moves and who give generously of their time, talent and resources every day. We are truly blessed to call this community our home.”