Capital Campaign and Capacity Building Project

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Diakonos, Inc.
City & State:
North Carolina
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

To compassionately serve men, women, and children in need by providing clothing, food, healthcare, and safe sanctuary; advocating for change and offering hope.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Since 1990, Diakonos, Inc. d/b/a Fifth Street Ministries has provided services in Iredell County to the impoverished, the homeless, the abused, and those without access to healthcare. For almost two decades we have provided housing, food, clothing, and other basic necessities. There was a serious need for a new building in order to continue providing as well as enhance the services we had offered this community for eighteen years. As well as providing a hygienic living situation with better utilization of space and more humane surroundings, a new building would provide a well maintained, homelike situation where people could move towards stability and healing. The current building had well served the needs, but years of habitation of a building that was never intended as a home made the band-aids no longer effective. Rotting window casings, deteriorating beams, a roof that leaked in numerous places, plaster walls that were crumbling and wooden floors that were buckled due to the roof leaks, poor electrical system not equipped to handle the load, plumbing that was not designed to allow for showers and incredible amounts of laundry are just to mention a few of the problems that were dealt with on a regular basis. Extremely high utility costs due to high ceilings, poor insulation, and wasted space, a temporary heating system that had to replace a boiler that finally gave up in 2005, no central air, but hit and miss cooling done with window unit air conditioners, all led to high maintenance and repair costs, costs that could go into programming and direct service to our guests.

The old facility from which we had operated for almost two decades was prohibitive, not only because of the broken down condition of the building but because of the layout of the building. There were no places that offer real privacy or security. We realized that if we were to ever offer any more than band-aid services, we must have a different facility from which to work. We needed more space to offer the opportunity for a more permanent change in how people are able to live their lives, improve the potential for a more quality filled life, and provide the skills for self-sufficiency through a longer, more structured program.

The new building is a brick veneer frame wood and metal structure that was constructed by a local building company. The final cost was $4,218,485 for the facility itself and another $236,244 was spent for furnishings, appliances, etc. The new building now houses the majority of our programs, providing housing (both emergency and transitional), food services, and other ancillary services that enable our clients to move on to a more stable and productive lifestyle. This project did not require the purchase of any real estate as we planned the new construction on our existing site. While the new facility has approximately the same square footage as the old, a better use of space and lower overhead and maintenance costs will allow for better use of funds. The central part of the building houses administrative offices, the soup kitchen and a day center where case management and job training are done. The north wing houses the Night Shelter as well as laundry facilities for that program. The east wing houses the Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing-Levels I and II as well as laundry facilities and a playroom for children. The building is a basic, no-frills, energy efficient, low maintenance building. This project was completed in December, 2008.

Organizational efforts began in the fall of 2006. A campaign chairperson was selected. Brig. General William D. Lackey (Ret.) accepted the job and carried out his duties as only a retired General could. Gen. Bill did an outstanding job “rallying the troops” and keeping momentum and enthusiasm at high throughout the campaign. March 2007 marked our official “kick-off”. We met our initial goal for Phase 1 of the campaign of $2 million. By December 31, 2007, our success reached $3,135,563. Today, we have $4,256,181 in donations and pledges, and they still continue to trickle in – even in this fragile economy! How fortunate we are to be a part of a caring community and we grateful for the numerous people who care about Fifth Street Ministries and those we serve! This campaign has proven their compassion and dedication to making lives better for those needing our help.

However…in order to make this big, big dream of a new building a reality, we had to have tools to help carry out our plan, and Microsoft was a big part of that process! We had to create printed material and other means to get our need across with visual appeal. Our monthly newsletter has always been a great source of support and we utilized that means monthly throughout our campaign to keep the need before our supporters. Monthly since 1998 we have sent out a newsletter that has been created in Publisher, our favorite program!We also created brochures to be distributed in the capital campaign packets (everything in those packets was created using Microsoft products) that were used to educate potential donors of our need. Also in those packets was a fundraising DVD that was created using Microsoft PowerPoint that could be viewed at the donor’s leisure or could easily be shared with large groups as we made capital fundraising pitches to audiences who might not be aware of the need that we faced. A former shelter guest who was employed with us at the time recorded music on his PC that was written and performed by a former employee and was used as the music on the DVD.Today we sit in this beautiful new building, so very close to the end of our capital campaign that we can almost touch it. We are within $285,000 of our $4.5 million goal. This is quite a feat considering the fact that another large capital campaign was going on simultaneously within our community. Our donor base has grown by 15% because we so effectively got the word out about our campaign. There is no doubt that Microsoft products contributed significantly to our success in this campaign. Now we are able to serve better the poorest of the poor, and we have a community that supports us greatly in this endeavor. We will continue to keep them informed and involved in coming years using Microsoft products, for even though the capital campaign is almost complete, we will need them for years to come. We’ve successfully built a good support system and donor base thanks to Microsoft. Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge and creativity in ways that make a difference in our world!

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery