by Max Brantley
The Union Rescue Mission has received a $450,000 challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation toward a $3 million drive to build a new mission on Confederate Boulevard, close by the old mission that has been acquired by the city of Little Rock for its day center for the homeless. (An issue that has been somewhat in the news of late.) The money also would remodel the women's shelter on Park Street.
Union Rescue has been on a long quest since an earlier plan to refit the old Dillard's building on Capitol Avenue for the shelter fell through several years ago. That building has since been rehabilitated substantially for state use.
The details of the current drive and gift:
The Mabee Foundation, a nonprofit corporation formed in 1948 by Mr. John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee, has issued a challenge grant of $450,000 to the Union Rescue Mission $3 million campaign, “CHANGING LIVES…STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES”, to help in the construction of a 14,000 sq. ft. men’s facility at 2921 Confederate Blvd and remodel the Mission’s women’s facility at 823 S. Park. The purpose of the Mabee Foundation is to aid Christian religious organizations, charitable organizations, and institutions of higher learning. “The Mabee Foundation gives toward the completion of a campaign,” shared Dr. William D. Tollett, Executive Director. “The grant is intended to serve as a challenge to our donors and community to help us complete fundraising efforts toward the building of this new facility.”
The current men’s facility was built in 1929 and the Union Rescue Mission took possession of the facility in 1946. As the needs of the homeless and addicted increases in Central Arkansas, the Board of the Union Rescue Mission realized the facility was no longer adequate to meet the ever-increasing needs. “The current men’s facility was
built when the mission was used to serve only the homeless and our programming did not include 9 month residential recovery programs. The new facility would allow us to provide a state-of-the-art facility to meet the needs of 78 homeless, 58 recovery clients and 38 work program clients.” continued Tollett.
Amenities of the new handicapped-accessible facility includes sleeping quarter for the mission’s three programs, modern bathrooms, laundry facilities, multi-purpose multi- media room for dining, class room instruction, and chapel services. “The proposed new men’s facility will profoundly influence the Union Rescue Mission in a number of ways,”
said Dr. William Tollett, Executive Director. “It will become a place for men to find hope restored and their lives rebuilt.
Not only will the Union Rescue Mission clients benefit from the new facility, the proposed men’s facility will allow the mission to expand its outreach to Central Arkansas and the 34 counties the mission serves.
The $450,000 Mabee grant has a matching component and completion timeframe attached to the offer. The Union Rescue Mission has one year to raise the funds through pledges and donations. The grant money will
be given once the funds and/or pledges have been received. “We have until December 31, 2012 to raise an additional $1 million to complete the campaign, and if we are successful we will receive the Mabee grant.”
Tollett sees the challenge grant as a great incentive to churches, corporations and friends of the Mission. “The Mabee Foundation issues challenge grants to help organizations complete projects. This grant will be a significant shot in the arm to our current campaign to build a new men’s facility and remodel our women’s facility,” said Tollett. “A new men’s facility will help the Mission move forward in a significant way as we strive to touch the lives of the last, least and lost in Central Arkansas with a message of hope and restoration.”
“When I speak with donors, I share that financial gifts of any size can make a difference. This is a perfect time to join the campaign to develop a cutting-edge facility for the community,” said Tollett.
In order to meet 21st century needs, the Union Rescue Mission has developed a long- range plan and a vision that has met with the unanimous support of the mission’s board of trustees. A new men’s facility is part of this strategic plan for the Mission.
“The growth of the Union Rescue Mission has come about as a result of God’s favor, the hard work of our personnel and the generous support of those who believe in what we are doing,” continued Tollett. “Completion of a new facility will help equip a new generation of future leaders who remain dedicated to their historic mission and mission motto to provide “Restored Hope and Rebuilt Lives.”
Aaron Ruby, of Ruby Architects, Inc., is the architect employed by the Union Rescue Mission for the project.