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Waterfront Center has financial setbacks related to COVID-19

Series: Coronavirus | Story 228

Last updated 6/18/2020 at 7:16pm

Edmonds Watefront Center

This article was submitted by the Edmonds Waterfront Center.

The new Edmonds Waterfront Center, whose construction was interrupted for six weeks this spring, and which recently learned that a major pledge is being withdrawn, is among those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daniel Johnson, CEO of the center, said the two-month interruption of the construction schedule, along with new COVID-19 protocols, added about $200,000 to the cost of the building.

In addition, a major donor, Operation Military Family Cares, said it will not be able to fulfill its $500,000 pledge to the center construction because of fundraising difficulties during the pandemic.

Taken together, they will require the center to raise an additional $700,000. The Waterfront Center has raised $13.6 million toward the total $16.5 million cost.

Johnson said the additional fundraising needs will not affect the construction schedule of the center, which is to open this fall.

"We are happy to be back under construction and pleased with the progress being made on the project," said board resident Gary Haakenson. "But this news comes as a big hit for us."

Mike Schindler, executive director of Operation Military Family Cares, which was the organization forced to withdraw its pledge, said, "This is the first time in our history we have not been able to fulfill a pledge. Several large organizations that were open to partnering on this pledge are no longer in a position to help. Like so many nonprofits, due to COVID-19, we are having to adapt. We will continue to support the Edmonds Waterfront on a program level."

Johnson responded to other questions about the senior center and its operation during the pandemic:

How will this news affect construction of the Waterfront Center?

There should be no impact on construction, Johnson said. "We have a $2 million construction line of credit that can be used if necessary, as a backstop for delays in fundraising. We are presently on track to complete construction in October."

How much do you have outstanding in remaining pledges?

$1,534,265 million

"We will receive an additional $850,000 from the state between now and August. The $684,265 in outstanding individual pledges represents gifts from 24 donors. Eight are Senior Center board members or staff. We are in regular contact with our donors.

"Even with the lost pledge of $500,000, we have raised $13.6 million and collected $12,065,735 million (89%) of those."

Do you anticipate any other donors will be unable to make good on their commitments?

"We have not had to write off a single pledge. We do understand that the pandemic has placed additional financial strain on our donors, and we will work closely with each of our donors to accommodate their personal situation."

Will this mean changes to your planned services for veterans?

"We remain fully committed to serving veterans and their families at the new Waterfront Center building. We plan to host the Hero Café for veterans in partnership with the Food Bank and continue our work with VFW and American Legion.

"In addition, we plan to provide in-office and telemedicine behavioral health services in our health & wellness clinic. Veterans will be welcome and encouraged to participate in the full scope of services offered at the Center."

How do you plan to raise the remaining money?

"We have $2 million in requests pending from before the pandemic. We hope those requests will be considered once the community begins to settle into our new normal. Community members continue to support our solar initiative, purchasing solar panels for $1,000 each.

"We will pursue foundations who are considering requests to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on area nonprofits. In the end, we anticipate most of the funding to come from individuals. We will not stop until every dollar is raised."


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