LIFT-UP campaign raises funds for new building

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LIFT-UP of Routt County has kicked off its capital campaign to construct an 8,100-square-foot building for its Steamboat offices.

The building could cost between $900,000 and $1.1 million, of which LIFT-UP hopes to raise $500,000 locally.

LIFT-UP officials are appealing to the community to contribute to the project. The organization, which stands for "Life's Inter-Faith Team on Unemployment and Poverty," provides charitable assistance for people who are unemployed or poor and who have emergency needs.

In 2004, LIFT-UP served more than 3,000 clients, one-third of whom were children, through its food bank and emergency assistance program. It gives out about $150,000 annually in food and emergency assistance.

"Often, when you have an organization come forward with plans for a new building, potential donors have those 'why' questions," said Gary Haberlan, chairman of the capital campaign and a founding member of LIFT-UP's board of directors.

Haberlan and David Freseman, LIFT-UP executive director, have answers to those questions.

Currently, LIFT-UP's programs -- the food bank, administrative offices, thrift store and donation center -- are spread among three rented locations. The organization pays about $30,000 a year in rent.

A central, permanent location would ensure LIFT-UP's future, provide much-needed space, save money and make the programs less confusing to clients and donors, Haberlan and Freseman said.

"I think it preserves the integrity of our programs for the future," Haberlan said. "The consolidation of everything that we do is going to be an advantage for the community."

The new building would sit on a 1-acre lot on Curve Court that LIFT-UP plans to purchase.

LIFT-UP already has received $150,000 for the new building.

Of that total, $65,000 was donated by LIFT-UP employees, volunteers and members of the board of directors. About $50,000 came from two large gifts, and the remainder came from other advance gifts from the community.

The campaign also has received a $285,000 Community Development Block grant for the project from the Department of Local Affairs, contingent on several requirements.

Haberlan said he wanted to thank people for their past support and ask them to consider giving to "this project that serves so many."

If all goes according to schedule, construction would begin in July and be completed by the end of the year.

The organization's satellite offices in Hayden and Oak Creek will remain open.

To make a donation or for more information, call LIFT-UP at 870-0727 or write to LIFT-UP, P.O. Box 881145, Steamboat Springs, CO 80488.

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