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Library blitz hits $26,000

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The “Building for the Future” fundraising campaign’s “Drive for 35” phone blitz headed into its final day today with only $9,000 to go after seeing pledges totalling $7,000 yesterday.

Campaign chair Mark Kowalchuk said this morning they’ve now reached $741,000—moving ever closer to the campaign goal of $750,000.

He noted he’s “confidently hopeful” that target will be met, if not by 5 p.m. today, then by early next week.

“There will be some momentum from the blitz that will carry over the weekend into next week,” reasoned Kowalchuk, adding it’s likely the final fundraising total won’t be known until the end of next week as more and more residents, prompted by phone calls and the campaign as a whole, fill out pledge cards and bring them down to the Fort Frances Public Library or mail them in.

Campaign volunteers will continue to call area residents until 5 p.m. today asking if they’d like to make a pledge towards the new library and technology centre here.

Kowalchuk said he and the other volunteers won’t necessarily be able to contact everyone in town by the end of the day, so those who want to give shouldn’t wait around for a phone call—they can make their way to the Fort Frances Public Library and fill out a pledge card in person.

As for the phone calls they have made, Kowalchuk and his team have been encouraged by the feedback they’ve been getting.

“People we’re talking to during the blitz had already made their decision to give. Some of them made that decision when the original mailing happened a year-and-a-half ago and they just didn’t get to it,” he remarked.

“Others had made a decision to make a donation and then upped them, and that’s what really blew us away—that folks went above and beyond what they originally thought they would do.

“I think it has to do with the groundswell with the blitz itself and the fact we are so close—people are making that effort to make sure we get past that $750,000.

“Even if we don’t hit the mark by 5 p.m. today, I think it’s realistic to probably see more money come in over the weekend, maybe even as late as Monday or Tuesday, to see us pass that $750,000,” he added.

Kowalchuk admitted not everyone he and the other volunteers have talked to have wanted to donate, but those phone calls proved to be constructive nonetheless.

“Not everybody that we called were in support of the library, not everybody that we called made donations or pledges. The ones that had questions and wanted to ask them, I think we gave good answers to.

“And I know in several conversations that I had, people said, ‘I have a better understanding of why you’re building where you’re building, the process you’re going through,’ and some were amazed that we’ve been at this 14 years.

“It’s not just a flash in the pan that we decided we were going to build a library,” Kowalchuk stressed.

“The conversations that we tended to have were really quite enlightening,” he said. “We didn’t convince everyone they should give, nor did we expect to. But the ones that were willing to ask questions and go beyond the appeal we were making to them, came away a little bit more informed than before we called.”

Donations to the “Building for the Future” campaign can be small or large, in a lump sum, or spread over three, four, or five years—every penny helps to move the new Fort Frances Library and Technology Centre that much closer to construction.

Payment options, like Mastercard, VISA, and automatic deductions, are available. As well, all donations over $25 will be issued a tax receipt.

Donors who give $500 or more, or in memory or honour of others, will be acknowledged on a donor wall in the new library.

The Fort Frances Library and Technology Centre building committee is working on a timeline to proceed to tender in January to enable construction to begin in early spring.

It will be a 13,770 sq. ft., single-storey structure located at the corner of First Street East and Reid Avenue, adjacent to the Memorial Sports Centre.

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