Goal is met, passed

A fund-raising campaign to help pay for improvements at Friendship Haven exceeded its goal by generating about $3.57 million, according to leaders of the senior living community in Fort Dodge.

When the ”Dare to Imagine Beyond the Dream” campaign began just over three years ago, the goal was to raise $3.5 million.

Bruce Vandagriff, chairman of the board of Friendship Haven Inc., said the effort was the most successful capital campaign in the institution’s history.

”I’m just ecstatic over where we got to on the capital campaign,” he said. ”It meant so much to the Friendship Haven team that people would step forward with that amount of money.”

Chad Hammar, the development coordinator at Friendship Haven, attributed the campaign’s success to the ”generosity among folks out in the region”

A capital campaign goal of $3.5 million seemed intimidating according to Julie Thorson, the chief executive officer of the institution.

”When we started this, the idea of raising $3.5 million was daunting, overwhelming,” she said. ”But I think there’s a lot of things that fell into place.”

The money raised through the campaign helped pay for $38 million worth of construction, including the River Ridge Apartments, John and Lin Simpson Health Center, the Schmoker Adult Day Services Building and the Welcome Center.

”These beautiful buildings won’t mean anything if we weren’t doing the right things in them,” Thorson said. ”The donors don’t give to bricks. They’re giving to the mission.”

Hammar said there were more than 500 donors to the campaign, including individuals, families and businesses.

Friendship Haven residents, employees and board members started the effort by pledging about $1.2 million, he said.

John and Lin Simpson, of Fort Dodge, donated $500,000 and committed to provide a 100 percent match for an additional $500,000 in future campaign donations. The new health care facility is named after them.

A $420,000 federal grant was awarded for the construction of the Schmoker Adult Day Services Building, but that isn’t counted as part of the $3.57 million raised by the campaign, Thorson said.