Capital Campaign
March Update
Even though the building is currently closed due to Covid-19 health concerns, we are still looking forward to and planning for the next phase of our Capital Campaign.

Thank you ALL for participating in the Capital Campaign process to date! As promised, it’s time to update everyone on the next steps as we move forward with Phase 3 of this exciting challenge.    It is evident that St. Mark’s continues to be committed to outreach and hospitality and is ready to continue supporting this important work.  
Joe Merlino, our consultant from the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF), presented the results of the Feasibility Survey at our annual meeting in January. The survey showed overwhelming support for the Capital Campaign (90% of respondents were aware that we are considering a campaign and 82% were also aware of some or all of the proposed plans). The Feasibility Survey was also designed to help determine our fund raising/gift capacity and help us prioritize items on the wish list. Based on the survey results, we are estimating that St. Mark’s can raise $495,000 in this capital campaign. This will not be enough to do all of the desired work. Of the projects outlined in the survey, the two that received the highest priority were (1) the renovation of the Hospitality Center and (2) the replacement of the elevator and the Wheelchair Lift. In case you missed Joe’s presentation, you can view it here .   

We think it is important to remind people why these two projects have such a major impact on our ability to be a hospitable congregation. About 30 years ago, St. Mark’s, under the leadership of Carolyn Brooks & Joy Creamer with the support of the clergy and congregation, arranged for the Hospitality Center to open its doors in our space. Now, more than 1300 homeless guest rely on the facility each year for its safe place of warmth, career guidance, computer skill training, and daily breakfast. The Hospitality Center uses a large room outside of Cunningham hall that includes the only bathrooms on the 2 nd  floor of the parish house building. Unfortunately, the women’s room is not handicap-accessible and it, along with the men’s room, are both showing signs of age.  
St. Mark’s has committed further to its neighbors in need through the vision of John Lucadamo and Dave Himrod to establish the Wednesday lunch program. That program, now under the leadership of Donna Richardson and countless volunteers, serves weekly lunch on Wednesdays in Cunningham Hall. This program is, in cooperation with St. Matthew’ Episcopal Church, run by volunteers, and serves between 30 and 50 people each week. Preparations are done each week in St. Mark’s kitchen. 

Guests to the Hospitality Center, staff, parishioners, and other groups utilizing space on the 2 nd  floor use the elevator daily to access the Hospitality Center, the Kitchen, Cunningham Hall and the Choir room. Unfortunately, our existing elevator is 60 years old and frequently breaks down.  Parts are becoming more and more difficult to obtain. In addition, our existing Wheelchair lift’s weight limit is too low for modern electric wheelchairs. Within the past year, this caused a breakdown in the equipment.  All of these issues limit St. Mark’s ability to be accessible and open for our own use and those of outside organizations.  

In February, the Vestry met to discuss in more detail the results of the Feasibility Survey and outline our next steps. It was emphasized that we wish we could do all the proposed projects but that, as expected, the monies will not be available from a single capital campaign. This is just like the outcome of the 2 nd  Century Capital Campaign undertaken in the 1990’s. Not everything that was dreamed of being completed could be. Bringing all these facets together, the vestry has made the following decisions:

Project Focus 
  1. Renovation of the Hospitality Center and Restrooms (as outlined in the Case Statement, click here to review the Case Statement) and
  2. Replacement of the Elevator and Wheelchair Lift (but no expansion of its size or capacity to access additional spaces/levels), and, 
  3. If additional funds are available, work will begin on the 3rd highest priority item from the survey – the Kitchen in Cunningham Hall.

Design-Build Firm
We will be contracting with Heidbreder Building Group, LLC . They were chosen out of 12 firms contacted, performed a walk-through to provide cost estimates, volunteered to have digital blue prints made of our historic architectural renderings, were highly recommended by others (including another Episcopal church in the diocese who recently used them for similar renovations), are willing to obtain building permits, have experience working with the challenges of historic buildings, and were willing to minimize wastes by trying to recycle or remove items for donation elsewhere. They also, as an organization, volunteer time, money and resources to needy organizations because they feel it is there duty to help others, not just make money. They wish to be a partner in improving our spaces and showed commitment and creativity in suggesting designs to our facility requirements.   
Consultant:
While the feasibility survey suggested that we can raise $495,000, some of these funds will need to be used to pay for Capital Campaign services from our consultant. We will continue to contract with Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) and have Joe Merlino as our consultant to provide guidance and support in our Capital Campaign.  St. Mark’s does not have the ability to manage a Capital Campaign project “in house”. We surveyed three other fund-raising firms to explore possible costs. Regardless of who we used to manage the campaign, the cost was 10% of monies raised. We chose to use ECF because much of the 10% will go directly to the Diocese of Chicago who, in turn, will pay ECF. Due to multiple congregations participation in ECF-led Capital Campaigns, the diocese was able to negotiate a reduced payment to ECF. This means that a portion of our 10% will stay with the Diocese of Chicago to increase the diocesan endowment which has dropped below $1 million. Therefore, we are supporting the Diocese through our efforts as well as receiving strong and proven support for the Capital Campaign. This is the only cost to St. Mark’s.

What’s Next? – Phase Three – The ASK
The Wardens and Pastor Debra will be meeting in the next couple of weeks with Joe Merlino regarding the next steps for fundraising and with the principals from Heidbreder Building Group, LLC. Our goal is to begin the work of getting more detailed plans that we can share with you for the upgrades to the physical space(s). Also, we will gain further understanding in how to organize various committees for the work of the campaign.  

The work of the St. Mark’s Capital Campaign is underway and we will need your help! It is time to start considering further not only your possible financial pledge, but also whether you wish to be on a committee to make things happen. This is a parish wide undertaking. It is and exciting time as we move forward. Let’s improve St. Mark’s ability to be accessible and hospitable to our current, and hopefully future, neighbors from the Evanston community.
  
At this time, we know that there are many, many questions – we have some too! – and want to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to have a one-on-one meeting to go over where we are thus far. Also, if you want to serve on the Capital Campaign Team, please let us know! Reach out to Rachel Easton, Senior Warden ( srwarden@stmarksevanston.org ), Seth Himrod, Junior Warden ( jrwarden@stmarksevanston.org ) or Pastor Debra ( rector@stmarksevanston.org ). Any one of us is happy to sit down with you and listen to your concerns, answer any questions, and, connect you with opportunities to be involved.