When the BEE Project took on the Broadway Circle Project, it did not expect to raise funds for $3.5 million to fill a funding gap.
However, just over a year later, the organization has full construction funding in sight and is beginning to think about breaking ground.
“When we started the project, we knew we had to raise some money, but we were told maybe $200,000 for furnishings and appliances, and now it’s turned into 3 .5 million dollars just for the building itself”, said Liz Larsen, executive director of the BEE project, who cited inflation and supply chain issues.
Larsen said she went into the $3.5 million campaign with no capital fundraising experience and was not encouraged by the consensus of those with experience that the time to collect so much money was unrealistic.
Larsen said the BEE project was considering a loan as a backup, but the uniqueness of project ownership made financing difficult and a loan never materialized.
Instead, the city of Minot this month allocated $1.78 million in federal grants left over from a water and sewer improvement project, bringing Broadway Circle one step closer to its goal if the department of Housing and Urban Development agreed to it. Ward County also approved $1.38 million in pandemic grants from the federal government to help fill the funding gap.
Local businesses and individuals also responded with pledges and donations, Larsen said. St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation provided $6,000 before the fundraising campaign even began, she said. Project BEE is working to raise an additional approximately $300,000 to ensure Mattson Construction’s work will be covered.
Project Bee is running a brick buy campaign where a donor can buy and burn a brick for $100. For $125 a brick, people can add artwork. The bricks will be used in the landscaping of a Broadway Circle play park.
“We sold a significant amount of bricks”, said Larsen. The campaign will incorporate bricks previously sold in 2011 by the BEE project’s predecessor, the YWCA, for a daycare project that had to be scrapped.
The BEE project has also organized fundraisers, such as a recent golf tournament.
Broadway Circle will include a six-unit family shelter and a 17-unit low-to-moderate income housing complex featuring bachelor, one- and two-bedroom units. Broadway Circle will house the Lord’s Cupboard pantry and a soup kitchen. A resource center will be at the rear of the property and a city bus stop will be on the Broadway side.
Broadway Circle will have leased commercial properties that will help support operational expenses.
The project is part of the city of Minot’s National Disaster Resilience Program. The program allocated $3.36 million to the family shelter. Approximately $1 million has been spent so far on incurred expenses. The city had worked with North Dakota Lutheran Social Services on the initial development of Broadway Circle.
In addition to the fundraising campaign, Larsen said, Project BEE welcomes donations, including gift cards, for Broadway Circle home furnishings and appliances. A link to a wishlist can be found on his website at projectbeend.org. Grants and donations received include those for bunk beds, mattresses, and maintenance and cleaning supplies.
Meanwhile, Project BEE continues its current mission of serving the homeless population and others in need in the Minot area.
“We were already increasing our budget quite significantly,” said Larsen. “So for a year and a half, almost two years now, we have increased our capacity and brought the staff up to where we need to be. We will need to hire additional staff for our family shelter.
The operating costs of nonprofit organizations are generally not eligible for grants, which means organizations must rely heavily on the community.
“People stand together” said Larsen. “For the most part people realize we have a homelessness problem.”