The next time you attend a ribbon cutting, a grand opening, or a celebratory gala for a new or renovated facility, take some time to appreciate all the parts of the project the nonprofit has worked so hard on. You would be amazed how much time and financial resources the organizations invest to upgrade parts of the infrastructure we take for granted and sometimes never see – such as bathrooms, elevators, and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. While most components of renovations are not very glamorous, they are so vitally important for patron and client comfort and accessibility. Without this investment in those costly and critical elements, all our experiences at the theaters, museums, schools or offices would be less than ideal. And for some patrons and clients, without nonprofits’ continued dedication to providing access for everyone, they would not be able to participate fully at all.
“On October 8, 2015, we revealed our newly renovated space to the world after 17 years of planning, contemplation, and execution,” said Jack Reuler, Mixed Blood Theatre Artistic Director. “Because the elevator inspector hadn’t signed off, we needed the contractor to operate the lift until the permit had been approved. The contractor from Arrow Lift left his grandfather’s funeral to come to Mixed Blood’s grand opening. As the first three wheelchair users (who had been on Mixed Blood’s staff, board, and advisory councils for years) entered the second floor for the first time, the contractor, who had never been invited to a ribbon cutting, claimed he had never witnessed such joy and zeal, and the value of, and pride in, his own daily work was elevated exponentially that day.”
In the past 15 months, Propel Nonprofits (formerly Nonprofits Assistance Fund) has provided funding for 15 building projects, many of which included refurbishing or upgrading the infrastructure of the facilities. “We truly appreciate that nonprofits like Mixed Blood invest so much of their capital resources to provide accessibility to all, and are proud of the opportunity to partner with them in these projects,” said Kate Barr, President & CEO of Propel Nonprofits.
“It was a win-win-win for Mixed Blood and its stakeholders, where relationships, not money, are our currency, and revolutionizing access – in all its guises – is our vision,” Jack said. “Propel Nonprofits’ bridge loan allowed this project to be completed on time and budget. The ease of working with Propel Nonprofits staff and determining terms that worked for all was the culmination of years of unnecessary anxiety and toil.”
Kate added, “And I encourage everyone, the next time you attend one of those opening gala events, add a tour of the bathrooms and elevators to your evening. We always do!”