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Building a Bridge

Artist's rendering of the bridge

Artist's rendering of the completed bridge

Bridges of Hope is building a bridge.

Yes, a physical bridge.

This fall we established a new partnership with Northland Arboretum to build a walking bridge for one of its trails. We have a year-end $60,000 funding gap to help families in crisis, and the Arb has walking trail that needs a bridge to span a stream–both organizations had a gap in need of bridging.

A few weeks ago, some of our board and staff members were trying to come up with an idea about how to visually represent our Fall Campaign goal–and more importantly–the community’s progress toward closing the year-end gap. Then one of our board members spoke up, saying, “what if we built an actual bridge?”

He was almost laughed out of the room. We were only two weeks away from November: to even think of such a project we would need donated materials, a design, someone to build the bridge, a place for the bridge to go…the list went on, and it just seemed too big. But then, we decided to turn it into a challenge: we gave ourselves until the end of the week to come up with all of the necessary parts of the plan. After that, it would just be too late to make this idea a reality.

What happened was almost magical–well, a little magic and a lot of local cooperation and  generosity.

It turned out the Arb needed a bridge. A place for the bridge to go: check.

Next up, a design and someone to build the bridge: we called Kevin Littman–one of our board members and Operations Manager at Nor-Son. Design: check. Builders: check.

Then we were connected with Larry Geschwill from Simonson Lumber, who agreed to donate all of the lumber and materials for the bridge. Materials: check.

We needed some way to promote and showcase this bridge project, so we worked with Ron Morris at Insty Prints (and, as it turned out, Board chair of the Northland Arboretum), and within a few days, we had banners and a poster. The Northland Arboretum had a trailer that we could build the bridge on, and our landlord, CMA Management, agreed to let us park it outside Common Goods.  All the loose ends: check.

Oh yeah, our deadline of pulling this all together by the end of the week: check!

The Arboretum trailer with the banner

The plan is to build the bridge in sections, right outside Common Goods. As we make progress toward our goal, in $10,000 increments, a new section of the bridge will be built. It will act as a visual representation of the progress you help us make toward our $60,000 goal (similar to a fundraising thermometer, but cooler!).

We are so grateful for the generosity of all of our local partners who came together to make this idea actually happen, in such a short time!

On November 1, just two weeks after the idea for the bridge first materialized, we held a kick-off event. You can watch a clip from Lakeland News below:

We are so glad to be working together with an organization like Northland Arboretum. Dale and the folks at the Arb are such a vital part of this community, and it’s great to forage a new partnership that will improve the experience of the people who use the trails at the Arb.

The local partnerships

The bridge will be donated to The Arb at the end of the campaign. Thanks to the generosity of Nor-Son and Simonson Lumber, the bridge WILL NOT cost Bridges of Hope or the Arb a dime!

Want to get involved? You can help bridge the gap by…

  1. Making your gift today or on Give to the Max Day (Wed, November 16), when your online gift will be doubled, up to $10,000!

  2. Set up a recurring donation. $25/mo supports two families over the course of a year.

  3. Visit Common Goods to see our progress on the bridge.

  4. Pray for us. Pray for our board, staff, and the families we serve; and pray we are able to eliminate our year-end funding gap.

  5. “Like” us on Facebook and visit our website often to monitor the Campaign’s progress.

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