Over 200 individuals crowded into the offices of United Way of St. Johns County, as the organization and St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce welcomed all members of the community - government officials, business owners, volunteers, partner nonprofits and local residents to the Renovation Celebration on September 27.
"At United Way-SJC our work is focused outside our walls, as it should be," said Chairman of the Board Bobby Crum. "It was apparent that it was time to invest in our infrastructure if we were to increase our impact. A combination of multiple years of delayed repairs, hurricane damage from Irma, staff growth and basic office needs made renovation inevitable. With the support of our community and partners, we were able to take this important step."
Outside repairs addressed exterior leaks, gutters and roof issues. The building was sealed and professionally painted. Landscaping was donated, new signs were hung and a new door welcomes those entering from the parking area. Inside, removing walls allowed for natural light to enter the building and space for collaborative work. Worn flooring was removed and walls were repaired and painted. The new ADA compliant restroom was installed and a fresh coat of white paint created the illusion that the ceilings were raised.
There have been many partners that have secured success for this renovation. Contributions ranged from the donation of temporary office space during construction by Flagler College to grants from Rotary Club of St. Augustine. Just over 80 percent of the funds have been raised for this project, the balance, up to $20,000 is matched by the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida. Those wishing to make a contribution to this capital campaign can text RENO to 40403 or visit unitedway-sjc.org/donate.
"Each day that I have entered the office since we started this process, my heart has lifted. Each member of our staff is overjoyed that we now have an efficient, safe, and yes, attractive work space," said Melissa Nelson, President and CEO. "At United Way, our work is rewarding but it is also sometimes emotionally challenging. Our renovated space inspires us to continue our fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. We can't thank the community enough for being part of this effort."