$350,000 in new donations put Children’s Center $400,000 away from goal

AUGUSTA – Children’s Center, an early childhood intervention and family support services organization for children with special needs, has received a flurry of new large gifts, putting the center within $400,000 of reaching its $5 million capital campaign goal. This, as the public phase of the campaign was launched in early fall, inviting members of the general public to help close the gap. The $5 million will expand the Children’s Center’s primary location in Augusta in order to meet demand, and eliminate a wait list of about 100 kids who could receive services at the center.

“The age range we serve is vital to kids’ development,” said Jeff Johnson, Children’s Center executive director. “To know that we have kids with special needs in this age range who could use our services if only we had the space for them is heartbreaking. Thankfully, we have some amazing businesses, foundations, organizations, and families in Central Maine who understand the need, and have given back. Now that we are in the public phase of our capital campaign, we are hoping that more and more people will be able to dig deep and give to this effort so we can see this expansion to fruition.”

The latest large gifts have come from Lajoie Brothers, Inc. in Augusta ($125,000); Pine State Trading Company ($100,000); The French/LaRochelle Family ($50,000); Sara Gideon ($50,000); and the Bangor Savings Bank Charitable Foundation ($25,000). Of these donations, $275,000 will leverage matching funds from the Harold Alfond Foundation. With these donations, the total amount raised to date is $4.6 million toward the $5 million goal. 

The public phase of the campaign was launched in late October during a virtual meeting. A video featuring supporters and family testimonials that outline the need was unveiled during the virtual launch, and is available here: https://youtu.be/C_BWdvQ-yzs.

Children’s Center will expand its current Augusta facility by 14,000 square feet, while renovating 5,000 square feet of existing space. The expansion will more than double the space and provide additional classrooms, specialized service areas and administrative space. The expansion will also create additional gross motor space, a stimulation-sensitive entrance and lobby, solar installation for improved energy efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint, and the state’s only Snoezelen Room. Ground should be broken on the expansion this spring.

“Earlier in the fall, we announced The $1,000,000 Harold Alfond Foundation matching grant challenge, which is a tremendous opportunity for people to make their own gift more meaningful,” said Johnson. “$275,000 of the recent donations qualify for those matching grants, meaning those donors’ good will be doubled. Today, as we continue talking about the public phase, we understand that it relies on a lot of people giving a little bit to get us to our goal. As we are in the season of giving, we hope that people in this community might find a way to dig a little deeper, and help the Children’s Center open our doors a little wider to offer services and hope to more kids with special needs and their families.”

During the public phase of the capital campaign, community members may donate on the campaign website, www.AChampionInEveryChild.org. Donations of any size are accepted, as are donations from businesses and organizations. Contact information is available on the website for any questions that might arise in the donation process. 

Children’s Center provides center-based services for children ages six weeks to six years old and outpatient services, including occupational therapy, speech therapy, outpatient mental health for children and families, and case management support to kids up to age 21. Annually, the Center serves more than 250 children between its four sites: Augusta, Farmington, Skowhegan and Waterville. All sites have waiting lists with Augusta’s being the largest at more than 100 children in need of center-based or outpatient services at any given time. 

Children’s Center offerings cover a wide range of services, including specialized programming for children with autism, complex medical needs and global delays; behavioral day treatment for children with a history of trauma, emotional regulation and mental health needs; and a recently established fully accredited Special Purpose Private School, allowing children in need of a specialized environment to continue learning at Children’s Center for their kindergarten year.

Children’s Center has served the Greater Augusta Area since 1967 as Mid-State United Cerebral Palsy, Inc. After several moves, the doors to the current building opened in December of 1978. The building, located on the corner of Alden Avenue and Worcester Street in Augusta, was expanded in 2001, increasing its capacity to 60 center-based children.

More details about the campaign, and opportunities to donate can be found at www.AChampionInEveryChild.org