BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — On February 1, two community members set out to raise $500,000 in support for Southwestern Vermont Health Care’s (SVHC) project to reimagine the former Southern Vermont College. They called it The Grateful Bennington Fund.
The fundraiser has collected $216,009 in funds and pledges from more than 150 donors so far. The group is grateful for each and every gift they have received, ranging from $5 to $50,000, with an average donation of $250.
“We are in the final week of the time we have to get this done,” said Michael McKenna, the fund drive’s co-organizer. “While we have received so many wonderful notes and a lot of support, we still have a way to go.”
“While we certainly appreciate the large gifts, smaller gifts are really special,” added David Newell. “They give us the sense that the support for the project is widespread among people of all backgrounds. This isn’t a project just for those with means. It’s for everybody, and it feels amazing to see support like that.”
Newell and McKenna see the campus project as a part of a long line of projects SVHC has undertaken to help improve the health and vitality of the Bennington Community. Along with the Putnam Block redevelopment, the SVC campus project is expected to help revitalize the socio-economic culture of the town.
“We were relieved that SVHC had purchased the campus and heard that so many of our friends and neighbors were too,” McKenna said. “It seemed like it was time to channel those feelings into a big show of support from the community.”
People interested in making a gift to the campaign or in learning more should visit The Grateful Bennington Fund online. Donations will be accepted online, by mail at SVHC Foundation, 100 Hospital Drive, Bennington, VT., 05201, and by phone at 802-447-5017 until February 28.