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Senior Services plans drive

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By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Senior Services in Winston-Salem plans to launch a capital drive in fall 2004 to raise $4 million.

The drive would fund the first of three buildings the group wants to develop on 10 acres, worth $1.7 million, donated last June by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

The first, roughly 20,000 square feet, would combine and expand operations now at two sites.

“We cannot progress and meet the community’s needs without a different and larger and better building,” says Richard Gottlieb, president and CEO.

Formed in 1974 to help the elderly stay out of nursing homes and live with dignity in their own homes, Senior Services has worked to keep pace with rapidly rising demand, he says.

Its annual budget, for example, has increased to $3.2 million from $300,000 in 1981, when Gottlieb was named CEO, while its staff has expanded to 78 from 12, and its volunteer corps has grown to 1,500 from several hundred.

Forsyth County’s elderly, more than 50,000 people ages 60 and older in 2000, are expected to total roughly 80,000 in 2020, nearly four times the rate of growth projected for the county overall.

The group leases 5,000 square feet in Tobacco Square on Oak Street off Cherry Street for its administrative offices, back-office support and staff for home-care services, lunches served at five sites, case management and helpline that handles 8,000 calls a year.

It also leases 2,000 square feet at Augsburg Community Center at Pilot and Broad streets for its Meals on Wheels operation, including the area where volunteers pick up meals.

Those sites cannot handle existing and growing needs for parking, programs, storage and meeting space, Gottlieb says.

Meals on Wheels, for example, delivers 670 hot meals a day, has a waiting list of 120 people and involves 1,000 volunteers every month or two.

Combining and expanding operations at the two sites would eliminate duplication of supplies and equipment such as copiers, and let more seniors and volunteers interact with one another and the staff, Gottlieb says.

Senior Services has hired Workplace Strategies to design the workspace for the first building, roughly 20,000 square feet, on the new campus at Shorefair Drive and 30th Street across from the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds.

Senior Services will study the feasibility of the drive and hire fundraising counsel.

John W. Burress, chairman of John W. Burress Inc., chairs the drive, and Vic Flow, president of Flow Lexus, chairs the building committee.

Separate drives will be needed for the other two buildings, including a second adult day-care Alzheimer’s center and a health and wellness center.

Two years ago, Senior Services opened an 11,300-square-foot Alzheimer’s center near Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, financed through a $4 million drive, that has seen a 150 percent increase in enrollment, with 225 participants last year.

Senior Services also offers corporate programs for employees caring for parents.

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