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Interact meets funding challenge

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. – Bringing it nearly halfway to its goal of raising $5 million to create a one-stop center for children and families who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, Interact has secured a $250,000 challenge grant by raising $2 million.

The Stewards Fund in Raleigh made the challenge a year ago when Interact kicked off its three-year campaign, which will repay a loan from Wachovia to purchase the building that had been home to YWCA of the Greater Triangle, and to renovate the facility and create an endowment to maintain it.

Interact on Jan. 31 closed its purchase of the 55,000-square-foot building at 1012 Oberlin Road for $3.8 million, says Adam Hartzell, executive director.

Interact now is working with architect Rhonda Angerio of Angerio Design on a construction schedule, with an opening expected this fall, he says.

Interact also has sold its 9,000-square-foot building at 612 Wade Avenue for $1.1 million to Philanthropic Advisory Group, a consultancy led by Tom McGuire and Bert Armstrong.

Interact will lease its current quarters from Philanthropic Advisory Group until the former YWCA facility is ready, using the proceeds from the sale for lease payments, to pay off its previous mortgage on the building and other costs during the transition, and will put into the campaign any funds that remain, Hartzell says.

The center that Interact will develop at its new facility will expand its current crisis services by adding programs designed to address the longer-term needs of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Interact plans to provide those services mainly through partnerships with other organizations.

YMCA of the Triangle, for example, will lease 18,000 square feet, including a pool and activity space it will use to run after-school and summer-day-camp programs.

Those programs will be available to the children of mothers served by Interact, solving what Hartzell says has been a big challenge for the agency in providing those services.

And YWCA of the Greater Triangle will maintain a 1,000-square-foot office in the new Interact facility for its Women In Transition program, offering services such as parenting classes, screenings for breast cancer and heart disease, and possibly vocational training and housing-referral resources.

Recent donors who helped the campaign meet it challenge include:

* N.C. Housing Finance Agency, $500,000

* Sunshine Lady Foundation, $50,000

* Nationwide Foundation, $42,000

* RBC Centura, $40,000

* A.J. Fletcher Foundation, $20,000

Co-chairs for the campaign are Josh Stein, senior deputy attorney general in the state Attorney General’s Office, and Christine Young, area vice president and Triangle area executive for First Citizens Bank.

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