Michael Campbell came to Tucson in 1982 to work as a lighting designer for the UA, but it's his work over the past 28 years with Coldwell Banker that has led him to his position as board president of the Hearth Foundation. The nonprofit provides low-income housing for homeless women and children. As it approaches its 25th anniversary, the foundation is going through some interesting changes. For more information, visit www.thehearthfoundation.or.
Tell me about the 25th-anniversary celebration.
We've been planning for almost a year to do this gala in October for 250 people at the Westward Look at $125 a plate, with cocktails, dinner and dancing. There will be an exhibition of ballroom dance and costumes from the UA (School of Dance), and a nine-piece band made up of community members, including Realtors and builders, is going to perform. I would say our goal is to make about $12,000 from the sale of tickets, to provide an entertaining night, and to recognize our past and where we want to go in the future.
Where is the Hearth Foundation going?
We want to expand the Hearth Foundation on a statewide basis. That's part of our long-range planning goals, to expand on a larger scale than Pima County.
Because of the need. We run this organization from a business standpoint, but we recognize the importance of building more low-income housing for people in Tucson and other communities.
What are you working on right now?
We want to build 12 to 16 units in a gated, secure and safe development. We're working with La Frontera, and we're putting together a grant. Eventually, we'd like to do more of these kinds of projects in rural communities.
How did you start out?
We originally started as a collaborative effort between the real estate community and a conglomeration of churches in the community.
What was the organization's first project?
The purchase of our Prince Road property for short-term transitional housing for women and children in crisis. We own it. It started out for Shalom House, which is now New Beginnings, which runs as a 30-to 90-day transitional-housing project. There are almost 10 apartments. Our next project was the purchase of duplexes on King Road. Right now, they are long-term transitional. We negotiated an agreement with Our Family Services.
Are any projects happening right now?
We're literally waiting week to week to get word that we can start construction on a project. We were awarded $718,986 from the state Department of Housing. It's structured like a loan, but no monthly payments, and as long as we stay in compliance, it is forgiven in 15 years. The plan is to completely gut and renovate our duplexes, and build on two lots on the King Road property, and eventually include a community center.
When do you expect to break ground?
We've already signed paperwork, and the process has been going on for months now. We are waiting for direction from the state Department of Housing to sign the paperwork and let us know when we can break ground. We are ready.
How is the Hearth Foundation run?
We have one paid staff member who is an administrative coordinator, but for the last three or four years, we've been in volunteer mode. Three years ago, we hired our first staff person, and she coordinates events and works primarily with me and the executive committee.
It sounds like the plan with the King Road property is to start providing direct services.
Yes. We are developing a program for life skills. It will be on a voluntary basis: classes on cooking, seminars on dressing for jobs, how to get an interview. We're also developing a rental-assistance program. There are certain requirements, but if (people) can't meet all, but meet some, we want to be able to assist them with the rent.
Where do you get your funding?
At St. Philip's Plaza, we have the (Rebuilding Lives) One Brick at a Time campaign. You purchase an engraved brick, and it's placed at the plaza. We just finished our third golf tournament, and we had 109 people participate, and now the gala in October. There's also a drive at the end of the year for working tax credits. We bring in a total of $40,000 to $50,000 a year. We see this model working for us to create a sustainable income through this new project that will create a rental income. We hope to add an additional staff member starting in 2013.