IFC @ SECU Community House


Hundreds of community members joined together this morning for the groundbreaking of the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service's new Inter-Faith Council @ SECU Community House, located at 1315 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill.  This groundbreaking marked a new beginning for a Community House, IFC's residential facility for homeless men, which has been without a permanent home for nearly 30 years.

This new men's transitional housing facility, scheduled to open in spring 2015, will offer programs and supportive services intended to empower men who are homeless to transform their lives.  After a welcome by IFC Executive Director John Dorward and an invocation by Rev. Robert Seymour, IFC Honorary Life Board Member, remarks were shared by a variety of local leaders including: the Honorable David Price, member, U.S. House of Representatives, North Carolina's 4th District; the Honorable Mark Kleinschmidt, Mayor of Chapel Hill; the Honorable Valerie Foushee, North Carolina State Senator, District 23; Narvell Williams, Community House Resident; Kevin Foy, Co-Chair of the Campaign for the new Community House; Gordon Merklein, Co-Chair of the Campaign for the new Community House; Douglas Zinn, Assistant Executive Director, William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; Bob Kucab, Executive Director , NC Housing Finance Agency; Karen McCall, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine; Winston B. Crisp, J.D., Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UNC at Chapel Hill; McKinley Wooten, Chairman , SECU Foundation Board.

Rebecca McCulloh, IFC Board President, along with 40 local dignitaries wielding ceremonial shovels, broke the ground for the new Community House.  "The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service has labored for 28 years to bring a purpose built transitional living facility for men to Chapel Hill," said McCulloh.  "We are grateful to the many men, women, children, congregations, businesses, organizations and foundations that have made this great day possible.  Community House is a home for all, and it is the gift of all."

SECU Foundation Board Chair McKinley Wooten presented a check for $1 million for the new building which will be named Inter-Faith Council @ SECU Community House.  “State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) members via the SECU Foundation are proud to partner with Inter-Faith Council for Social Service in support of the SECU Community House transitional housing facility for men,” said Wooten.  “The project embodies the ‘People Helping People’ philosophy on which SECU and the SECU Foundation were founded and we look forward to the benefits the new House will offer the Chapel-Hill Carrboro community.”

Karen McCall, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine, presented a check for $100,000 to support the medical clinic in the new Community House. "We feel a real partnership with IFC because many times, like IFC, we are taking care of people who have nowhere else to go,” says McCall. “This gift reflects that partnership and will allow The Robert Nixon Free Clinic for the Homeless – Sponsored by UNC Health Care to provide even better care.”

Kevin Foy, co-chair of the Campaign for the new Community House and former mayor of Chapel Hill, said, "This new facility will be a landmark in our community because it represents both the fulfillment of a promise and the beginning of a new model. It's both a success and an inspiration."

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said, "The IFC represents the best of what Chapel Hill strives to be as a community.  Through its dedicated staff, volunteers, and community support, IFC has changed countless lives throughout its over a half century of service.  As Mayor, I am grateful and proud to see the IFC enter its next phase through the construction of this new Community House.”

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt made an unscheduled appearance. “This is what we dream about when we think we’re going to be part of a community that is going to work together;” said Chancellor Folt. “When we think about what a university and a community can do together; how our students, how our faculty, how our staff, how our community can come together and do things that are greater then any one of us could ever do in our own.”

The capital campaign, which began in December 2012, has pledges and commitments of $5.45M of the $5.76M campaign goal, which will permit IFC to build the new Community House debt-free.

A continental breakfast -- donated by Tom Ferguson of the Durham Catering Company -- in the Fellowship Hall at United Church of Chapel Hill followed the groundbreaking ceremony. Flowers were donated by University Florist & Gifts, courtesy of owner Charles House who serves on IFC's board.