Foundation Gives John George Home a Month’s Reprieve

Foundation Gives John George Home a Month’s Reprieve

By Brian Wheeler
Staff Writer
March 28, 2005

The John George Home will stay open at least another month – and, boosters hope, much longer – thanks to a $20,000 donation from the Jackson County Community Foundation.

The foundation’s board decided Friday to make the gift, beating an upcoming deadline of Wednesday that the financially strapped home for elderly men set to get help. Without it, the home would have closed.

The foundation “rose to the occasion to give us the $20,000 at the most critical time in our 55-year history,” said John Campau, president of the home’s board.

The home at 1501 W. Ganson St. has been plagued by financial troubles and, before that, health and safety violations that nearly forced its closure last spring. It has 35 beds but today holds 20 residents, most of whom qualify as low-income.

Kevin Lavery, the community foundation’s incoming board chairman, said his group saw the need to contribute based on the home’s history – it opened in 1948 – and role. Some feared that residents wouldn’t find places to live locally if the home closed.

“They’re filling a particular need in the community,” Lavery said. “Part of the reason why we acted in such a quick fashion was, basically, the necessity.”

The gift doesn’t guarantee the home’s survival. Administrator Carrie Good said it will will need to raise the same amount for each of the next five months.

Still, the hope is that the donation will serve as leverage for contributions from other groups and individuals. Meanwhile, two residents will move in Friday.

“It basically bought us some time to seek other contributions,” Good said.

As a condition of the gift, the home will take steps to improve its long-term picture.

Trustees will seek an independent audit, add residents, explore such ideas as boarding women and craft a long-term strategy.

Campau said he hoped the foundation’s help will serve as a springboard to brighter days for the home.

We need people who are willing to take the risk and give the money, not knowing how long we’re going to be open,” he said.

Reprinted with permission from Jackson Citizen Patriot
Copyright March 28, 2005

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