Barrington White House reaches $6.8 million fundraising goal

  • The $6.8 million Barrington White House project has been fully funded through private donations. The 118-year-old building, located at 145 W. Main St. in the village's downtown, has been transformed into a community center.

    The $6.8 million Barrington White House project has been fully funded through private donations. The 118-year-old building, located at 145 W. Main St. in the village's downtown, has been transformed into a community center. Doug T. Graham | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/12/2016 7:56 PM

After more than three years of fundraising, the $6.8 million needed to fully pay for the Barrington White House renovation project has been raised through more than 350 donations from Barrington-area residents and grants, according to White House staff.

"It's just a nice feeling to be able to concentrate on running the house," White House manager Beth Raseman said of hitting the fundraising goal.

 

Launched in November 2013, the renovation project turned the worn-looking, 118-year-old former home in downtown Barrington into a community center. Along with serving as the offices for three local nonprofit agencies, the White House hosts weddings, musical performances, private parties and cultural events.

The fundraising efforts were led by White House Steering Committee Chairwoman Mary Smith, as well as committee members Tom Hayward, Dave Nelson, Village President Karen Darch, Molly Hamman, Freddie Smith Pederson, Gillian Stoettner and Raseman.

As with other large-scale fundraising enterprises, the money poured in from donors at the start before slowing to a more steady pace, Raseman said. Between the beginning of the fund drive in 2013 until the summer of 2014, organizers raised $4 million through large donations and grants. Another $1.7 million arrived by the time the renovations were largely complete and the building had its grand opening on July 4, 2015.

At that point, another $1.1 million was needed to fully fund the project.

"Because of the craftsmanship and quality of (the renovation) people have ended up being proud of it, which really helped us with this last fundraising push," Raseman said. "There was a sense of, 'Yeah, I'd like to be a part of this.'"

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The successful conclusion to the campaign ends any possibility that village taxpayers would have to pay for the renovation work. The house and surrounding property was purchased by the village for $2.6 million using funds from the same downtown TIF district that paid for projects on Cook Street and the Village Center.

The village paid for the project's architectural and feasibility studies, and also negotiated a $5.5 million loan from the Barrington Bank & Trust to provide cash flow for the renovation. The repayment of the loan will be made entirely with funds donated to the White House project.

Raseman said White House staff are finishing up the design of a donor wall, which will display the names of everyone who has given $1,000 or more to the project. She said letters will be sent out to those who donated below $1,000 to ask them if they'd like to increase their pledge to put their name on the wall, which will be permanently installed near the building's entrance.

Raseman said they also are accepting donations from people who wish to support the White House operations.

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