Turlock, California– After many years in a small rental house in downtown Turlock, Jessica’s House is planning to build a permanent, right-sized home to support grieving families.
Jessica’s House For Healing Hearts capital campaign has gained momentum over the past six months as major donors have made personal and corporate pledges toward the organization’s plans for a permanent home. Leaders of Jessica’s House announced today that they now have $800,000 remaining to raise in order to maximize a donor match of up to $3 million from EMC Health, Inc. The total fundraising goal is $6 million.
“Our community loves Jessica’s House because they love how we care for and support grieving families,” said Nancy Daley, chair of the capital campaign. In the past several days, the campaign received commitments of $200,000 each from the Foster Family and from the E. & J. Gallo Winery and Family. The two major commitments matched an earlier lead campaign gift from the Rogers Family, which was instrumental in launching the “For Healing Hearts” campaign in the middle of 2019.
EMC Health, Inc. committed to match every dollar raised, up to $3 million. “Our board is dedicated to the future of Jessica’s House,” said Linda Stuhmer, chief executive officer of EMC Health, Inc. “We have personally and professionally witnessed the compassionate work of our Jessica’s House staff and hundreds of grief support volunteers over the years.”
“Now that we have under a million to raise, it really feels like we are in range of fulfilling our dreams,” says Executive Director and Founder of Jessica’s House, Erin Nelson.
Jessica’s House opened in Turlock in 2012, founded by EMC Health, Inc. and the vision of Erin Nelson, who saw the need for the program after her own experience raising children after her husband died. Under Nelson’s leadership, Jessica’s House has grown while demand has surged. The rental space on Main Street no longer provides enough room to support the community need for grief support for children, teens, young adults and their families.
Plans call for a permanent 15,600 square-foot facility that will allow Jessica’s House to serve more grieving children and their families. The location is at the corner of Christofferson Road and Crowell Road, adjacent to Cornerstone Covenant Church. During summer 2019, the church provided the property on generous terms, and that spurred an active period of architectural planning and capital campaign fundraising. If funds can be raised in time, the new Jessica’s House will be ready to serve families in early 2021.
“We have been meeting with major donors who can pledge at least $10,000 over five years to be part of Jessica’s House Heart Circle,” said Davis Woods, director of development for Jessica’s House. “We are also discussing room dedication opportunities with donors who are committing $50,000 or more over five years. Rooms include spaces for all ages, play spaces, talking spaces and special areas for therapeutic music or drama.”
The building permit process is underway, spearheaded by Mark Kirkes of MK Electric & Design Inc. Kirkes heads up the Jessica’s House building committee. Construction could start in spring 2020.
Meanwhile, the For Healing Hearts Campaign steering committee continues its outreach to potential campaign donors, with the goal of raising the last $800,000 by the end of this year. In addition to Campaign Chair Nancy Daley and Executive Director Erin Nelson, members of the campaign committee include Julie Andre, Lynette Baker, Catherine Benning, Melanie Martella Chiesa, Tam Cordray, Dean Doerksen, Brad and Lori Hansen and Arlene Vilas.
More information is available at jessicashouse.org.
About Jessica’s House
Jessica’s House began as a grassroots effort inspired by Turlock community members who had experienced untimely deaths in their families. When they sought grief support service for their children, they realized there were no local organizations specializing in supporting grieving children. Since the program launched in 2012, Jessica’s House has been a place of comfort, hope and healing for grieving children and families throughout the region. Jessica’s House was founded by EMC Health, Inc., under the Evangelical Covenant Church. Generous community support allows Jessica’s House to provide not only grief support groups but community trainings and crisis response teams to Turlock and surrounding communities.