City of Arlington “Raze the School. Raise the Community” Capital Campaign
How does a town of 429 residents go about getting rid of an old eyesore and replacing it by raising $1.1 million to construct a new community center?
While recognizing that it was time to raze a school, abandoned in 1987, that had become an eyesore and posed a health risk, the City of Arlington, Iowa, also identified the want and need for a multipurpose community center. Arlington leaders drew up plans for a 8,950 square-foot multipurpose building that would consist of a community room, a full kitchen, a meeting room and fitness area that would benefit the entire area by bringing citizens closer together.
In June 2011, AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising completed a feasibility study that provided a solid strategy for the City of Arlington to conduct a capital campaign. The study revealed an overall acceptance of the project and a willingness to volunteer. The city hired AMPERAGE as campaign consultant later that year. AMPERAGE helped communicate the need for the community center by developing marketing tools such as the campaign logo and theme, “Raze the School. Raise the Community.”
The campaign held a kickoff late in its first year, which announced over $500,000 had been raised so far, including critical assistance from a $200,000 Brownfields grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The campaign required creative fundraising strategies, from making calendars with Arlington’s most eligible bachelors to promoting grain donations by area farmers. The campaign gained momentum, as well as national recognition in both People and Advancing Philanthropy magazines.
The campaign met its goal in late 2014 and a groundbreaking for the new community center was held. With AMPERAGE’s guidance, the “Raze the School. Raise the Community” campaign was a success and the City of Arlington opened its new community center in 2015. A high percentage of the area population regularly uses the center for fitness, wedding receptions, special events and more.
“We’d never done anything of this scale. That’s where we needed the help and that’s where we found the help. Without AMPERAGE, there’s no way this was going to happen.”
September 23, 2020