Hickory – On September 29, 2018 at the Exodus Homes Capital Campaign Community Celebration, a group of current residents and graduates of the program revealed that the campaign has raised $1,150,525 in gifts and pledges, $93,425 more than the base goal of $1,057,000. The faith-based United Way agency providing supportive housing for homeless recovering people returning to the community from treatment centers and prison celebrated the success of their capital campaign and cut the ribbon on their new building at 610 4th St. SW in Hickory during the event. Planning for the campaign began in 2016. Actual fund raising in the “quiet phase” began last April with campaign leaders soliciting lead gifts before the launch of the “public phase” in the Community Celebration. Funds raised so far in the three year campaign will be used for the purchase and upfit of the new building which will house the offices of Exodus Homes, their thrift store, meeting rooms, an education center, a non profit sharing center, and their vocational training program Exodus Works. Other funded projects include major renovations to two apartment complexes and three houses as well as newer model vehicles and additional equipment for Exodus Works.

Lead gifts of $50,000+ gave donors naming rights to the new building and housing properties. Their new building as a whole was named “Transformation Station” by Taylorsville furniture manufacturers Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Within the new building the thrift store was named “New Life Thrift Store” by John and Shelly Clark. The new offices of Exodus Homes was named for The John Bray Family by John and Connie Bray. Their board room was named “The David Dill Board Room” by Ed and Polly Byrd. The area reserved for education activities was named “The Milholland Education Center” by the David Milholland Trust. A large meeting area was named “Assembly Room Sponsored by the Beaver Family Foundation”, and an area for other non-profits was named “The Jim and Judith Tarlton Non-Profit Sharing Center”. The lower level of the new building occupied by their vocational training program was named “Exodus Works Sponsored by Shurtape Technologies.”

A surprise during the event was the naming of the Horseshoe Apartments in the Ridgeview neighborhood, the current home of Exodus Homes’ offices and main complex in the middle of their housing campus area on 8th Ave Dr. SW in Hickory. The campaign committee knew that the George Foundation had chosen to name the apartment complex, but what it would be called was unknown at the time of the event Saturday. Campaign Co-Chair Charles Young came forward with a big sign saying he had an announcement that was not on the program. He turned the sign around to show that the new name of the Horseshoe Apartments will be “The Longcrier/Walker Exodus Apartment Complex” by the George Foundation in honor of founding executive director the Rev. Reggie Longcrier, and founding assistant executive director the Rev. Susan Walker. The two agency leaders have worked together for 22 years. They were stunned by the news and moved to tears with the unexpected honor in their names.

Although they have already exceeded their base goal, other urgent projects that were not funded in the original plan are now being presented to the public in the next phase. “In the beginning the capital campaign project did not include the purchase of a new building. When that became part of the plan we had to remove $376,000 in projects for replacing roofs and worn-out flooring, and renovating six bathrooms. We had to take those things out to afford our new building, and now that we have exceeded our goal, we want to bring them back to ask the public to help us do more” said Walker.

The success of the campaign was not a surprise to Co-Chair John Bray, owner and CEO of Vanguard Furniture in Conover. “When you have a good product, it’s easy to promote it. Exodus Homes is the real deal. They are truly transforming lives and this community” he said. Young, a veteran fund raiser, said “This has been the most rewarding campaign I have ever worked.” Exodus Board President Dr. Ric Vandett was proud of their accomplishment saying, “On behalf of our residents and staff, we are very grateful for this outpouring of support from the community.”

Current residents and program graduates had fun with the “Big Reveal” of the campaign’s achievement, first lining up in the wrong order and then playfully getting in place to show the large crowd of celebrants how they had exceeded the base goal. Rev. Reggie Longcrier was overwhelmed with joy saying, “God has blessed us beyond our wildest imagination and now we are prepared to secure the future of Exodus Homes for many years to come.”

The three year campaign still has several naming opportunities available, and any size gift is welcome. For more information about the Exodus Homes Capital Campaign, please go to www.exodushomes.org.

Photo: Rev. Susan Walker and Rev. Reggie Longcrier are seen holding the sign which surprised them after learning that the George Foundation had named the Horseshoe Apartments in Ridgeview in their honor. The surprise announcement occurred during the Capital Campaign Community Celebration held September 29, 2018 at their new building, 610 4th St. SW in Hickory.