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Point/Arc announces “Every Gift Counts” $10m Capital Campaign, to put The Point on ‘solid ground’

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By Vicki Prichard
NKyTribune reporter

The Point/Arc of Northern Kentucky, which provides a community-wide network of programs for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD), announced the launch of its $10 million Capital Campaign Friday evening at its Party in the Park at The Champions Club at Great American Ball Park.

Judi Gerding, a charter member of the organization since it was founded in 1972, and president since 1978, says funds from the campaign, “Every Gift Counts,” will put The Point on “solid ground.”

“We had one in 2004, and that went really well, and in 2009 it was strictly to expand our laundry, and I’m not getting any younger so in order to position The Point for the future we need a healthy endowment,” says Gerding. “We have so much going on and I want to leave on solid ground.”

Judi Gerding announces kick-off of ‘Every Gift Counts’ campaign

Not that Gerding is leaving immediately.

“I’ll be around for three years,” she says. “This is a three-year pledge, and I figure if all our pledges come in then we’ll be in good shape.”

The Point/Arc’s 2017-2020 Every Gift Counts Capital Campaign is a three part campaign which consists of three goals:

– Operating and residential endowment funds. Endowment Fund #1, an Operating Fund, to guarantee a sound financial future for The point by securing and maintaining a minimum base of $5,000,000, with the ability to move a maximum of fiver percent per year into the operating budget for unbudgeted deficits and growth; Endowment Fund #2, a Residential Fund — The Gerding Family Legacy Fund — to guarantee a sound financial future for The Point’s Residential Program by securing and maintaining a minimum of $5,000,000 in the Gerding Legacy Fund, with the ability to move a maximum of five percent per year into the Residential Program to cover unbudgeted deficits and grow to eliminate waiting list for families seeking a lifelong placement for their loved one.

“As some of our individuals get a little bit older they need a little bit more assistance, or, their parents are passing away and where are they going to go? So there’s a gap that needs to be filled,” says Mathew Frondorf, The Point marketing director.

– Social Communication & Educational Center, which would consolidate The Point’s five educational programs under one roof, with the transformation of its garage annex at 625 Washington Avenue by Spring 2018.

– Owen Hauck Exceptional Care Group Home.
The goal is to create the only exceptional care group home for individuals who, since birth, or have acquired through the years, the need for exceptional support not available in a typical group home.

“Our people need help now, not two years later when government dictates,” says Gerding. “Unfortunately, because of their dependence on government funding, some agencies have no other alternative than to rely on money first, mission second. Thanks to The Points’ philosophy of “Every Gift Counts,” even though the well was dry, more often than not we always knew somehow, somewhere, assistance would providentially appear and another life was immediately changed forever as The Point continues to put mission first, money second.”

Campaign co-chairs Ken Harper, Harper, a former state representative and former Kentucky Secretary of State, and Dan Groneck, newly retired president of US Bank, Northern Kentucky, were on hand at the event for the Capital Campaign announcement and spoke emphatically about The Point’s impact and the need for support.

Harper pointed out that the ambitious $10 million dollar campaign already has nearly $800,000 committed to it, for the 2018 opening of the Dr. Anthony and Geraldine Zembrodt Educational Center.

“It’s ambitious but it’s attainable because of people like people like Paul [Daugherty] and the lady [Gerding] that spent 45 years serving our clients — 45 years of love and honoring our clients,” says Harper.

Groneck asked that people become good ambassadors of The Point by opening doors and telling the great stories about The Point — how it has touched so many lives.

“Everyone in this room has a story to tell about The Point, what they’ve done for a friend or family member, or someone, and that’s so important,” says Groneck.

The Point/Arc was founded in 1972, when three parent groups, Gerding among them, united to form an advocacy group to assist their loved ones diagnosed with I/DD. In 1982, The Point opened its first social enterprise, The Point Restaurant, which provided vocational training to individuals with I/DD. Today, The Point is a full service agency, focused on providing experiences to help individuals with I/DD to be contributing members of society and gain self-esteem and pride in their skills.

Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty addressed the crowd, noting that the last time he spoke at the event was 24 years ago when his daughter Jillian was three-years-old. He spoke to what The Point does is to help people like his daughter, now 27 and an employee of NKU’s athletic department.

Paul Daugherty with daughter Jillian and Judi Gerding

“We give lots of money to various agencies that don’t always do what we want them to do…The Point works — it always has,” says Daugherty. “It’s helped our citizens with disabilities find the dignity of a job and the security of a home. It has helped these folks find meaning in their lives — to get a leg up, when a leg up was all that mattered.”

Today, The Point is a full service agency, focused on providing experiences to help individuals with I/DD to be contributing members of society and gain self-esteem and pride in their skills.

In 1996, the Point Commercial Laundry was established, and in 2012 The Point Embroidery and Silkscreen Co. was formed. Many northern Kentuckians begin their day with a cup of coffee from Point Perk, and watch The Point’s mission in action.

In 1995, The Point established its first group home and now owns and operates nine homes in various neighborhoods in Boone, Campbell, and Kenton Counties, and house nearly 40 residents.

The Point Activities Programs began in 1999 to fill the social void in the lives of the individuals they serve. The Point Outreach and Educational programs include programs on social communication, transition, and career development. Case management was added to assist individuals and their families with finding resources and services that will support goals and aspirations. More than 500 people are served through The Points programs and services.

The Party in the Park event selected a grand prize winner chosen from 75 finalists at a reverse drawing event that took place in conjunction with the Party in the Park event. Among the prizes were $25,000 in cash, round-trip flights to Chicago aboard Ultimate Air Shuttle, a diamond necklace donated by Schulz & Sons Jewelers, and a one-year autoSPA membership donated by Mercedes Benz of Fort Mitchell.

But Gerding was keeping her eye on the real prize — support for the organization that means so much to her.

“We all remember Joe Nuxhall’s signing off, “This is the old lefthander, roundin’ third and headin’ for home,” says Gerding. “How about one last ‘hurrah’ for this right-hander, as I round third and head for home, to ensure that the incredible journey of The Point will continue?”

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