Working With You to Get a New Clinic Home!

A New BFC is on the Horizon

by Scott Carroll

 volunteers line up in front of the Berkeley Free Clinic on Durant  in 2009 when the  mobile clinic first arrived at the BFC.  

volunteers line up in front of the Berkeley Free Clinic on Durant  in 2009 when the  mobile clinic first arrived at the BFC.  

 Involving Volunteers and Alumni in the Effort

After many, many years of talking about it, the Berkeley Free Clinic has entered the early phase of our Capital Campaign to find and fund a new home!  We will make our public announcement about the campaign around mid-2018. We wanted to tell you first, people with a close personal BFC connection, in this pre-public phase so we can have your partnership in developing the connections and relationships needed for success.  

What’s Prompting the Move

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The building we’ve been in since 1970 has aged around us.  It’s a massive structure whose upper floors have long been in disuse due to seismic concerns.  Each year it shows more of its ever increasing fragility.  The incredibly generous Trinity Methodist Church (who have always charged us far below market rate rent) have their own exciting plans for shoring up their future, and although they would love to keep housing us, it is difficult to see how they can.  Our move-out date will likely be sometime after the start of 2020.   

Opportunity to Improve and Grow!

 Volunteers and trainees in front of today's BFC

Volunteers and trainees in front of today's BFC

Our 3 year goal is to be able to move into a building with at least as much space as we currently have (7,200 square feet), but hopefully even more!  Moving to a new building opens up opportunities to  upgrade and expand. From surveys and work sessions gathering input from members and shift professionals of the clinic’s different sections, suggested facility improvements include:

  • A warm and welcoming lobby with two or more client bathrooms.

  • At least 6 clinical exam rooms from our current 5 and equipped to meet modern building code for a medical setting, adequate air circulation, with wheelchair accessibility, and sufficient space for conducting small group exam trainings.  

  • A dental suite with at minimum three state-of-the-art dental stations instead of our current two cramped, moderately functional chairs.  We’d like increased client privacy, increased space for storage and preparing and sanitizing equipment, space to conduct administrative work that isn’t right on top of the patients, and to add a panoramic 3-D X-ray machine to improve our ability to do root canals and restorative dental work.  

  • 5 comfortable individual counseling rooms, and one larger group counseling room with adjustable lighting and modern air circulation.

  • An optical clinic with two exam rooms to upgrade from the one optical exam room we recently installed with our partner, Mindful Eyes.  

  • Larger and more flexible training and meeting spaces for our workforce development and collective administration.  

  • An upgraded, private, and more workflow-friendly lab and pharmacy.

  • And expanded storage for the ability to accept and organize more donated and purchased bulk supplies and equipment to keep our services running.  

We would love to be able to stay close to downtown Berkeley to continue to be easily accessible via public transportation for clients and volunteers.

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There’s a good chance we’ll move into a smaller temporary space en route to the larger, better equipped space we wish for.  The high cost and limited availability of real estate make this challenging - but our history, far reaching impact on healthcare/health worker development, the important community partners we house, and our great friendships make us believe we can do it.  

How You Can Help in this Phase of the Project!

 in touch with former volunteers?  Help us reach them for this campaign and the BFC Alumni Association!  Pictured are volunteers in the commons in the 1980's -  where are they now?!?

in touch with former volunteers?  Help us reach them for this campaign and the BFC Alumni Association!  Pictured are volunteers in the commons in the 1980's -  where are they now?!?

Our new home project will be raising support from wealthy individuals, corporations, foundations, local businesses, and current volunteers and alumni with a range of giving ability.  We need your help now as we work to make connections and build relationships with people in these sectors who have the means to support the project.  Your friendships, connections and networks could lead to the resources we need to succeed!   

  • Be part of our Alumni and Current Volunteer Connection Interviews - We’ll work with you to help discover your connections, explore how they might help the BFC and how we could get them involved! These can be done over the phone.

  • Already have an idea of a person, business or organization you have a strong connection with who could make a major donation of $10K, $50K, $500K or more? Let’s talk and develop a plan and time to introduce them to the project.

  • Get lined up to be part of our Alumni network small donor giving effort when it launches -  where we’ll work with you to set up an individual page to raise smaller donations from your friend’s network.  250 Alumni raising $5,000 a piece we would have us $1.25 Million towards our goal!

  • Share your individual success story - let us tell potential funders the ways the BFC has helped our volunteers.

  • Still in touch with a client who would be willing to share their story?  Help us connect and capture their story about the impact the clinic has on the lives of people in need.

  • Do you have the ability to dedicate some significant time to working on the campaign?  Make calls, do research, arrange and give tours?  Let us know so we can get you plugged in.

  • Do you have a skill set we could take advantage of?  Such as: graphic design talent, audio visual production abilities, grant writing/development experience, experience writing press releases, event planning background, or similar training and experience that you could contribute to the effort?  Let us know so we can connect you in!

  • Stay tuned for more opportunities to give input and stay involved!

We'd Love to Have Your Help!

Click the link below to sign up to help, share a lead, and/or update your contact info.  Immediate questions or urgent ideas? Please feel free to call or text Scott Carroll at 510-502-9648 (at a decent hour) or email scottcarroll@berkeleyfreeclinic.org with the subject line “Capital Campaign.”

Additional Campaign Background for Those Who Care to Know More!

Defining Our Campaign

A capital campaign is a short-term intensive fundraising efforts to secure extraordinary gifts and pledges for a very expensive undertaking, such as purchasing property, building construction, a large scale renovation, equipment acquisition, or establishing or growing an endowment. The Berkeley Free Clinic’s new home campaign is in the category referred to as a “combined campaign,” which plans to raise the resources needed to secure a new home and to raise funds for an endowment to support our work into the future. Because of the likelihood of having to move into a temporary space prior to our final new home we have two stages in mind for our campaign.

Projected Fundraising Needs by Stage

Stage 1

  • $1.5 Million - to move, rent, and renovate in a temporary space for 3 years

Stage 2

  • $7 Million - to purchase and renovate an expanded permanent home
  • $3.5 Million - to establish an endowment for building upkeep and BFC stability into the future
  • Total to complete both stages: $12 Million

We’re in the Lead-Gift Portion of the Quiet Phase - What that Means

Capital campaigns are structured in a series of sub-phases within two broader overarching phases (see outline below). The first of the overarching phases is the Quiet Phase.  

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As implied by the name, the Quiet Phase is done behind the scenes - without a far-reaching public announcement or fanfare about the work underway.  The Quiet Phase involves activities such as assessing the needs of the campaign, lining up political support, identifying potential major donors to approach, working to develop relationships with these potential donors, and making the first asks for a small set of very large gifts.  Traditionally half or more of the total fundraising of a capital campaign is conducted in the Quiet Phase - prior to inviting an expansive swath of the public to participate - and the transition to the Public Phase does not begin until this money is raised.  It is common, especially in smaller organizations without strong connections to corporations, foundations, and wealthy individuals, for the work of the Quiet Phase to last several years.  Right now we are at the step of making contact and developing relationships with the people who can help make a million dollar Lead-Gift.  

Other Bay Area Campaigns for Comparison

A number of other Bay Area organizations are engaged in capital campaigns to meet similar building and/or renovation needs.  For an idea of the size and scale of similar campaigns below are a few from a 2017 summary of local facility projects reported on by the San Francisco Business Times.  The table shows the organization conducting the campaign, facility they are working to support, the fundraising goal of the campaign, the amount they had raised by December 2016, and the intended duration of the Public Phase of their campaign (see the next section) .

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The Work and People That Got Us Here

Talk of a future move has been around the BFC since before I became involved with the clinic in 1993, and real work preparing for our Capital Campaign has been going on longer than most of our alumni and current volunteers are probably aware.  A great deal of gratitude goes out to BFC Alumni Cynthia Cox, Yves Gibbons and their peers, who, in years past, began the organizing for this campaign and move - pulling together sections in defining our space needs and goals, and strengthening our internal structures and  partnership with Trinity Methodist Church.  We are also grateful that Cynthia and Yves have continued to help us as advisors.  

 Cracking concrete in the structure above the clinic - built long before current earthquake codes

Cracking concrete in the structure above the clinic - built long before current earthquake codes

The second wave of advances on the Capital Campaign came with help of our first campaign working group: Yves, Spencer Knight, Patrick Shibley, John Day, Jane Maxwell, Jason Elcock, and Alvin Chan.   We made progress on the research and ground work to ready us for later stages of our campaign. This included conducting extensive telephone interviews with over 40 current and former volunteers, strengthening relationships with all of our City Council Members and then Mayor, Tom Bates. Additionally, we gathered insight and feedback from people instrumental in other local campaigns, such as US House Member Ron Dellums’ former Chief of Staff, Robert Brooks and UC Berkeley’s former Director of University Health Services, Steve Lustig who worked on Lifelong Medical’s $1.5 million renovation campaign, Dana Van Gorder who oversaw the SF LGBT Community Center during their $12 million building campaign, and Liz Sloan who oversees Stanford Medical Center’s $1.9 billion campaign.  We worked with local real estate experts Michael Koreman and Laurie Capitelli (who was a City Council Member at the time) to delineate property and cost parameters, and with Capitelli and development consultant Mark Rhoades to explore how partnerships with for-profit and non-profit organizations, such as low income supportive housing developers, could play a role in access to properties.   We also worked with architects Alex Prusakov and Ana Smorodinsky to line us up with people who can help us when we get to the design phase of a project. Alex also connected us to WRNS Studios in San Francisco which has agreed to be our pro-bono architecture firm (thanks to Do Kwon for being part of that meeting).  

The third and most recent wave of work has been preparing for and entering into our Quiet Phase - Lead and Advanced Gift activities.  This has included working to capture on video and in photographs unique and compelling individual stories that illustrate the transformative impact the BFC has on clients, volunteers, alumni, partner organizations, and our community.   The work of BFC volunteers such as Dental Coordinators Kevin Hahn and Clay Carter, oral surgeon Craig Bloom and dentists Daniel Nam, Clint Toura, Brian Hathcoat, and Daniel Ningrone has been immensely helpful as they identified potential stories, connected with clients, and aided us in following and documenting over a year of appointments. The openness and generosity of people who have shared their stories, like former GMHC volunteer Juan Cadena and clients such as Qadir and Amanda have given us a great start to what will be a growing collection of human stories behind our impressive statistics.  

 Long-time switchboard/IRC volunteer Tom K lends his skills to repair a light fixture before a shift

Long-time switchboard/IRC volunteer Tom K lends his skills to repair a light fixture before a shift

Our networking on the city and state relations front continued with Jane Maxwell and Alvin Chan joining me in establishing a relationship with our local State Senator, Nancy Skinner and her staff who have offered their help in this and other stages.  Kent Sack, Jane Maxwell, Alvin Chan, Leroy Blea and Arvin Javadi joined in for meetings with current Berkeley Mayor, Jesse Arreguin, newly elected downtown councilmember Kate Harrison and their staffs for discussions of how the City could play a greater a role in helping find temporary or permanent home for the BFC and assist us in reaching potential lead gift and advanced gift donors.  Because there are legal restrictions on the number of council members who can gather outside of an announced council meeting we also met for individual parallel conversations with the other council members who were new to the job in 2017: Cheryl Davila, Ben Bartlett, and Sophie Hahn.     

The bulk of the administrative and coordination work of the campaign to date has been with the invaluable help of Alvin Chan. We have worked on evaluating and selecting the technology/tools needed for activities later in the campaign, such as the web based program for supporting peer network fundraising.  With help at various points from Jane Maxwell, John Day, Leroy Blea, Nandita Krishna, and Suleiman Allen, we have brainstormed, written and edited our Alumni Network Survey as well as scoured BFC archives and our memories to form the beginning of our Alumni Association database. With assistance from Kara Borowski and students from the College Internship Program (an organization that aids young adults with autism gain job skills) we have begun populating our databases for managing our individual, foundation, corporation and small business prospect outreach.  And we are working with Ned Henry and Tina Bakolitsa of the Tech Committee on developing our Capital Campaign website.  

 The setting sun casts the Silhouette of the Julia Morgan designed Berkeley city club against the seismically unstable  structure above the Free Clinic

The setting sun casts the Silhouette of the Julia Morgan designed Berkeley city club against the seismically unstable  structure above the Free Clinic

As we begin 2018 we are forming a broadened BFC Capital Campaign Working Group. We are looking for people who want to get involved and help on the tasks that make up the activities listed in the table above. The group will also take on the work started in the last 6 months of 2017 by the internal capital campaign committee, who were Kent Sack, Cam Nevin, Mac Nevin, Hunter Jackson, Jon Marley, and Arvin Javadi, including overseeing the work on the campaign and helping to move projects along their timelines.   

Again - We’d Love to Have Your Help!  

Click the link below to sign up to help, share a lead, and/or update your contact info.  Immediate questions or urgent ideas? Please feel free to call or text Scott Carroll at 510-502-9648 (at a decent hour) or email scottcarroll@berkeleyfreeclinic.org with the subject line “Capital Campaign.”