In March, members of Down Syndrome of Louisville (DSL) met at the building site of their new LifeLong Learning Center for a “Dream Party”. The attendees were invited to write their dreams for the future of DSL on the interior framing walls of the building as this ‘dream’ becomes a reality for the organization. The $3.7 million Capital Campaign began in July 2007 with an amazing $1.5 million dollar gift by Kosair Charities, a long time funder of DSL’s programming. The endorsement of such a prominent organization led to DSL’s securing a prestigious challenge grant from James Graham Brown Foundation. That grant, in turn, stipulated that DSL raise $1.5milllion by June 2010 to receive $500,000 for the Capital fund.
The powerful challenge grant allowed DSL to present prospective donors the opportunity to leverage their donation by 33%. Diana Merzweiler, DSL Executive Director, explained that “the domino effect of prominent local foundations and the media exposure of our groundbreaking ceremony with our state governor led to individual donors and corporations joining our efforts to build the first in the nation Life Long Learning Center for individuals with Down syndrome.” DSL also incorporated a “Buy a Brick Campaign” which served as a way for all of their members to contribute and honor their loved ones with Down syndrome.
“Although we are extremely grateful for such extraordinary financial support shown by our community,” said Merzweiler, “the true accomplishment is that this center will shine brightly as a monument to individuals with Down syndrome and their achievements and value to our world. The LifeLong Learning Center will allow DSL to serve hundreds more members in a progressive community inclusive model from infancy through adulthood. This center will offer encouragement to a prospective new parent that in Louisville , Kentucky ,their neighbors invested in the future of their unborn child with Down syndrome.”
To view a PowerPoint presentation with more in-depth details regarding the capital campaign, visit the DSAIA Repository's 2011 Conference Materials link.