Update: A Successful Conclusion to the Capital Campaign

When sandbags, buckets and towels were no longer enough… it was time to raise money

The three-year capital campaign for the Jeanne Jugan Residence succeeded in reaching its $12 million target, the Little Sisters and the capital campaign committee have announced. The Building Together on Sacred Ground Capital Campaign was the largest fundraising initiative in our 145-year history.

The money came with the help of 8,804 generous donors who contributed gifts ranging from $2 to $2 million.
The funds were needed for numerous essential upgrades and repairs to the buildings and grounds. “Our home is a safer place today for our Residents and all the Little Sisters because of the outpouring of support and prayers from the community,” said Mother Mary Michael. “Importantly, this work allows us to sustain our Home and to care for this city’s elderly for many years to come. We thank God for the mercy and compassion of the many people who so beautifully opened their hearts to support our mission.”

Initial plans for the campaign were launched as the Great Recession roiled the economy. But despite the harsh economic climate, the Little Sisters recognized that to continue their mission, and to be good stewards of what God has given us through your generosity, the aging buildings and infrastructure demanded attention. Further delay would mean continued deterioration, unsafe conditions, rising repair costs and soaring utility bills.

The challenge was to raise $12 million without affecting the operating budget needed to serve our Residents. “We were confident in our plan and God,” said Mother Mary Michael, citing the words of Saint Jeanne Jugan, our Mother Foundress: “Give us this house. If God fills it, God will not abandon it.”
Certain in the urgency of our purpose, and blessed with the guiding presence of B.F. Saul as chair of the campaign, fundraising began in the spring of 2014. After we achieved what seemed a daunting goal, Mr. Saul said, “I have been honored to serve as chair of this campaign and express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has played a role in this historic effort on behalf of The Little Sisters of the Poor.”

Following is a list of improvements the generosity of our benefactors has enabled us to accomplish, ensuring the long-term sustainability of our Home and the ability for The Little Sisters to continue our mission to serve the elderly poor of Washington for years to come:

  • Installation of new heating, cooling and electrical systems throughout our buildings, eliminating antiquated systems that created safety hazards, ongoing maintenance costs and heating bills as high as $30,000 per month among other issues. Replacement of corroded pipes that leaked water and hot steam into Sisters’ rooms with hundreds of yards of new copper piping. Also, 300 new double pane windows installed, replacing the old non-weather resistant windows that drove up utility bills and also allowed water to penetrate, causing structural damage. These leaks drove the Sisters and staff to resort to buckets, towels, shop vacs and even sandbags to block the water and clean up the aftermath.
  • In the chapel: removal of asbestos from the ceiling; installation of a required fire-suppression system; new insulation to save on utility bills; replacement of worn and torn carpet; installation of new ceramic tile, and; increased wheelchair accessibility to the reconciliation room and the altar platform (third photo).
    In the 1964 convent: abatement and removal of asbestos and mold; creation of a library and music room; new flooring, and; renovation of bathrooms to meet code requirements.
  • Also in the 1964 convent: creation of a Juniorate space, where young Sisters can join our community for an additional year of doctrinal formation and time to deepen their faith in preparation for living our vocation. Five new Little Sisters arrived in September 2016.
  • Installation of a new fire alarm system in the 1964 and 1982 buildings. During testing, whistles blowing, bells ringing, lights flashing and a new sound system blaring alerted everyone, even our neighbors, that the new system was, thankfully, performing up to code.
    And finally, resurfacing of our parking lot and driveway, presenting a safer and more attractive entrance to our Home.