By Jon Bishop
AYER — Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts is planning a fundraising campaign for the duplex project at 76 Central Avenue.
“We have kicked off a rather intense fundraising campaign beginning Oct. 4,” said Pauline Conley, who is involved with the organization. They need to raise $25,000 in 25 days, but they got some help when a couple from Harvard agreed to donate $10,000 if Habitat can raise an additional $15,000 in 25 days.
According to Maggie Monroe-Cassel, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts, the campaign will end on Nov. 4. They are seeking donors who are new to the Habitat mission, she said. They are looking for special over and above gifts that will help reach the goal.
“This is a great opportunity for the people of Ayer and surrounding areas to give a special gift to help get the foundations into the ground in Ayer,” she said via email.
“If we are to get these foundations in the ground before the ground freezes, we need to get this cash in as soon as possible,” she added.
The pricing estimate for the duplex is $310,000. Conley said that part of the funding could come from Community Preservation. Article 1 of Special Town Meeting asks Ayer voters to approve the appropriation of $100,000 from Community Preservation to help support the project.
“The Town Meeting will go a long way towards that,” she said.
Monroe-Cassel said that any funds raised and materials and services donated to help lower the cost all become part of the Fund for Humanity.
“The fund is a revolving loan fund,” she said. “When our carefully selected homeowners pay back the zero percent interest mortgage in order to buy their homes, the funds are recycled to build more homes. So donating to Habitat is giving a gift that keeps on going.”
“I believe Habitat is one if not the only nonprofit that expects those who are assisted to pay back what was given to them,” she added. “This is how we help people escape the cycle of poverty! Habitat is an empowering organization! As one of founders once said: ‘Low income people do not need charity. They need capital.'”
Conley said that another method they’ll use is personal outreach. They’ll also announce any corporate donations.
According to a flier for the campaign, investments could help buy low-flow toilets, siding, wallboard, flooring, and plumbing and electrical supplies.
The 76 Central Ave. groundbreaking happened on Oct. 6. Habitat expects the project to be finished by March 2015.