Bethlehem Inn Capital Campaign Exceeds $4.5 Million Milestone


(Photo above: Capital Campaign Chair Heather Tennant Salvesen (left) and former Bethlehem Inn resident Abby Hammond announced the funds are in place to begin replacing the Bethlehem Inn’s family facility and service hub. | Photo by Molly Renner, Sublime Creative Agency)

Heather Tennant Salvesen Named Capital Campaign Chair

Supporters, friends and leaders of Bethlehem Inn gathered on February 23 to celebrate a significant milestone in the organization’s effort to raise funds for a new and larger facility. The Bethlehem Inn Transforming Lives Together Capital Campaign has raised $4,668,700, exceeding its goal of raising $4.5 million by March 2017. With this milestone achieved, construction of the new 18,600 square foot Family Residential Facility and Service Hub will begin as soon as the permitting process is complete, most likely March or April this year.
Construction of the family residence and service hub represents the first major step in a planned overhaul of the Bethlehem Inn’s facility. Currently operating from an aging motel, the new buildings will for the first time be designed to support the program the Inn provides for men, women and families making a transition from homelessness to stability. The first phase of construction will expand services to families by 100 percent, doubling the number of available family units from five to ten.
Bethlehem Inn’s Executive Director Gwenn Wysling announced that Bend resident Heather Tennant Salvesen has been named chair of the Bethlehem Inn Transforming Lives Together Capital Campaign. Tennant Salvesen is a homemaker and active community volunteer. Her leadership and volunteer experience includes serving on the board of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) as fundraising chair, project and property manager of Helping Hand Housing (2007-11), Habitat for Humanity partner and family mentor (2007-11). She is a past volunteer and partner of Saving Grace, Grandmas House and Mt. MountainStar Family Relief Nursery. Active as a philanthropist, Tennant Salvesen serves as manager of the Tennant Charitable Fund.
Tennant Salvesen served said, “To say I believe in Bethlehem Inn is the understatement of the century. It is one of the most inspiring, practical, tangible, necessary, impacting outreaches in Central Oregon. “Their building is falling down, but their people are rising up.”
Tennant Salvesen laid out the complete plans for Bethlehem Inn’s capital campaign. While the Family Residential and Service Hub is under construction, the Capital Campaign Council aims to reach the $5.3 million milestone to completely fund the first phase of construction. “The next $600,000 we raise will ensure we finish construction with no debt to the Inn,” she said.
“It will take another $3.7 million to completely rebuild Bethlehem Inn, with a larger unit for single men and women, including veterans and elders. Our goal is to finish the fundraising as soon as possible!”
Bethlehem Inn reports that 57 percent of the funds committed so far have come from individuals, businesses and community organizations; 43 percent from grants, both private foundations and government agencies. Major contributors so far include the Bethlehem Inn board of directors, Central Oregon Health Council, City of Bend, Collins Foundation and Bend Rotary Clubs. The top individual gift exceeds $500,000. Two other lead givers committed personal gifts of $250,000 or more and two committed at the $100,000 level.
Bethlehem Inn is Central Oregon’s largest emergency shelter, providing shelter, food and case management services to over 1,100 adults and children last year. 70,000 meals were served to those in crisis.
To learn more about Bethlehem Inn and how they Transform Lives with Shelter, Help and Hope call 541-322-8768 or
Donations may also be mailed to Bethlehem Inn, PO Box 8540, Bend, OR 97708.


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