During the past year, the actions of many have demonstrated a commitment to the mission of the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse.
In particular, the CASDA Capital Campaign “New Beginnings” has provided an opportunity for members of the community — both individuals and businesses — to step forward in support of purchasing and refurbishing a new office building and housing location allowing CASDA to more effectively deliver on its mission.
The CASDA Capital Campaign was kicked off in December 2011, with a goal of raising $1.2 million. Since the kickoff more than $1,050,000 has been raised. In the midst of this process, two prior business competitors have joined together in a show of leadership for the campaign.
The goal: To dedicate time, energy and resources to serving those who need to be helped.
Don Odermann, retired owner and chief executive officer of Lakehead Constructors, has been a tireless member of the CASDA Capital Campaign fundraising executive council. Prior to retiring, Odermann and Todd L. Johnson, chairman and CEO of Capstan Corporation, had a friendly, competitive business relationship.
Odermann called on Johnson to solicit his support for the capital campaign. Todd, born and raised in Superior, already knew that CASDA provides a critical service for Superior and the region. Based on his belief in the importance of demonstrating leadership for the capital campaign, Johnson helped secure donations of more than $245,000 including an $110,000 personal donation. In the spirit of their friendly competitiveness, Johnson also challenged Odermann to a specific donation amount, which he gladly contributed.
“I like to see the completion of a project,” Johnson said. “A project half-done is not done. I believe we need to passionately support our local charities that do the most good in our community. CASDA is one of those organizations.”
The significant personal donation from Johnson, and his wife, Susan, came during the holidays, which, according to Kelly Burger, CASDA executive director, was like a Christmas miracle. Prior to the call, the plans for the new facility had to be scaled back because of a lack of funding. The increased financial commitment from Johnson meant four bedrooms and two bathrooms could be added back into the construction plans, creating a total of 10 bedrooms and four bathrooms.
The friendly rival between Odermann and Johnson shows, as the saying goes, a little competition is a good thing.
In addition to his personal donation, Johnson also garnered support from Charter Films and RJS Construction. Major donations also have been received from Essentia Health, Minnesota Power, National Bank of Commerce, BNSF Railroad, Manion Foods and the city of Superior.
The project is still in need of support of local businesses and individuals prior to the April 2 Grand Opening celebration. As the physical construction of bedrooms, living space and a kitchen come to completion, CASDA is seeking donations of new furnishings including bedroom furniture, mattresses, televisions and living room furniture. Anyone interested in donating cash or new items to furnish the remodeled site can call (715) 392-3136.
Since 1988, CASDA has been providing supportive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse while advocating for a community effort to end violence in a three county area.
In 2012, they answered 1,748 calls via the 24-hour helpline and provided services to 441 individuals. For information, go to casda.org.