EXTON — United Way of Chester County has purchased and renovated a 5,000-square-foot detached building located at 150 John Robert Thomas St. in Lincoln Center in Exton to serve as the new permanent headquarters for United Way of Chester County. staff, and to house a social innovation lab, a leadership training center, and a community financial independence center. The center is scheduled to be completed and ready to open in late September.
The decision to purchase the building was not on the organization’s radar, but with the current office lease entering its final year and rent increasing, the Board of Directors decided this strategic move was necessary to build United Way for the next generation. United Way of Chester County inspected the new building in February 2022 and closed on the sale on June 1. Demolition and reconstruction began soon after.
“United Way of Chester County is very grateful to our Board of Directors, and especially to Board Chair Brian Parsons, who worked tirelessly to make this permanent home possible,” said Christopher Saela, President and CEO. “It was important to raise the funds for the construction through a silent capital campaign to ensure that it would not impact the annual non-profit grant support campaign. In just 57 days, we have raised $1.395 million, and all donors have agreed to make their gifts above and beyond any current annual support. Thanks to their generosity, our rent is now going away, returning $80,000 to the community that would otherwise have gone toward rent and accommodation costs. This money will now be invested back into society.”
As word of the purchase slowly began to spread throughout the community, United Way of Chester County received many calls from businesses wanting to support the project with in-kind donations, including:
• CTDI donated project management, CAD work, marketing, fundraising support and oversight of all building inspections
• SL Commercial donated free project management, glass walls and kitchen worktops
• Brandywine Valley Heating & Air donated a new HVAC unit and a significant amount of labor
• Blakeney Hayes donated architectural work free of charge
• Attorney Brian Nagle, McElree Harvey donated pro bono legal work
• GA Vietri donated electrical work at a discount
• Opt4 Group donated wiring and state-of-the-art AV systems at a discount
• Colonial Electric Supply donated 67 LED lights for the entire building
• West Chester Mechanical donated plumbing at a discount
• Home Depot donated all new kitchen appliances
• Aidan’s Heart Foundation and David’s Drive 831 donated an automated external defibrillator (AED)
• WorkTogether-Downingtown donated free interior design
• 3Spoons Productions donated free photos/videos
“This is a big deal for UWCC, and it was really a community effort to make it happen,” said Brian Parsons, chief operating officer of CTDI and chairman of the board of United Way of Chester County. “We expect this new site to provide physical and financial stability so that UWCC can continue to serve for decades to come. We are very grateful to everyone who supported this.”
An open house and ribbon cutting is scheduled for October 6, 2022 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.