Kinship Partners, a nonprofit organization that matches at-risk children with adult mentors, is now in need of a new home.
The organization, which has been headquartered for the past 15 years at 402-1/2 S. Seventh St. on the second floor of the Qwest building in downtown Brainerd, learned in early June that its lease has been terminated. Qwest has chosen not to renew the lease and instead use the space for its business, said Kinship executive director Karla Berg. Kinship was initially given a 30-day notice in which to leave, but negotiated to stay in the current space until March 31, said Kevin Close, a Kinship board member.
Berg said Qwest, formerly U.S. West, was generous to let Kinship use the space for the past 15 years, allowing Kinship to pay only $166 a month for rent. But the hunt is on now for the organization to find a new but affordable place.
"In an ideal world we would like a downtown location so our kids can walk to our offices but we are really open to anything," said Berg. "It's more of a question of is the space appropriate and is the price feasible?"
Berg said she is hoping that people will step forward with ideas on a location for the organization. Kinship needs enough room for office space and an activity area where members can collect coats for the annual Coats for Kids drive and host activities for the various Kinship programs. She said Kinship isn't opposed to relocating in a home, rather than an office building.
"We're really open to any options that could work for us," said Berg.
"I feel confident we'll find a place," said Close. "I think we've always known we've had a real bargain upstairs. To find that kind of space at what Qwest was charging is probably impossible, but can we find a good space that somehow will suit Kinship's needs? I'm pretty confident about that. Hopefully someone from the community will step up with a facility we're not even thinking about."
When Cellular One learned about Kinship's need to move, the company donated $5,000 toward moving costs, said Berg.
Kinship also is searching for an executive director. Berg, who joined Kinship in May, has accepted a diplomatic position with the U.S. government.
Kinship Partners currently has 145 active partnerships between adults and children and has 49 children on a waiting list waiting for adult mentors. Kinship Partners also has an office in Pequot Lakes and serves all of Crow Wing County and southern Cass County.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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