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Child Advocacy Center raises money to receive $500,000 challenge grant

Detective Virgil Miller of the Exploited and Missing Child Unit gives a tour in the old Lincoln Elementary School in February. The building will be the new Child Advocacy Center.
Detective Virgil Miller of the Exploited and Missing Child Unit gives a tour in the old Lincoln Elementary School in February. The building will be the new Child Advocacy Center. File photo

The Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County has met its goal to get a $500,000 challenge grant from a foundation in Oklahoma.

“We are relieved and excited,” executive director Diana Schunn said Tuesday.

The center has raised $5.25 million of the $6.5 million needed to renovate the former Lincoln Elementary School just south of downtown Wichita for a new home for 55 employees from eight agencies that work with children who have been abused and neglected. The agencies include the Exploited and Missing Child Unit and the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

The center now works out of the basement of the Finney State Office Building.

The grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation was crucial to the center’s “Behind Closed Doors” campaign, as was a recent $1 million grant from Sedgwick County, Schunn said.

More than 300 people, businesses and foundations have contributed to the campaign, she said.

The center will continue talking to potential donors through March and “apply for any funding we might qualify for” to raise the remaining $1.25 million, Schunn said. That likely will include going to the city of Wichita for help.

“We still have them on our discussion list and anticipate doing that,” she said.

Although the campaign isn’t finished, Schunn said it was a relief that the challenge grant is out of the way.

“At least this time a half a million isn’t riding on it,” she said of remaining fundraising.

District Attorney Marc Bennett said the campaign’s success – this is the first time the center has conducted a multimillion-dollar campaign –“speaks to how supporting the community is for the project. For the last big push, we’re talking to folks about finishing up the drive and speaking to donors who are interested in seeing this project to its completion.”

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

How to donate

If you would like to donate to the Child Advocacy Center’s “Behind Closed Doors” campaign to renovate the former Lincoln Elementary School for use as a new home for the center, you may call 316-660-9494 or email executive director Diana Schunn at dschunn@cacsckansas.org.

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