Staff and community of the Aliveness Project are looking forward to moving into their new space on Nicollet Avenue in Kingfield, which looks like it may happen by next summer, according to the organization's Director of Fundraising and Special Events Tim Marburger.
The Aliveness Project was founded in 1985 as an alternative source of empowerment, services and support for those living with HIV/AIDS. The organization offers food support, sends out speakers and provides therapy that augments other HIV/AIDS treatments.
Currently located at 730 38th Street in Minneapolis, the project will move just as soon as enough money is raised to cover the moving process, which will likely be five or six months. It has currently raised about $750,000 toward their $2.5 million goal, according to Marburger. Aliveness needs to raise at least $1.6 million in order to begin the move.
The new space will mean better care for the people that Aliveness services. "It's going to be fantastic," Marburger said. The need for services provided by Aliveness Project has been increasing recently, Marburger said, due to the economy. The new building will mean the organization can serve twice as many people at a time.
While the current building has served the organization very well, for a variety of reasons they have outgrown it, he said.
For one thing, the current building is inaccessible, which is a problem especially as the population of people with HIV age. In the current building, people who are unable to climb the stairs can use the therapy room downstairs for massages or other services, but the clients have to go through the kitchen. They have to "get their massage while looking at peas and peanut butter," Marburger said. The new building will have an elevator, which means that it will be accessible to all.
The current building used to have five therapy rooms that were used for integrative therapies such as massage and shiatsu. Recently, they had to renovate one of the therapy rooms into offices for social workers in order to maintain privacy, which reduced the number of therapies that they were able to offer, according to Marburger. The new building will also provide more space, which will allow the organization to increase their services, upping the number of therapy rooms from three to eight.
Their current space gets even more crowded during the holiday season when the organization prepares holiday baskets filled with treats for people with HIV/AIDs. They have to close down an additional therapy room and the library to accommodate the holiday baskets program.
The new space will also provide greater flexibility in their food shelf program. In their current space, the organization can only provide food three times a week. Marburger said that in their new space, they hope to expand the service to five days a week. They will also be able to expand to using fresh produce, and will be able to save money by being able to store excess food that a company might donate. Every once in a while, Marburger said, the organization gets a call from Second Harvest or another group that has an extra palette of cereal or green beans. "We just don't have the space right now," he said.
The move also means the Aliveness Project will be neighbors with Blackbird Café, which has partnered with the Aliveness Project in the past for the Dining Out for Life annual fundraising event. "We're happy to have the Aliveness Project in the neighborhood," said Blackbird owner Gail Mollner, who said she's enjoyed participating in Dining Out for Life in the past. "We're looking forward to the 2011 Dining Out for Life—it will be great for the corner of 38th and Nicollet."
The organization is very excited about moving into the Kingfield Neighborhood, which "seems to be in a phoenix mode," Marburger said. "It's a really cool neighborhood."