A community care center for Olympia is $300,000 closer to its funding goal after the 28th annual Christmas Forest fundraiser put on by the Providence St. Peter Foundation.
The event raised a total of $650,000 this year — the second year in a row the event has broken its record, said Peter Brennan, executive director of the foundation. Last year’s Christmas Forest fundraiser raised about $635,000.
The community care center will be designed to help people navigate social services, including access to behavioral health care, addiction treatment and housing.
“We’re very excited that the community has stepped forward together to support this need,” Brennan said.
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The foundation board will consider providing a total of $1.5 million for the center, Brennan added. Providence is set to be a partner in the new center, along with 10 other nonprofits, including Behavioral Health Resources, Capital Recovery Center and Interfaith Works.
“It’s the next big step,” Brennan said.
When the center opens, social services agencies will be located together to work as an integrated resource. Center staff will coordinate individuals’ care among multiple partner agencies. An advanced registered nurse practitioner will provide direct psychiatric health care, improving access to psychiatric medication when needed, and a case manager will support individuals in the short term while connecting them to long-term solutions.
The timeline on creating the center depends on the needs of the site, which has not been selected yet, Brennan said.
The $350,000 not earmarked for the community care center will fulfill the foundation’s mission of providing care for the poor and vulnerable.
The Christmas Forest is best known for its dozens of beautifully decorated trees and wreaths publicly displayed in the main ballroom of the Red Lion Hotel in west Olympia. Those trees are eventually auctioned off during a black-tie gala early in the Christmas season.
Christmas Forest has raised more than $9 million since its beginning.
Rolf Boone contributed to this report.