Birth center raising funds for new building, more services

Merchants offer portion of Saturday's revenues to center for building project

Posted: Friday, January 23, 2004

The Juneau Family Birth Center, which hopes to raise $2.7 million for a new building that would house more services, is making progress.

The nonprofit center off Hospital Drive would receive $150,000 under the governor's capital budget to help buy the land. The center has raised $62,000 so far in its year-old campaign, including a recent $10,000 grant from the Skaggs Foundation of Juneau, said Kaye Kanne, the birth center's executive director.

On Saturday, 13 local businesses will participate in Retail Day to raise money for the birth center. Businesses are donating 10 percent of their sales from at least part of their services that day.

"It seems like a good cause, a good event," said Ron Flint, owner of participating Nugget Alaskan Outfitter. "I've got a couple of kids of my own."

Alaskan & Proud market in Juneau will donate 10 percent of its retail sales from Saturday, said Ben Williams, president of A&P's parent company in Ketchikan, Williams. That could amount to $3,000 to $4,000, he said.

"It seemed like a worthwhile project and there was a definite need in the community. There seemed to be a lot of support for the project if the business community would pony up," Williams said.

Each year, the birth center uses midwives to assist in about 80 births a year - 20 percent of Juneau's total births - and it provides prenatal care to about 40 women, as well as classes for pregnant women and parents, the center said.

The birth center, now at 3,600 square feet, wants to construct a 10,000-square-foot building overlooking a Salmon Creek waterfall. Buying the land, owned by former Juneau resident Joe Henri of Anchorage, and developing the site will cost $450,000, Kanne said.

If the center can raise that amount locally, it will seek funds from foundations to construct the building. Some foundations already have expressed an interest in helping, Kanne said.

Landowner Henri and the architect, Jeff Robertson of Juneau, have donated $105,000 in services, Kanne said.

The larger quarters would allow the center to offer more services to families, in addition to its birthing services.

"We would like to provide parenting support for parents of kids up to the teen years, because people need that," Kanne said.

The new center would offer pediatric care, well-woman care, family counseling, child care, parenting workshops, exercise classes, family activities such as storytelling, a school for midwives and possibly space for other nonprofits' programs.

"It's a need in the community - social services for families," Kanne said. "To have a facility that is kind of a campus of facilities in one place and create that web of support in one place is really important."

The center would employ the same number of midwives as it does now, three, but would add a pediatrician, a well-woman practitioner, social workers and educators, Kanne said.

The businesses participating in Retail Day on Saturday are: Alaskan & Proud market, Foodland Super Drug, Good Hardware, Juneau Drug, Rainbow Foods, Friendly Planet, Kim's Kloset, Hangar on the Wharf, Gourmet Alaska, Southeast Artworks, House of Gifts, East and West and Nugget Alaskan Outfitter.

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