After more than eight years of renting café space at 2922 Central St. in Evanston, the non-profit organization Curt’s Café has raised the funds needed to purchase the building.

Curt’s Café founder Susan Trieschmann says the outpouring of generosity and community support will cement the organization’s future serving young adults living in at-risk situations by providing work and life skills training.

Board President Rick Marsh says more than $79,000 was raised toward buying the building.

“Throughout the fundraising process for the building fund, we had donors and supporters who really helped us by contributing to our effort to make this happen. We can’t thank them enough. We couldn’t have taken this important step without them,” Marsh says.

The purchase is being financed through IFF, a mission-driven lender to non-profits.

The purchase will enable the group receive tax benefits as the non-profit owner of the property, saving about $30,000 annually.

“Every dollar saved by owning our building can go directly to supporting our mission,” Trieschmann, who’s also the group’s executive director, says.

The building at 2920-2922 Central St. has been owned by 2920 Central, LLC, which is managed by Trieschmann. Lori Dube, a spokesperson for Curt’s, says, “The property was valuated by the bank and the seller gave Curt’s Café $10,000 of the valued price.”

With the purchase will come capital to make improvements to the café and its kitchen, as well as other initiates to ensure the long-term viability of the organization.

The upgrades “will have a positive impact on our training program,” says Trieschmann. “We also will have the funds to upgrade the exterior of the Cafe to make it more attractive and functional, and better able to compete in Evanston’s coffee shop market. Finally, we will be saving money the way our new loan is structured, it will reduce our property tax obligation and that benefits our program and the organization’s bottom line.”

The commitment to buying the building has not gone unnoticed by Curt’s students, according to Trieschmann. “Some of them have said, ‘This must mean you are going to be around for awhile.’” she says with a laugh. “Owning our building shows our students and the community that we are serious about what we are doing, we are right where we want to be, and that we aren’t going anywhere. This is our home.”

Marsh says, “It’s also an important step for us as we go out into the community to solicit funds from individuals and foundations to demonstrate that our program is going to be sustainable. We are making a commitment that says we are in this for the long run, we believe in this work, and we are driving this program for long term success.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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