Friends of The Spire
“Friends of The Spire is a committed group of Kingstonians who have imagined and are making this vision a reality. Friends has three goals: (1) to engage long-term community support for the project; (2) to develop and implement a sustainable business plan for The Spire; and (3) to ensure the sound management of the building on an ongoing basis.
This heritage building is an integral part of our city’s streetscape and recognized as a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture. It is a well-spring of creativity and inspiration – every week 1000-1200 Kingstonians use it to create music, to plan programs, to find counsel, to gather for learning and support. They know they are welcome regardless of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, economic circumstance, ability and challenges. But the building’s future is uncertain. Changing demographics, changing times and changing economics all call for a new vision and a new mandate.
Friends have a three-point plan to preserve and expand this resource, which will offer major economic and social benefits to the city – total cost $1.7M:
1. Make The Spire fully accessible: ensure that everyone can enjoy the space and that provincial standards are met with the addition of an elevator to the community spaces on the second floor and an additional accessible entrance.
2. Accommodate increased usage with improved washrooms and common spaces to meet public standards and the needs of large audiences.
3. Plan for the future with a $1,000,000 endowment fund that will support the long-term preservation and enhancement of the building.
Currently, there is no facility in the city that offers this combination of accessible space, multi-faceted programs and flexible use – and certainly not at the user fees that we offer. Accessibility is of the essence in order for The Spire to achieve its vision of being open to all. It is a core element of our plan tied to the city’s demographics, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) legislation and our location adjacent to the city’s downtown health care and education campuses. The Spire with its ample corridors, wide door passages, new elevator, improved street access and upgraded washrooms will meet or surpass every standard in this regard.
Accessibility is of the essence in order for The Spire to achieve its vision of being open to all. It is a core element of our plan tied to the city’s demographics, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) legislation and our location adjacent to the city’s downtown health care and education campuses. The Spire with its ample corridors, wide door passages, new elevator, improved street access and upgraded washrooms will meet or surpass every standard in this regard.
The Spire is a joint venture between the Friends and the Trustees of Sydenham Street United who will maintain accountability and liability for the physical asset. An expanded Building Management Group (BMG) (including membership from both parties) will be responsible for The Spire’s operations. The BMG will be guided by an annual business plan approved by the Trustees and accountable for the deliverables set out in the plan.
The timing for this proposal is ideal. Many generations of Kingstonians – congregation members, families and friends of Sydenham Street United – have contributed to the preservation and enhancement of the church building as it is known and loved today. In the last six months, members have stepped up again and have committed/raised nearly $700,000 to seed this project. This is in addition to over $2M the congregation has invested in the last twenty years to maintain and upgrade the building’s infrastructure (roofs, masonry, renovations, etc.). As a result, the building infrastructure is sound and in excellent condition. It stands as a fitting testament to clear vision and to the belief of generous benefactors – past and present – who have understood the importance of voluntary strategic investment and its value to the wider Kingston community.
Strong philanthropic support is essential to preserve this Kingston treasure and to realize the vision we have for The Spire. The foundation is in place – now is the time for the community to demonstrate its support. Generous personal and corporate contributions will make this transformation possible and will support our applications for a range of complementary grants. The Spire Community Campaign offers Kingstonians a unique opportunity to invest in this visionary project.
Friends of The Spire have a comprehensive plan for acknowledging and celebrating donations. All contributions are eligible for a charitable tax receipt. Donors will be invited to periodic Donor Recognition Events; the names of Donors will be included in campaign publications and on The Spire’s Donor Wall. There are naming opportunities, which are outlined in The Spire’s Donor Recognition Plan.
A prominent leader from the Kingston business community summed up the opportunity in these words: “I think the concept is very good. This is a choice building – part of the ‘essential Kingston’. $1M is not a lot. Get a commitment from the users and ask the community to match their gifts. Remind donors of all the volunteer energy that is/will be nurtured and generated here.”