Stonehill Communities completes fundraising campaign for new services

A multimillion-dollar fundraising campaign has allowed Stonehill Communities to launch a new line of memory care services and provide updated amenities to residents.

The Dubuque nonprofit recently concluded its Embracing Community: The Story Continues capital campaign, which raised nearly $3.1 million in about 20 months via contributions from 885 individuals. In addition, the Stonehill Benevolent Foundation provided $5 million toward the cost of the project, and bond financing also is being used.

The total cost of the renovations was just more than $13 million, according to Gretchen Brown, president and CEO of Stonehill Communities.

She said planning for the project began about five years ago when Stonehill sought to close a gap in its services.

“We had skilled memory care, and we had traditional assisted living and independent living, but what we did not have was assisted-living memory care,” she said. “We have a very extensive, continuous service, and that was the only gap we identified that we needed to add to our service line.”

To meet this need, 14 assisted-living memory care apartments have been added to Assisi Village. These apartments, which opened in January, are designed for residents with memory issues who can benefit from targeted programming and cognitive stimulation but who might not need physical assistance with daily activities such as bathing or walking.

The renovation also included the addition of 10 traditional assisted-living apartments, which also opened in January along with a new skybridge to connect Stonehill Communities Health Center and Assisi Village.

Brown said the bridge was designed with the practical purpose of allowing residents, families and staff to move between the buildings without going outside, particularly during the winter. However, it has also become a symbol of positivity and connection.

“The visual of the skybridge has been really important in showing that this is one campus, one community, with all these different resources,” she said.

Executive Director of Development Amy Schauer said the opening of the skybridge during the COVID-19 pandemic also was meaningful.

“The timing of it was crucial,” she said. “It became a literal beacon of hope for better days ahead.”

The renovations also included a new chapel and expansions to Assisi Village’s amenities such as the kitchen, dining room, sun porch and other gathering spaces. Work on these amenities will conclude in late June.

“Assisi was built about 20 years ago, and it was built strictly for independent living,” Brown said. “In those 20 years, we’ve evolved into adding assisted living, three meals a day and many more amenities, so we needed to update the commons areas.”

Brown said the new apartments have been well-received by the community. Eight of the 14 assisted-living memory care apartments are spoken for, as are nine of the 10 new assisted-living apartments.