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Coach K Needs Your Help!

Coach K, quite literally, is asking for your ideas for a project he’s working on, and, to the extent we can gather them up, we’d love to get your input and we’ll pass them along to his office. It's near and dear to his heart. Here’s the situation (it’s long, but please read it):

Coach K attends church at Immaculate Conception, a Catholic church on the west end of Durham. The neighborhood of the Parish is known as Burch Avenue neighborhood. At one time, it was the center of a vibrant African-American community in Durham. Over the past twenty years, however, it has suffered, like many urbans areas, from the problems of drugs, abandoned housing, violence, and unemployment. Median household income is $14,180, the poverty rate is 37% (with half the residents over 65 in poverty), and only 11% of the homes are owner-occupied.

Nonetheless, things are beginning to improve, but that turnaround is fragile. It is a very community-oriented neighborhood, with efforts by residents that are strong at heart but weak in financial resources and facilities. The West End Neighborhood Association has worked hard to stave off the area's problems as much as possible with a variety of community programs, especially ones targeted at the youth. As a result, crime has begun to fall significantly. The Parish, which has been at that location for 100 years, has been a vital part of that effort, with a parish school for elementary children and a small, rather inadequate, gymnasium.

Clearly, the current facilities cannot support the increased demand and a new facility is sorely needed. It is a crucial time for Burch Avenue, an area that calls Duke University its neighbor. As a result, the Parish, in conjunction with members of the neighborhood and community leaders, has developed a plan for what is being called “The Burch Avenue Center.” It will be a multi-purpose facility, with a gym at its core. It is designed to be a center of neighborhood activity, with programs designed to serve a cross-section of people. It is designed to contain (1) a regulation-size gym with locker rooms and showers, (2) an exercise and weight room, (3) meeting rooms, (4) a computer lab with state-of-the-art technology, (5) a food preparation kitchen, and (6) officers for the Director of the Center and for the Burch Avenue Neighborhood Association. The facility would be open for after school and summer programs, literacy training programs, health services, and athletic events. It be would a “safe place,” open most of the day and evening.

The cost for the facility is $3 million and another $1 million is needed to endow the programming. To date, about $750,000, including a very generous gift from Mike and Mickie Krzyzewski. Coach K has been designated as Chairman for this fundraising event.

Obviously, Coach K has done a great deal of work in raising funds for Duke and the Children’s Hospital. This, though, is a lot tougher task in many ways because it’s a neighborhood community center completely lacking any regional, much less national, base of support.

We know we have a lot of imaginative people and many well-connected people who read this site. To the extent that you know of individuals or companies who might be interested in helping out or if you can think of some creative and effective fundraising projects, Coach K very much wants your assistance and help. There are also naming opportunities available for major gifts. We can’t emphasize enough how strong Coach K is behind this project. Put it this way, Coach K is the head of this effort, and there’s no way if he’s in charge, he’s going to let it fail.

So, please drop us a line with any suggestions you have – people, companies, ideas, whatever. We will forward them on. We can also have additional information provided to you or your contacts if you’re interested.

Honestly, we really appreciate your help! Thanks so very much!