The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Spirit Center Youth Facility, Phase II

Grant Information
Categories Peace , Education , Environment
Location South Texas
Cycle Year 2013
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Fannie Bluntzer Nason Renewal Center, Inc. dba The Spirit Center
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Sherry Bowers, cfre, executive director
Phone 361-888-7537
2930 South Alameda
Corpus Christi
Additional Information
Used for On behalf of the Board of Directors of The Spirit Center, I respectfully request $5,000 from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation for Phase II, the Youth Facility of The Spirit Center. The Youth Facility includes building dining/multi-purpose activity center and two dormitories. Phase II is estimated to cost $ 3,791,853 to which we have raised $1,726,396.
Benefits The Spirit Center is an investment in both the health and well-being of the entire Catholic community. When parishioners take time out for spiritual refreshment on a retreat, the entire church body reaps the benefits including: •renewed and refreshed, parishioners are able to share the key truths that gave them a new perspective in their walk with Jesus Christ, •retreat possibility spreads through the congregation as they return to fellowship, •relationships at home are dealt with in a more positive and hopeful manner due to the chance to rest and find renewal in God, •revived and restored teachers and leaders are better prepared to encourage and minister, and Educational opportunities for nature studies and the effective use of natural resources.
Proposal Description History
The Congregation of Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament came to Texas in 1852 and to Corpus Christi in 1871. For over 160 years the Sisters have served in a variety of educational and spiritual ministries for the people of South Texas.

In 1964, the Sisters of the Incarnate Word received the Bluntzer homestead and the adjoining property as a bequest. Over the years, the property has been used by the Sisters and others for gatherings and retreats. In 1996, the Sisters reviewed good stewardship of the property to be used for viable ministry. Criteria included fidelity to the mission of the Congregation and the wise use of resources. A feasibility study for the expanded use of the property was completed in 1997, indicating a definite need for a place for spiritual development. A conceptual plan was drawn up and a proposal to develop the property approved. By spring of 2000, a covered pavilion and a number of campsites were completed.

Articles of Incorporation were filed in October, 2000 for the Fannie Bluntzer Nason Renewal Center, Inc. After receiving clear title to the Bluntzer property in December 2001, Articles of Incorporation were adopted and By-laws were approved. In October 2002, Fannie Bluntzer Nason Renewal Center, Inc. obtained 501c3 status and was included in the Diocese of Corpus Christi in the Official Catholic Directory.

In 2003, the Sisters established a Board of Directors, composed of lay persons representing various Christian denominations and Sisters, with delegated responsibilities to develop the renewal center for future use in serving the stated mission. Specific directions included the development of construction plans which use environmentally friendly and functionally efficient designs requiring minimal maintenance. As preliminary plans were being designed, the Board scheduled several meetings with users for input to insure that facilities would be practical and would meet the needs of the various user groups, including Walk to Emmaus, Journey to Damascus, ACTS, Search, Chrysalis, Marriage Encounter and various Family Life ministries.

The FBNRC, Inc. took time to review architectural plans and revisit the feasibility study, hire staff and begin a Capital Campaign. Today, we are seeking support from the community to underwrite The Spirit Center, a Catholic retreat facility open to people of other faiths.

Project Need
Serving our youth is essential to the well-being of our community. The Spirit Center will provide a wide array of opportunities for our youth to grow physically and spiritually most often through church and school youth retreats. Youth retreats have become a central feature of most youth ministry and campus ministry programs. The reason is simple: they are effective! There is perhaps no other single youth ministry program that yields more profound and long-lasting results. Consider these findings in the National Study of Youth and Religion: Analysis of the Population of Catholic Teenagers and their Parents (2004) "Young people who have participated in at least one retreat, rally, conference, mission trip, or extended service project report significant increases in: the closeness they feel to God, the degree of importance faith has in their daily lives, and how often they read the Bible alone."

And since they are so effective, more adult youth workers are planning and implementing youth retreats than ever before. Youth ministers regularly plan multiple retreats during a given year, addressing the unique needs of younger and older adolescents, leadership groups, youth with special needs, etc. Confirmation programs often feature retreats. Many parochial high schools have moved from one overnight retreat during a student's four-year career to at least one retreat per year for all students. Many schools now include retreats or multi-day camp experiences for their students. In short, retreat ministry has grown dramatically. More young people now have the opportunity to experience a variety of retreats through their parishes, elementary and high schools and youth related organizations.

Currently, the only Coastal Bend retreat center for youth is Camp Zephyr which is located over two hours away. The Spirit Center will offer a fresh and exciting retreat experience closer to home. In a beautiful, natural environment, our children can deepen their faith with a retreat, experience camp, enjoy a school related function, or other activities in a quiet, focused environment away from the distractions of everyday life.

FBNRC, a retreat and spirituality center, will offer facilities to groups and families within an environment of natural beauty and peace, for the spiritual, educational and social development of youth and adults.

Project Description
We can joyfully report that we have successfully completed Phase I of the Spirit Center project. Phase I included the creation, implementation, and completion of the feasibility study, architectural designs, engineering, planning, and other items. Phase I raised $2,623,620 from 275 donors which includes a lead gift from an anonymous donor of $1M.

Now in Phase II, we are focused on serving the youth of our community. Phase II will include building dining/activity center and two dormitories. The dining hall/activity center will provide a place for meals and activities. The multi-purpose space and two activity rooms will have a professionally designed and well equipped kitchen with a walk-in cooler and freezer. Space will include 60' x 68' with seating for 300, an outdoor kitchen, and BBQ. The two dormitories will provide accommodations for 96 for youth or adults in a safe, easy to monitor facility.

Phase II also includes raising the remaining $2.0 M to include securing a $1M lead gift, writing the closing campaign grants, implementing a robust Capital Campaign structure. Phase II is estimated to cost $3,791,853 to which we have raised $1,726,396 in cash and pledges.

Goals and Outcomes
Our ultimate goal is to provide the Coastal Bend community with a Catholic retreat facility open to people of other faiths. Our immediate goal is to break ground on the Spirit Center Phase II by 2015.

Upon completion, it is estimated that approximately 4,000 adults and children will visit the Center each year. The individuals and families that visit the Center will experience spiritual growth and enrichment that will positively impact their lives and the lives of their families for generations.