MILTON — The Improved Milton Experience (TIME) and DIG Furniture Bank (DIG) have launched a collaborative three-year capital campaign for regional advancement.
The announcement was made during the fifth annual TIME Bash by George Venios, executive director of TIME, and Emily Gorski, executive director of DIG.
The campaign, named Central PA’s TIME to SHINE, is divided into three projects designed to enhance regional collaboration, and honor the past, present and future of the regional Central Pennsylvania communities.
The first project is named The Degenstein Downtown Center, in honor of its Legacy Sponsor, The 1994 Charles B. Degenstein Foundation. TIME has leased two buildings on South Front Street in downtown Milton to renovate for the benefit of the community. A secondary building will house a regional business incubator and office space, in partnership with Bucknell University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The Degenstein Downtown Center will be the new home of DIG Furniture Bank, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides gently used furniture and household items to local families in need.
“Personally, I’ve been working with TIME for the past year to help with various marketing endeavors,” said Gorski. “In getting to know more about TIME’s vision, George Venios and I quickly saw overlapping interests and goals with TIME and DIG, and have been brainstorming program and partnership ideas ever since.”
Gorski said the Furniture Bank is moving from Mifflinburg to Milton.
“This move will give us much more space for the storage of our abundant gently used furniture and household donations,” Gorski said. “It’ll also give us the opportunity to offer an in-person shopping experience for our clients to elevate their experience of furnishing their homes. We intend to significantly expand our volunteer opportunities as well for people of all ages and abilities.”
In addition, she said a public storefront along South Front Street will provide individuals with the opportunity to purchase unique donations the organization receives. This will be an additional fundraising source for DIG.
According to Venios, TIME reached out to Gorski approximately one year ago to discuss nonprofit connections. Eventually, the nonprofit decided to move to Milton.
“We are moving all operations to this Milton location, and intend to be there for as long as possible,” Gorski said. “Milton is far more central to our three-country service region than our previous Mifflinburg location.”
She said Northumberland County is DIG’s most-served area, primarily in the Shamokin and Mount Carmel areas. In addition to Union County, the organization serves Union and Snyder counties.
“We hope to serve more clients as well as engage with more volunteers and donors at our new location,” Gorski said. “In 2022, we’ve provided over 200 families with furnishings and household items. We hope to serve at least 300 families in 2023.
“We will be posting several new volunteer opportunities as we open up our new space, including personal shoppers that will help during client appointments, repair/woodworking specialists, shop attendants for our public storefront, and more,” she added.
The second project to be funded is temporarily being referred to as the Central PA MakerSpace Academy, which offers exclusive naming rights for a future identified Legacy Sponsor.
According to a press release, the Milton Moose Family Center in downtown Milton hosts the main office of the MakerSpace Academy, an initiative that engages community members of all ages and abilities in five trades-focused learning modules.
“Milton’s long past of manufacturing has been taken into consideration and the goal will be to have some sort of business that will design and build furniture items to support DIG’s mission in the maker space program,” Venios said. “We’re seeking major donors (Legacy Sponsors) and those contributing towards the project the most will get special naming rights to the building. We greatly appreciate the Degenstein Foundation as they’ve already donated $350,000 towards the campaign. We’re looking for several other Legacy Sponsors.
The third project is temporarily referred to as the Center for Environmental Studies, which also offers exclusive naming rights for a future Legacy Sponsor.
TIME has acquired the former Milton Municipal Building on South Front Street, along known as the Miltonian, to renovate into a space for regional studies in partnership, with Bucknell University. This project will support expanded educational opportunities for Bucknell students studying the local cultural and environmental past and present through this unique future field station.
“The TIME organization is becoming more regional in it’s programming as is the DIG Furniture Bank,” Venios said. “There’s going to be a presence in how we approach our partners and keeping in mind a more regional approach.”
“DIG is very intentional about contributing to the revitalization of downtown Milton and our greater Central PA region,” Gorski said. “In addition to serving clients, we work hard at engaging various businesses, individuals, and groups to expand our programming and bring awareness to the various events and resources available in our region.
“One of the projects is DIG’s larger capital campaign to fund the renovation and long-term establishment of our new space,” she continued. “We hope to raise at least $250,000 through our specific project in this collaborative campaign.”