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Investors still bullish on Bainbridge

"Can island philanthropy thrive in a down market?If you're bullish on Bainbridge, there's plenty of opportunity to beef up your portfolio as various local fund drives run through the spring.We were reminded as much after morning coffee this week with the Marge Williams Center board.Regular readers of this space know we've backed this project from the start, to create a permanent home on Winslow Way for five island non-profit agencies and a nexus for local social services, and have been offering regular updates on its progress. The board's report, unfortunately, didn't match analysts' projections - seems to be a lot of that going around lately - and the project is looking to raise a new round of capital.Fundraising efforts have surpassed the original goal of $420,000, but board members Kate Carruthers and Ed Kushner report that the goal has been bumped up by $35,000 in cash and building materials, to $455,000. Even so, the facility's progress is remarkable, more so for the amount of volunteer labor that has gone into it.My original vision was if we could get new paint and new carpet and patch the roof, we'd be home, Kushner told us this week. This is virtually a new building.Having toured the building several times of late, we wholeheartedly agree. Now, materials donations to finish outfitting the interior would take the Williams Center board a long toward their goal - perhaps you want to sponsor the door of the Land Trust office, or the carpet in the Arts and Humanities Council space. The move-in date has been pushed back a month to April 1; organizers guarantee a grand opening and community celebration, 1-4 p.m. May 19.To get involved, call the center at 842-5666.* * * * *For those looking to diversify, leading houses have also put a Buy next to two other fund drives:KidsUp! playground: Moms and kids are working furiously toward a goal of $150,000 for a highly elaborate play area to be constructed at Battle Point Park.The group's next community event will be Picket Dance for the family, 6-9 p.m. March 24, with two bands, child-friendly food and raffle prizes amongst the fare. Groundbreaking for the playground project is May 15, with the work to be completed within five days. As the labor is all volunteer, they're looking for tools as well as cash; for more information, see www.kidsup.org.The new pool: We also had occasion to tour the new aquatic facility this week, the scope and quality of which should certainly come as surprise to even the most optimistic swimmers - the phrase new pool won't do it much justice. As we noted here several weeks back, park officials and volunteers are undertaking a $900,000 fund drive to supplement the $4.5 million construction levy; call 842-2306 to get involved.Even with the stock market in disarray, we're confident islanders still want to invest in a sound community - and here are some hot buys. Guaranteed returns, and no broker's fees. "

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