Jerry Forbes Centre for Community Spirit Executive Director Max Scharfenberger, left, and Marty Forbes, son of the late Jerry Forbes, pose for a photo at the Jerry Forbes Centre for Community Spirit, 12122 68 St., Monday June 24, 2019.
The Jerry Forbes Centre for Community Spirit celebrated its grand opening Monday, and it’s already helping non-profit organizations work for the Edmonton community.“It was a lot of relief, because it was finally finished, but it was more the joy of having the centre complete and being able to celebrate it with all of Edmonton. The number of charities that are beaming, and now so proud to call the Jerry Forbes Centre home, is just unbelievable,” said executive director Max Scharfenberger in a telephone interview.Twelve years in the making, the Jerry Forbes Centre raised over $12 million through corporate and government funding to purchase and renovate a 93,000-square-foot office and warehouse. The space, located at 12122 68 St., is now home to 18 Edmonton non-profits, including its founding three members: 630 CHED Santas Anonymous, The Christmas Bureau of Edmonton and The Edmonton Folk Music Festival Society. With some organizations operating in the space since October, the grand opening celebration was about showing it off to the community, Scharfenberger said.“The board of the directors deserves the kudos – they chose not to give up,” said Scharfenberger, who also noted the work of 630 CHED’s Doug Rutherford, former mayor Stephen Mandel, and federal Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi in helping the centre get built.The building was designed to help non-profits share resources and talent and provide a permanent home to local charities — even if they are only seasonal.“They’re all looking at how can we assist other charities, rather than how do we compete with them. We’re starting to see a real synergy and collaboration between charities in the centre,” said Scharfenberger.Having affordable access to quality, furnished administration space is also important to Edmonton non-profits, he said.At the centre there are only non-profits and they pay only their share of the building’s operating expenses.With its office area and warehouse space both almost full, centre staff also hope to help facilitate the work of its tenants, including offering educational presentations on topics like grant writing.“We have a very unique situation here. The centre is here to make the charities’ abilities to spread their goodness within Edmonton and the Edmonton region a reality,” said Scharfenberger.The centre is named in honour of Jerry Forbes, who founded 630 CHED Santas Anonymous in firstname.lastname@example.org