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We’re Kicking Off “The Harkey Challenge” to Fund Restoration Work

Soon after Hurricane Ian struck its blow on our Islands, the Sanibel Community Association (SCA) moved quickly to begin restoration work on the Sanibel Community House, realizing the importance of getting the facility back into service as soon as possible. With so many Island groups relying on the Community House for their activities, and with so many places shut down by the storm, the need for a large community meeting space would be critically important. It’s a role the Community House has filled for nearly 100 years. 

The building itself suffered extensive storm damage, and much of the contents were ruined by the floodwater and had to be replaced. Furniture, tables, chairs, computers, office and AV equipment, kitchen appliances and service ware were all lost. So there was much work to be done. However, thanks to the fast start with restoration efforts, work is now close to being completed. After reopening portions of the building in stages over the past few months, the House is close to being fully operational. To celebrate the restoration progress and the resilience of the Islands, a community social gathering “Community Reunited” will be held at the Community House on Saturday, September 30th from 2-5pm. All are invited to attend, so mark your calendars.

In conjunction with that celebration, SCA has announced a special fundraising effort to cover the Community House restoration costs. Insurance has provided some help, but after insurance proceeds the remaining cost of restoring the House is projected to be $2,200,000, a significant sum. Fortunately, Islanders have a history of stepping up to support the Community House. For almost 100 years, it has operated as a non-profit operated solely by membership fees, user fees and donor support. And following Hurricane Ian, the community is already stepping up to help.

Leading the charge are Islanders Laurie and Bill Harkey, who have contributed a total of $1,000,000 for Community House restoration (in addition to their support for numerous other Island non-profits!). The Harkey’s have earmarked half of that commitment, $500,000, as a challenge to the rest of the Island community to join them in closing the gap to fund Community House restoration costs. In honor of that, SCA’s fundraising effort will be known as “The Harkey Challenge”. All who appreciate the history and the importance of the Community House are invited to join the effort with their support, however big or small.  

We are truly grateful to Laurie & Bill Harkey for stepping up and creating this opportunity. We can never say “Thank You” enough for helping to restore the historical heartbeat of the Islands!

Numerous people and organizations have already responded to “The Harkey Challenge”. For example, Salli and Billy Kirkland made an early commitment to be a part of the effort.

Said Salli: “The Community House is a vital resource for our Island population, and we are happy to help build it back. We held so many family parties, employee celebrations, community events and even our wedding dinner dance at The House… it is hard to imagine what we all would have done over the years without the facility. The folks who contributed to building the original “House” back in 1927 gave us a treasure we must preserve.”

Another long-time supporter and past President of SCA’s Board, Marge Meek echoed Salli’s thoughts: “The people of Sanibel have always stepped forward to support the Community House, and I have no doubt they will do so again to get it back on its feet.“

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, which has been a long-time supporter of the House since the bank opened its doors in the early 2000’s, was one of the first Island businesses to step up to help the cause.

Said President & CEO Kyle DeCicco: “As a Sanibel-born business and the only bank chartered on the Island, we’ve made it a priority to help maintain such an important piece of Island history. We believe an Island jewel like The Community House is crucial to maintaining the rich traditions of the Islands, so we decided early-on to donate $50,000. We hope others will join us and the Harkey’s to help keep alive the community spirit and resources the House provides.” 

Those who are ready to step up and join “The Harkey Challenge” can do so by: 

Clicking the “Count me in!” button above or “Click Here to Donate” below to make your secure donation online; or if you would prefer to mail in a check, please make it payable to “Sanibel Community Association” and write “Harkey Challenge” in the memo field.

Our mailing address is:

Sanibel Community Association
2173 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel, FL 33957

You can also call The Community House at (239) 472-2155 to make special arrangements for your gift.

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