Since 1986, hundreds of women facing an unexpected pregnancy have turned The Perry Center for help. The West Fargo-based organization has provided these women, ranging from ages 12 to 30, with compassionate residential care that tends to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
For many of its residents it has been a Godsend, providing them with a pathway out of an abusive relationship or homelessness. For others, it has been a refuge from human trafficking. Those who have been the victims of rape have found care that has enabled them to slowly recover from their unimaginable trauma.
Unfortunately, there is no letup in the need for the services The Perry Center provides. Executive Director Nathaniel Douglas says, in 2022, the organization served 59 women seeking life transformation in a residential setting. Additionally, the organization provided services to another 268 families facing difficulties requiring baby supply support.
A Life Transformation Program
“Our maternity home program is a life transformation program, which means that we are a long-term program,” says Douglas. “We let residents know that their stay is indefinite. Success is different for each woman that we serve, and our goal is that when they choose to leave The Perry Center that they are ready for independence and clear a path to reach their goals.”
The Perry Center fulfills this promise by continuing to work with former residents through mentoring services and continuous follow-up to ensure they continue towards a healthy life for themselves and their baby.
Central to The Perry Center’s efforts is Tender Hearts Daycare. Established in 2013, the daycare serves both residents of The Perry Center’s maternity home and families in the Fargo community.
“We serve children from newborns to age 6. Our goal is to not be a daycare, but carry over our life transformation values to the children we serve. Our desire is to let children know that they can make a big impact in their families and community,” said Douglas.
Tender Hearts Daycare not only provides quality-rated child care but also employment opportunities for The Perry Center residents who qualify.
“When we talk about life transformation, what better way to do that than childcare. Most families do not move from one daycare to the next, and so even when a Perry Center resident moves to independence, we continue to see them on a regular basis while we serve their child for six years,” Douglas notes.
NDOF Allows Tender Hearts to Expand
Like all daycares in North Dakota, demand and space have been outpacing ability. That’s where the North Dakota Opportunity Fund stepped in to help.
The NDOF collaborated with Bell Bank of Fargo and the Bank of North Dakota to finance a recent renovation and expansion of the daycare.
Matt Burthold, LCD Group commercial lending director, reports NDOF funds were able to finance the local community match for BND’s Flex PACE Interest Rate Buydown.
“The North Dakota Opportunity Fund allowed our organization to expand our daycare facility to double our capacity, double our space, and double our impact,” says Douglas, who reports that as of April 2023, Tender Hearts Daycare will be able to serve up to 30 children. Additionally, this has created six new employment opportunities. “We are fully staffed and already operating at capacity.”
Douglas first learned of the North Dakota Opportunity Fund through the organization’s lender, Doug Burchill with Bell Bank.
“Burchill shared the positive impact this program would have on our project and connected us with Lewis and Clark Development Group,” says Douglas.
“Working with Lewis and Clark Development Group was a great experience. The process was immensely clear and straightforward. The impact is already noticeable,” Douglas adds with appreciation.
While the process was textbook for NDOF, the project was especially satisfying for Burthold and Lewis & Clark Development Group.
“We work on many projects and serve many clients, but I’ll be honest, this project was, I think, especially rewarding,” admits Burthold. “We had a part in helping The Perry Center continue their incredible work assisting mothers, young children, and struggling families. It doesn’t get much more satisfying than that.”
About the North Dakota Opportunity Fund
Lewis & Clark Development Group oversees the North Dakota Opportunity Fund, an innovative program that leverages private lending to help small businesses and manufacturers attain the financing needed to expand and create jobs.
Businesses located in the NDOF consortium of 38 municipalities are eligible for participation in the program. NDOF financing can be used for: construction, equipment, working capital, real estate, and interim SBA 504 loans.
Since 2012, the NDOF has disbursed $29.9 million in loan proceeds.
Click here for more information about the North Dakota Opportunity Fund or contact LCD Group Commercial Lending Director Matt Burthold at (701) 667-7601 or at email@example.com today.