Dr. Bernie Machen supports GRACE campaign with editorial in Gainesville Sun

Bernie Machen: Help homeless center reach full potential


Although not yet two years have passed since Grace Marketplace opened its doors, it has already become a center of help, healing and hope in our community.

Grace has served more than 2,300 people over 120,000 meals. It has provided nearly 28,000 nights of shelter.

Grace meets its clients where they stand and walks with them toward a better future by providing meals, shelter and other immediate needs while connecting them with essential services. These services include medical care, job training and skill building, mental health services and more. Grace makes this possible by providing space on campus for other community services providers — often space that is shared with numerous providers.

Grace’s early success represents a truly remarkable launch of a much-needed community resource. Kudos to the Alachua County Commission and Gainesville City Commission for their bipartisan support and encouragement. They have been generous in providing both operating and start-up funding. Congratulations also to the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry, which operates Grace on behalf of the city and county.

As much progress as Grace has made, it has not yet reached its full potential. Most pressingly, many more local agencies that want to provide services at Grace have no facility to do so. To try to address this deficiency, I am soliciting community support to renovate one of the original buildings on the site.

The Community Services Building will significantly expand the agencies that can participate at Grace. Some of the services to be added to the current array include: expanding veterans’ services; dedicating space for more frequent 12-step meetings; creating a women’s safe space where women can meet with domestic violence service providers such as Peaceful Paths; providing room for additional mental health services from Meridian Behavioral Healthcare; and expanding case management offerings by Grace staff and other community providers.

A generous donor has agreed to match up to $125,000 in gifts to renovate the Community Services Building. The project will cost twice that amount, so this is a huge opportunity! The gift expires May 31, 2016, which means we need help now.

Gifts in any amount will be matched. There are naming opportunities associated with this project, so donors or donating organizations can become visibly identified with Grace, if desired. The Community Foundation of North Central Florida will process and certify these tax-deductible gifts.

Please consider this opportunity to continue Grace’s forward progress as it provides compassion and assistance to those most in need in our community. You can call or email Jon DeCarmine atjdecarmine@gracemarketplace.org, (352) 792-0800, ext. 106. 


This article was posted in the opinions section of the Gainesville Sun on Friday, April 15th. To read the article at the Sun’s website, click here

For more information on GRACE’s Community Services Center campaign or to make a donation, click here


GRACE to launch campaign for new Community Services Center

We’ve been able to do a lot in our first two years. More than 2,300 individuals have been served over 120,000 meals and nearly 28,000 nights of shelter.

But we’ve got a longer-range plan.

We’re excited to announce that we’ll soon undergo renovations to open a new Community Services Center to provide support to anyone in need in the Gainesville area, not just those who are experiencing homelessness.

We’ve cultivated relationships with many important resources that serve our residents, but we’re running out of room! Our new Community Services Center will offer expanded service hours and a more diverse pool of resources available to our community.
Right now, our service providers share office space and equipment. Some even work remotely, serve our residents from mobile facilities in the parking lot or pull up a chair with them inside our busy Welcome Center. We add new services all the time, and are almost at capacity for what we can provide in these shared spaces.

Your support of this building gives us room to grow, opening up possibilities such as:

  • Daily 12-step meetings
  • A safe space for women
  • Expanded services for Veterans
  • An activity room for recreational and income-generating activities
  • Expanded mental health services
  • On-site medical services
  • Expanded case management
  • Other community providers not currently able to participate at GRACE

Our renovation plans will provide more room for us to grow and further our mission to be a permanent fixture of Gainesville’s resource community. But we need your help!

A generous donor has offered to match all funds raised before May 31st, up to $125,000. 

To get involved:

Donate now to double your impact

Set up a fan page to share this exciting opportunity with your friends

Read an editorial piece in the Gainesville Sun from former UF President, Dr. Bernie Machen (full text available here)



For more information about making a donation, starting your own fundraiser for our campaign, or The Community Services Center in general, contact kslevin@gracemarketplace.org or call (352) 792-0800 x. 117

Brought to you as part of the Community Foundation’s Amazing Give Amazing Give Footer