6% of $1,000,000 goal
Fundraiser since Mar 2021
Share Dan Orzechowski's Page
Save The Bridge Block Party
Sunday from 1:00 PM - 8:00 PM EDT
An outdoor celebration at the Bridge to showcase more of our community and help raise more funds to continue our mission. We will have live entertainment, food, auctions, and more. Please ear a mask and keep a safe distance.
We are throwing a Block Party April 17th to celebrate! This is an outdoor event. All are welcome, but capacity limits must be observed, Masks and Social Distancing required. The ticket is free and we are suggesting that all attendees make a $10 donation to help support the cost of planning the event.
Update as of April 1st: The two-week deadline has come and gone, and our message to the community is...We're still here, and IT'S NOT OVER!
Update as of April 9th:
Worcester has shown us so much support over the course of this fundraiser, Thank you all so much! We have about 85 days until the sale of this building is final, and we are going to make the most of it! There is still a possibility that this buy might back out and we have secured fair amount of support from local investors. As we've said in the past, we are willing to explore relocation as a last resort, but we have identified a short list of acceptable buildings to purchase, in the event that we cannot stay in our current home.
Update as of April 15th:
There have been significant efforts to improve the safety and comfort of our outdoor spaces. We have been patching pavement, fixing railings, and even have moved the Mini Ramp (donated by WORCIDE DIY ) outside in our courtyard for the community to continue to use while the building is not accessible. We've recieved hundreds of dollars in donated construction materials for this task and are working diligently to provide a safe, accessible space for our guests Saturday and will have over 20 volunteers on site to make sure everything runs smoothly. We are still without access to the interior space of the building until the sprinkler system is fixed.
Bridgefest Crew have been painting murals all month and we have hosted several safe, socially distant, outdoor events. Bridgefest is our Mural Festival that we plan to continue hosting no matter our home. Bridgefest is sponsored by Benjamin Moore & Co, Barrows Hardware and Topochico Sparkling Water so please take some time to thank them for their contribution to this magical space
Worcester Community Fridges continues to have a home here for one of their community fridges and we continue to support their work closely. and any Mutual Aid programs they have been involved
The R & R Jerk Trailer has opened for business for the season and our food truck incubator program has been supporting their growth by coordinating permitting, site needs, trash removal, health and safety guidelines and social media promotion.
Due to the overwhelming support you all have shown, the situation has changed. We can't share all the details yet, but we wanted this entire community to know that this vision and this fight are still very much alive!
Stay tuned to our social media
@stb508 on Twitter
@savethbridge508 on Instagram we will be sharing updates, calls to action, and ways to continue support. SAVE THE BRIDGE!
We still Need $1,000,000 for purchasing the building and land, but we are so much closer than we were when this campaign began. We have had conversations with the City and the State to find a solution to this problem. We have a plan of action and it is only a matter of time until we can lay it all on the table!
Currently, the Sargent Card Clothing Factory (built 1866) is home to The Bridge Academy and Community Center, a vibrant community of artists, educators and crafts people. The factory and the diner share a single deed owned by a trust, and they have a sale for $950,000. Our landlord, the current owner, has generously given us a 2 week grace period to match the current offer and it starts today, March 16th 2021.
The Miss Worcester
The building just across the street once housed the Worcester Lunch Car Company, the very birthplace of the American Diner, and the birthplace of the Miss Worcester. Now a busy and successful landmark, the Miss Worcester has survived hard times as well. This diner was brought back from the brink of demolition by its Owner, Operator and Local Firebrand Kim Kniskern, and she has been a fierce steward of the site for nearly ten years and built it into a niche and quirky mainstay in our local restaurant cuture. not to mention you can catch the mayor there almost any morning of the week.
No stranger to tribulations herself, Kim has shown tenacity for her community and in return they have also defended her and the Miss Worcester Fiercely, like when she defended her business against Harley Davidson, and negotiated a compromise with community support, all while grieving for the loss of her beloved husband Robert F. "BK" Kniskern, Jr. All the hardship has never stopped her from striving, and supporting her community through spaghetti suppers, fundraisers, breakfast drives and tshirt sales in her busy business . Even when the place is packed, Kim is never stressed, always cool. Always has a plan. The Bridge is fully committed to supporting Kim in her ownership and stewardship of the Miss Worcester.
KIm had this to say :
“I would really like to see Dan and his people end up with the property because, all these nice days we’ve been having, it’s just such a good vibe out there,” said Kniskern. “I love to see the music out there playing and the food truck out there, and me over here working, and artists outside painting and the community getting together, people all around outside. It’s just a really good vibe.”
The Sargent Card Clothing Building,
One of the city's last standing 19th Century Mills, built in 1866 by the Sargent Brothers, 300 Southbridge has been through all of Worcesters ups and downs right alongside its people. The current ownership is a Trust under control of the Talbert family, who also have been through a lot with Worcester. Local entrepreneurs who built a trading company into the building in the years after the Second World War. It was refitted with updated amenities and the building lived on through 80 more years of supporting dozens of Worcester families. They always took pride of family ownership of the building. Unfortunately, since the passing of the Family Patriarc passed in the late eighties, the family trustees have not been as able to make use of the space. The building has become more of a burden. Younger family members with young families and careers would be be happy to enjoy the profits from the building sale. So the building has been on the market since. Only now, has the property become a hot commodity. It sits on one of the very last cobblestone streets in Worcester, Sargent Street.
What do we do here?
A Trade education program for young people (14-21), with a focus on those who are at risk of, or currently suffering from the effects poverty. Providing trade skills and community leadership skill in partnership with local trade unions to establish trade school curriculum including all disciplines necessary to save this building from the wrecking ball, build out the vision of our space and maintain the building going forward. To provide a living wage and education to students would be an amazing opportunity and we would be happy to hear from unions, tradespeople, teachers and very much in the electrical, pipefitting, carpentry, masonry, automotive and agricultural fields
Originally run out of the Director Dan Fords personal auto repair business (East Coast Autoworks) Crash Course is a mentor-ship program teaching young people the art of classic vehicle restoration. Dan Ford is the visionary who conceived of this bold plan to support the community. A way to save these buildings and build a home for the next generation to learn, grow and share. His close family connection to the Talberts has given him the opportunity to rent this building for the last 6 years. Crash Course Creations is dedicated to teaching young people the value of preserving the past while providing for their community.
The mission of Jubilee Career Center for the Performing Arts is to bring Art, Education and Healing to inner-city children and their families; We want to to build the confidence and competence in children; to provide quality after-school programming and to positively impact their social, emotional, intellectual and physical well-being, growth and development through the arts. Our vision is to give every child/youth the opportunity to explore and experience the classical and cultural arts and that they use the arts as a creative practice within their lives and/or career choices. Our program will allow children opportunities and pathways to explore and cultivate their skills and talents through avenues of collaborations, partnerships and strong social networks.Below is a brief list of some of the classes and more we will be providing
Dance (classical and cultural) (in all forms)
Academic support (tutoring and literacy)
Reading, Math, Science & more Nutrition, Cooking classes and more
WYCs is a network of youth-run cooperatives on a mission to support THE POWER OF YOUTH to organize cooperative solutions to social issues they care about. This program is working to empower younger and younger kids to organize, collaborate and support one another's success.
El Salon -
An intentional + inclusive space for BIPoC artists + creatives to feel empowered. Taking space, sharing skills + creating our own opportunities. Through partnerships with other programs, El Salon Director Vanessa Calixto has blessed our space with her own amazing work, as well as the works of Incredible artists from the community. Helping us forge a strong bond with our community
A program for the intersection between ideas, community, and lifestyle that we live & see in Worcester, Mass. They have been documenting and telling our story alongside us for these last two years. The video you saw at the top of the page was made by one of their members, Fernando Ponce. And the rest of this collective has been featured in our galleries, hosted celebrations here and raised a lot of funds for this cause.
A community resource for mutual aid to feed the community and provide any material resources available in one location. Worcester CommunityFridge is an independent mutual aid group who was welcomed into our community and has inspired giving campaigns of food and cash donations in the tens of thousands.
Is a food truck trailer founded by Head Chef Trevor Delaparaa. Caribbean foods in the city of Worcester are a staple and Trevor is incredibly generous with it. But the Chef is also well trained in classical cooking techniques, has a confident versatility and regularly makes guest appearances at other restaurants and pop ups. Trevor and has a passion for sharing Food Laughter and Love. He also has been fundraising hard for this campaign and he raised $1,300 in one day for this community. R&R Jerk has raised $6,000 in cash for the BACC over the past 3 weeks and regularly donates meals to the Community Fridge.
A Worcester program whose mission is to end the cycle of youth homelessness…one youth at a time. StandUp for Kids - Worcester was founded in 2006. Volunteers started street outreach in 2008 and it became an official program in November of that year.In September 2009, we opened our first outreach center at the Wesley United Methodist Church. This outreach center was closed in February 2011 and a Food Backpack Program was started at the Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School. Funding was obtained and volunteers worked with school counselors to provide food to fill backpacks for 15 students for three school seasons. The Worcester Program opened our current outreach center in March 2014. Stand Up For Kids has since secured a location in the Pleasant/Piedmont neighborhood.This is an opportunity to establish a community resource that has the power to change thousands of lives for decades to come.
These amazing resources are in danger of being displaced, and we intend to defend this building from that inglorious fate. This precious historical heritage site is within a stones throw of a brand new 157 Million dollar baseball stadium that opens up in just 2 months.
So what's our plan?
With the money raised we intend to purchase the lot of 300 Southbridge St. and formally incorporate a Youth Arts and Trades school on the site. We will renovate the building to meet the needs of the programs it houses and make structural and safety repairs as they are needed. We will fund Community Services, Health Services, Educational Services and Student Boarding. We also will reserve the Miss Worcester Diner, all appropriate amenities and easements, for the current leaseholder and operator to purchase. In the event that we are unable to reach our goal, we will continue the mission of The Bridge. We will seek out other options to keep our building, As a last resort, we will use this money to relocate.
The Miss Worcester Diner will be owned and operated by the current operator, who has run the diner under lease and has been trying to buy the diner. This diner is unique in that it's not legally a vehicle, it's considered real estate and is not mobile.
Update: 3/21: This fundraising campaign has received over 26 thousand dollars in less than 5 days. We are in this to win this.
We are of course exploring all possibilities, but continue to hold firm that moving is a last resort.
The Bridge Academy has an amazing opportunity to both keep their home and keep an amazing cultural heritage site in community hands, while also securing a home for itself and a whole host of other community programs.
We are in the preliminary stages of growing this community through program design, creating social networks and forming collaborations and partnerships. We are a consensus based group and operate regular meetings. If you have programs you would like to add to our partnership or just want to volunteer, we can have a conversation!