Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre (Sunbury Shores) is a nonprofit, membership-based organization situated on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. Established in 1964, the Centre has played a role in the development of a strong arts community through the execution of a unique mandate – to explore the connections between art and nature. The Centre contains artists’ studios, printmaking shop, pottery studio, a metal/jewelry studio, exhibition gallery, reference library and administrative offices and is open year round. The Arts & Nature Centre also owns and maintains Two Meadows Nature Trail, a self-guided hiking trail in a nearby woodlot.
Sunbury Shores is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It has been an integral part of the St Andrews arts and culture landscape since 1964 making it the oldest continuously operating facility of its kind in Canada, an amazing feat for an organization of its kind in the small community of St Andrews.
The Challenge and Solution
The organization’s 135 year old storefront facility, Centennial House, was acquired in 1967, and has served as the focal point for activity since that time. Since its inception Sunbury Shores has managed to maintain the property and offer many activities and programs without substantive government funding. The organization launched its first capital campaign in June 2013 to raise money to rejuvenate Centennial House. The retrofitting project will ensure that Centennial House can continue to be an important element in St Andrews’ and New Brunswick’s arts and cultural fabric. The project includes the addition of a new metal jewelry studio and outside deck overlooking the harbour. As well as a revamping of the present space making it more efficient in many ways.
With the success of their capital campaign the expansion project has been completed allowing the organization to continue to offer and expand its children’s programs, its studio residency programs, rejuvenate the gallery and bring the jewelry studio into the main building. However, some funding delays from grant and pledge agreements meant that Sunbury Shores required a cash infusion to complete payments to the general contractor for the project.
The Fundy Community Foundation, with its extensive knowledge of local organizations, suggested to the Community Forward Fund that Sunbury Shores may be a good candidate for a loan. “When Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre, a local registered charity, found themselves in need of financing to help their capital renovation project bridge cash-in/cash-out flow, they turned to Fundy Community Foundation for advice.” explained Sandy Thurber, Executive Director. Further, she noted “Fundy Community Foundation is committed to helping local charities in a variety of ways. Some are familiar such as grant-making and educational services, while others are new to our foundation, like loans to non-profit organizations.”
“Being a small, rural foundation with a big heart but limited resources, we thought that the Community Forward Fund might be a great fit for Sunbury Shores’ needs and were delighted to be able to help both organizations connect. The support, counseling and open discussion between all three parties led to a win-win match that benefits Sunbury Shores, our Fundy Community Foundation and our community.”
A bridge loan from the Community Forward Fund was made and has allowed the organization to meet its construction obligations without impacting its normal operating activities. Sunbury Shores will repay its loan to CFF with pledge money that has already been committee.
James Steel, Executive Director of the Centre says, “Having a local organization like the Fundy Community Foundation looking out for the needs of local organizations is a blessing. They knew of our situation and linked us directly with the Community Forward Fund who were quite wonderful in helping us fulfill our commitments to contractors immediately. They were easy to deal with, prompt ad thorough in their requests for the required documentation. They were also patient with us when we needed time to get information from our accountants. It was their willingness to help and find ways of making things work for everyone that impressed us. Without the help of the Community Forward Fund our options were a great deal more daunting. I would not hesitate recommending the Community Forward Fund to other nonprofits and charities looking for funding.”