The PeopleCare Center: A Living History
In 1984, the director of the Somerset County Board of Social Services approached Marguerite Chandler of the WorldWorks Foundation to explore the possibility of applying for a $100,000 grant for three non-profit agencies that needed a permanent home. A meeting among Foundation staff and representatives of the three groups resulted in the shared vision for the PeopleCare Center.
The vacant Finderne Elementary School offered the ideal space to fulfill the dream of a home for non-profit agencies. Utilizing a mortgage loan from the WorldWorks Foundation, the newly constituted PeopleCare Center board was able to submit a bid for the property and PeopleCare was born, serving as home to the Adult Day Center, the Somerset County Day Care Center, and the Arc.
With rates well below market rates, these agencies and those that followed them into PeopleCare enjoyed the shared amenities of a cafeteria and kitchen, multi-purpose room, conference rooms, an auditorium, and a playground for children. These vital agencies were now able to continue to provide service to the community with an opportunity to grow and prosper.
At day’s end, PeopleCare continues to serve the community as a Community Center for groups and agencies from across the county. An immediate success, PeopleCare welcomed approximately 400 visitors every weekday.
Over the years PeopleCare has continued to inspire people. A major capital campaign and a series of excellent fundraising activities have succeeded in paying off over $1 million in the original mortgage and improvement costs. PeopleCare’s signature fundraising event, “A Taste of Somerset,” has become a community institution.
Over the years, thousands of people have given time, their money, and their hearts to creating and sustaining the PeopleCare Center. A vital community resource, the PeopleCare Center is a model for non-profit service and a source of pride for the Somerset County community.