In its current location since the early 1900s, The Chase Home is in need of substantial exterior improvements, which has attracted the support of Portsmouth native Jeff Keefe, who has volunteered to lead the project.
Financial Advisor and Principal at Whole Wealth Management, LLC, Keefe led the successful development of the Puddle Dock Pond ice rink at Strawbery Banke Museum, which required nearly $1 million in cash and in-kind donations.
“I’m doing this for the kids,” said Keefe, who said his impetus is to elevate “the spirits of the kids who live at Chase Home.”
“My grandparents lived next door to Chase Home, so I have always been aware of it and what they did,” he explained. “I wanted to do something for an agency that has done so much for kids in this community for more than 140 years.”
Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire, serving more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.
Regarding the needed improvements, Keefe cited a new driveway, roof and walkways as well as enhanced exterior lighting and landscaping as constituting the majority of the proposed work, which can be completed in phases.
“We will complete aspects of the project as the money is raised,” he said.
With preliminary costs of about $270,000, the project has already garnered nearly $40,000 in support from area companies, including Pike Industries, Bourassa Construction, Terra Firma Landscape Architecture and AndHow.
“Ideally, the project would ‘break ground’ this summer and be completed in about 8 weeks,” added Keefe.
For Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home, the project has long-term potential to impact the nonprofit agency in several ways.
“It not only addresses infrastructural and safety concerns, it creates a new face for The Chase Home,” she said. “This is a home for dozens of youth each year, many in crisis. It is very important we create the most welcoming environment possible for them.”
Keefe agreed and added, “This is really about emphasizing the ‘home’ in Chase Home, and it will require a community effort to do that.”
To learn more about The Chase Home, or support the campaign, visit chasehome.org.