Shining Hope Longview campaign exceeds goal; $7.5 million raised from Longview community

LONGVIEW, Texas – Buckner International raised $7.5 million to build a new campus here, surpassing the Shining Hope Longview Campaign goal by more than $1.5 million in one year.

The funds are being used to build The Linda and Ken Hall Buckner Family Hope Center and The Mac and Tom Stone Buckner Family Pathways community on a four-acre campus. Construction started in summer 2015 and completion is anticipated in mid-2016. Buckner officials said the additional funds raised will be used to provide endowment for the Longview programs to offset operating costs.

“We are amazed and blessed by the outpouring of support from our community for Buckner,” said David Ummel, executive director of Buckner Children and Family Services in East Texas. “We knew going into this campaign that our community loved Buckner, but for the community to respond in such a strong way shows the depth of that love and support.”

Longview residents Susan and Rodney Henry and Kellie and Rogers Pope Jr. served as co-chairs of the fundraising campaign. In a joint statement, the co-chairs said the “tremendous support and response by our community affirms once again the generosity of Longview and East Texas. This campaign brought out the best in our fellow citizens.

“While the emphasis for the past 12 months has been about raising funds to support this project, our focus has always been on serving our community. We believe the new Buckner Family Hope Center and the Buckner Family Pathways ministries will have an impact here for generations to come.”

David Slover, president of the Buckner Foundation in Dallas, expressed the organization’s thanks to the co-chairs of the campaign.

“The tireless work and dedication of the Popes and Henrys ensured the overwhelming response and success of the campaign,” Slover said. “Buckner is so grateful to these two couples and to the entire community for such a strong response.”

Ummel said the expansion of Buckner’s presence in Longview “is going to completely change the destination of families. People who are coming out of generational poverty are going to completely redirect their families.

“This community means a lot to Buckner,” he said. “It is the base for our volunteers, and our adoptive and foster care parents. This is where our clients live. It is our home. We’ve been here for a long time and we’re here for the long run.”

To read more about the excitement of the Longview community for new Buckner programs, read this week's editorial in the Longview News-Journal here.

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