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Marian Center To Close: ‘It’s Not About the Building, It’s About What Happened There’

The Marian Center for Nonprofits
The Marian Center for Nonprofits in St. Francis.

After 25 years in operation, the Marian Center for Nonprofits, known for providing affordable workspaces to area nonprofits, will be closing its doors July 1, 2016.

The building is owned and operated by theSisters of St. Francis Assisi, who opened the Center after the closing of St. Mary’s Academy in 1991. The sisters have put nearly a million dollars into maintaining the property; however, they decided to close the building this year because of the financial burden.

Over the last two decades, the Center has been home to many nonprofits, artists and writers. It has been a haven for small-scale operations, which in some cases were just one person and a desk.

“At one time I liked to say that people would move from their dining room tables to the Marian Center,” says Charlane O’Rourke-Hertig, the executive director of the Marian Center for Nonprofits.

Unfortunately, this fact has made it difficult to find new spaces for some of the residents. O’Rourke-Hertig is helping some of the tenants with their search, but it has been difficult to find spaces as affordable as the Marian Center.

Still, she has hope that the nonprofits will find new homes and their work will continue.

“It’s not about the building, it’s about what happened there,” says O’Rourke-Hertig.

Joy Powers is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.