On Wednesday, February 28, Gonzaga President Father Stephen W. Planning, SJ, and Dr. Kimbery Cox, President of the McKenna Center, signed a new license agreement, reaffirming Gonzaga’s commitment to the social service agency, which is housed in the basement of St. Aloysius Church.
The new license agreement will automatically renew every five years for the next 25 years unless one of the parties should choose not to extend it. During the first five years of the agreement, Gonzaga has committed to continue providing free rent, utilities, armed security, staff parking, and other in-kind services to the McKenna Center, presently worth $350,000 annually. In addition, Gonzaga has offered to provide $10,000 annually for the next five years to be used for capital improvements to the Center, bringing the total value of the support to $1.8 million over the next five years.
“Although the McKenna Center is a separate 501(c)(3) organization from Gonzaga—with its own Board and governing structure—we feel privileged to be able to make this commitment and investment in their work,” says Father Planning. “St. Al’s is where our students meet Christ both in the Eucharist and in the faces of the poor at the McKenna Center. It plays a key role in our mission of forming Men for Others, and we are honored to be able to continue to support the Center’s good work not just with volunteers, but with other forms of significant support.”
Named in honor of Father Horace B. McKenna, SJ, the McKenna Center is a day shelter for homeless men. Gonzaga students, families, and alumni volunteer regularly at the Center, serving lunch and providing evening meals in the hypothermia center, among other service opportunities. Additionally, at the beginning of the school year the Gonzaga school community came together to collect over 20,000 cans of food for the Center’s pantry.
“Gonzaga and the McKenna Center have a long history together,” says Father Planning. “In many ways, we are companions in our commitment to social justice. We look forward to continuing to foster and grow this special relationship for many years to come.”