CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Kicking off a campaign to help veterans. A Cape Coral organization needs to raise more than one million dollars to purchase a permanent home.
As Ralph Santillo walks through the precious artifacts of the past, he's making a big step planning for their future. "I'll call it the kickoff campaign for our fundraising drive to raise money for the purchase of this building," he said.
Santillo is the president of the Invest In America's Veterans Foundation, a non-profit corporation.
The foundation currently rents an old Sweetbay grocery store, in the south Cape, as space for its headquarters, but needs to raise $1,350,000 to buy the building. "We need to raise $300,000 as quickly as we can and then the balance we think we can find by offering tax free bonds, things of that nature," Santillo said.
He's also banking on support from other organizations and grants.
"What happens if the owners sell it from underneath them? They're going to have to get out. With all the equipment they have in here now they need to do something to make sure its permanent," said veteran Russell O'Day.
All of the artifacts in this museum are donations, and not just from people in southwest Florida, but from veterans across the nation.Its exactly why Santillo says this space is so important.
And they're off to a good start. Cape Coral's Mayor John Sullivan made the first donation: $10,000 of his own money.
All donations are tax deductible and can be sent to the Cape Coral Community Foundation at 4729 Vincennes Blvd, Cape Coral, 33904 on behalf of the Veterans Foundation Building Fund.