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Liberty presents donation for Chamber of Commerce capital campaign

September 20, 2012 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. speaks at a press conference at the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce.

Liberty University has taken a leading role in supporting the local community, making a $100,000 donation toward the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce’s “Building for Lynchburg’s Future” capital campaign.

“We are excited to be a part of this exciting new headquarters for the Lynchburg Chamber,” said President and Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. during a press conference at the chamber’s offices on Wednesday. “We think the chamber has played an important role in championing business-friendly legislation.”

Falwell praised the chamber for improving air service and highways, which he said are vital to Liberty’s continued growth.

The campaign seeks to raise $2.9 million to move the chamber into a renovated building, which will serve as headquarters for the chamber, a business hub to the community, and a welcome center for visitors.

In addition to the sizable donation, Liberty sold the chamber the property for the new building — the 10,000-square-foot former Billy Joe’s Ice Cream shop at 312 Boarder St. — last year at a price well below market value. The site is near Candlers Mountain Road off the Lynchburg Expressway, a prime location with access from U.S. 29, 460, and 501, the city’s economic lifeblood.

Falwell commended one of Liberty’s donors and board members, Wayne Booth, for making the discounted sale possible, as he originally sold the property to Liberty at a fraction of the cost, amounting to a donation of nearly $700,000.

Centra Health is also a leader in the campaign, pledging $150,000. Centra will also match donations by small businesses up to $100,000.

Michael Bryant, president and CEO of Centra Health, said he is glad to collaborate with Liberty on this project.

“As the two largest organizations (in Lynchburg) we have ultimately similar missions, in that at the end of the day we want to make an impact in whatever happens in Central Virginia,” Bryant said. “Together we can have an impact broader than what we are doing in our individual capacities. … The more that we can do that together … Central Virginia will continue to advance.”

The chamber announced it is above 25 percent of its goal for the campaign.