Anonymous donor pays January rent for Newpark Studio tenants
When Greg Ceccarelli returned home last week after grocery shopping and saw a note hanging on the door to his apartment, he didn’t think anything of it.
Notes are often tacked onto residents’ doors at Newpark Studios to update them on parking regulations, upcoming maintenance and community news, Ceccarelli said.
"It wasn’t an unusual thing to come home and see the note on the door and I typically just glance at it," he said.
But Ceccarelli decided to look at the notice a little more closely. When he sat down and read it, Ceccarelli realized that an anonymous donor had the covered rent for every unit in Newpark Studios, including his. Like many of his neighbors, Ceccarelli, 30, was skeptical.
"I first wanted to make sure it was real. After I reread it, I walked back out to my car because I was getting groceries and ran into my neighbor," Ceccarelli said. "I asked him if he had seen it, but he hadn’t yet so then I immediately went back in and called my parents and girlfriend and told them about it."
Just days before Christmas, residents of the 38-unit Newpark Studios were notified that their January rent had been paid. Monthly rent for the entire affordable housing community is about $25,000 or $527- $709 per unit. Most of the tenants are service industry workers and young adults. The building is located in Newpark across from the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District Fieldhouse.
Angie Davis, district manager for Newpark Studios, said about 30 minutes after the notices were posted she started receiving calls.
"People were saying, ‘who would do something like that’ and ‘is it true?’" Davis said. "And we said, ‘yes, it is completely true.’ There was crying and lots of ‘oh my gosh, I can’t believe it.’ Many people said they would now be able to have a Christmas."
Davis said she received a phone call last week from the donor, who asked to remain anonymous, inquiring about the monthly rent for every unit and when it was due.
"I gave him the information and the person said I am going to cover January rent and I was floored," Davis said. "I have never seen anything of this magnitude in the 10 years that I have been doing this."
The donor wasn’t "out to have people smack them on the back," Davis said, before adding that "they are doing this because they felt like it was right thing to do."
"It really is incredible for an apartment complex to see something like that totally outside of the box," Davis said.
Jacob Whitlow, 23, was still in disbelief more than a week after the gift.
"It was really unexpected and surprising and I just can’t believe it," Whitlow said. "I was shocked. I’m still shocked."
"I just couldn’t believe it because it was an anonymous donation and it’s really weird because it was building specific," Whitlow said. "It was a huge help for me and my mom, who happens to live in the building. It’s huge. It’s just huge."
Ceccarelli, a freestyle ski coach and restaurant worker on Main Street, said the donation has made a "night and day" difference for him.
"You want to do something for the people you care about, but it’s the tightest part of the year," Ceccarelli said. "This has made my life feel a million time easier and less stressful. I’m able to enjoy a holiday and give presents without losing sleep over whether my rent going to be on time or late. It felt good that I could give to people because someone gave to me."
Ceccarelli said he knows that the donor wants to remain anonymous, however, he is hoping that he can bump into "him or her on the chair lift and they overhear me talking about it and they get to see the reaction from someone it has affected." Ceccarelli said he would simply say, ‘thank you.’
"I don’t think he could every really understand how great of a gift this is this time of year. I wish I could do something to repay him or let him know how grateful I am and that it makes it easy when you pass it on. I would let him or her know that when I have the opportunity to do that I will definitely try," he said.
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At least 10 deputies were involved in the pursuit.