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Phoenix donates $400,000 to YMCA

October 29, 1998

Phoenix Color donates to YMCABy JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




Phoenix Color Corp. has pledged $400,000 to the Hagerstown YMCA to go toward construction of a $6.9 million facility on Eastern Boulevard, officials said Thursday.

"We think it is worthwhile because there are an awful lot of young people involved in Y programs," said Phoenix CEO Louis LaSorsa in the YMCA's Rose Room at 149 N. Potomac St.

Phoenix will contribute $50,000 a year for five years and $150,000 toward a spiritual reading room, said Franklin Ervin, the company's vice president of training and technology and a member of the firm's Core Values Committee.

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The YMCA has raised more than $3.9 million for the new facility, which will include two pools, two gymnasiums, a fitness center, a child-care center, teen and senior facilities, meeting rooms and administrative offices.

The reading room will provide adults and children with a quiet place to read books of all types, Ervin said.

Ervin said he expects Phoenix to help fill the reading room with books through its publishing customers, who have donated books to local schools.

YMCA Executive Director Michael Flicek said he thought the reading room was a "natural" since the first program the YMCA offered in Hagerstown was a reading room for young men.

The reading room also makes sense given Phoenix is a manufacturer of book jackets and paperback covers, LaSorsa said.

The book jacket and paperback cover manufacturer employs 600 people in the Washington County Business Park west of Hagerstown. The firm has started work on a book manufacturing complex near the Washington County Regional Airport that is expected to employ 325 people by next spring.

Phoenix's pledge is the second largest the YMCA has received. Hagerstown-born philanthropist Richard A. Henson pledged $1 million in April.

LaSorsa said Phoenix officials were concerned about how inner city children would get to the new YMCA, but Y officials convinced them they would provide transportation for those children.

More than 4,000 children participate in YMCA programs and the Y has about 3,300 members, Flicek said.

Flicek said Y officials will ask the Maryland General Assembly for $1 million to $2 million in bond financing for the project during the legislative session that starts in January.

YMCA officials across the state decided the Hagerstown YMCA should be the top priority when it comes to asking for state construction funding, Flicek said.

A letter from the Y's youth ambassadors, Chelsea Githens, 9, and Travis Bolio, 10, will be sent to local residents, professionals and small business owners in mid-November, asking them to contribute to the capital campaign, said Linda Harkcom, the Y's community campaign director.

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