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Waynesboro YMCA launches fund drive

March 31, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Every 10 years since 1975, when the Waynesboro YMCA moved from a 60-year-old building on North Potomac Street to its new building at 810 E. Main St., it's held a major fund-raiser.

Now it's 2005, and it's the biggest campaign in the local YMCA's history, Richard Marks, executive director of the organization, said Wednesday night at a kickoff event at the home of Greg and Debi Duffey on Rinehart Drive.

This year, the goal is $1.5 million. The money will pay largely for improvements in the YMCA's youth programs.

So far, Marks said, $1.1 million has been pledged. He did not explain why Wednesday's gathering was held to launch the campaign since most of the money already has been raised.

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The fund-raising committee, headed by Robert Zimmerman, has been paying a professional consultant for advice. Marks said the consultant will be paid "under 10 percent" of the amount raised.

The latest capital project, called "Shaping Our Future ... Many Hands, One Mission," is an offshoot of a long-range planning effort done in the spring of 2003, said Alan Smith, associate executive director of the YMCA.

"Every part of this expansion, every aspect is to impact children," Marks said.

The money will pay for expansion of before- and after-school programs, improved facilities for those with special needs, incorporation of a Teen Adventure Center, more parking, locker room and infrastructure improvements, expanded fitness facilities and improved security.

Marks said work on the improvements could begin by early fall.

"What impresses me most is the increase in usage in the YMCA since 1975," Zimmerman said. "In 1975, we had 400 visits a week. Now we have 500 a day. That's a sevenfold increase in 30 years."

In 1975, the YMCA had 775 members. Today, membership tops 3,400. "The Y is expanding like crazy," he said.

Smith said about half of the patrons served by the YMCA are children. "We're trying to make as great an impact on them as we can," he said.

The final push of the campaign will focus on individual and corporate contributions, Marks said.

Lists of past contributors, YMCA members and those who have expressed an interest in YMCA activities will be targeted by teams of volunteers doing personal contacts, campaign organizers said.

Thomas MacBride is the honorary campaign chairman.

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