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YMCA gets $2 million with challenge

YMCA gets $2 million with challenge YMCA gets $2 million with challenge

If smiles really could serve as umbrellas, as an old song goes, then the YMCA of Harrison County Board of Directors had no reason to worry about getting wet during yesterday’s rain that moved a press conference planned for outdoors to the Commissioners’ Room of Harrison County Court House.
“I am very honored to announce that the Community Foundation has unanimously voted to grant $1 million toward the new YMCA of Harrison County construction, and offers an additional $1 million match, payable in equal installments of $500,000 in 2003 and $500,000 in 2004,” said Foundation chair Carl Uesseler.
There are a few stipulations to the grant.
“The Foundation’s funds will not be released until you have received commitments totaling 80 percent — or $4,400,000 — of the projected total cost of $5-1/2 million,” Uesseler said.
“Our offer is based on the design as presented to us on March 4, 2002, and no scaling back or reductions in the proposed amenities is allowed,” he said.
The final stipulation restricts the funds to the construction of the facility and cannot be used for roads, parking lots or other infrastructure costs.
“Congratulations and good luck with this amazing project,” Uesseler said before introducing Jerry Reinhardt, the president of the YMCA of Harrison County board of directors.
“It’s kind of ironic that Carl and I share the podium today,” Reinhardt said.
Both retired two years ago from the Lanesville Community School Corp., where Uesseler was superintendent and Reinhardt athletic director.
“We both thought we’d go back to our respective farms,” Reinhardt said, “but God has some other things we need to do. Mr. Uesseler and I feel the same (about volunteer work). That’s why we kind of put our retirement on hold.”
To the Foundation board members at the announcement yesterday, as well as other elected officials and community leaders, Reinhardt said, “On behalf of the YMCA board of directors and the hundreds of supporters we represent, I can only say thank you so very much. We gratefully accept this lead gift and the challenge you present to us.”
As of yesterday, the capital campaign, now in full swing, has $2,585,000 committed.
That figure includes $10,000 that Barry Morris, CEO of Caesars Indiana, pledged yesterday on behalf of the gaming resort at Bridgeport.
“What a fun and exciting day,” said Morris, citing two reasons for his enthusiasm.
“That little piece of (casino) property we built is finally delivering what we promised” with regard to revenue sharing, he said. Also, “as a resident and father of two children, I look forward to participating in the programs” at the YMCA.
The facility will be built on 15 acres — valued at $525,000 — donated by Dennis and Kathy Jenkins and family. It will include an Olympic-size competition swimming pool that will be available for high school swim teams to use, a heated therapy pool with separate locker rooms from the women’s and men’s locker rooms, two basketball/volleyball courts, a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment, walking/running track, classrooms and a child-care area.
“That, in a nutshell, is what we’re looking at,” Reinhardt said.
The design is based on a needs assessment study the YMCA of Harrison County conducted.
Reinhardt introduced Pam Bennett Martin, who will chair the YMCA Campaign Cabinet.
“I am thrilled to play a role in this project,” she said. “Fund-raising at this level is a challenge, but we are certainly off to a great start. Our next goal is to secure some substantial corporate and individual gifts by the end of this month.”
Martin, who said she encourages her two sons to make a memory each day, said that contributing to the capital campaign is “a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to make a permanent memory.”
Last year, the YMCA of Harrison County raised more than $300,000 in 11 weeks during its Founders’ Campaign. Matched by the Community Foundation, the YMCA now has more than $310,000 in an endowment fund.
“The Foundation will continue to match individual donations up to $25,000 to the YMCA endowment fund,” said Steve Gilliland, executive director of the Foundation. “The fund will provide activity and membership scholarships to needy families and support other operating costs of the YMCA.”
Plans call for ground to be broken on the YMCA in September, if the required funds are obtained.
Catherine Turcotte, the Y board president until she replaced executive director John Evans, who resigned earlier this month, said, “We are sure that granting organizations, corporations and individuals will greatly appreciate that each dollar donated may be matched. Let the fund-raising begin!”
Last September the Harrison County Community Foundation surpassed the $2 million mark in grants and scholarships awarded in its first five years of existence. The $2 million grant to the YMCA was its largest to a single agency.
The Foundation was created in 1996 by the Harrison County Commissioners in an agreement with Caesars Indiana and the Indiana Gaming Commission. The initial $5 million gift from Caesars, donations from the community, monthly contributions from gaming revenues and growth through investments has increased the market value of the Foundation to more than $16-1/2 million.
To contribute to the YMCA building campaign or the endowment fund, contact the Y office at 734-0770 or the Harrison County Community Foundation at 738-6668.

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