EUGENE FAMILY YMCA AWARDED $15 MILLION IN STATE CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION FUNDING

EUGENE FAMILY YMCA AWARDED $15 MILLION IN STATE CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION FUNDING

One of Oregon's oldest nonprofits will replace aging facility, expand services

Eugene, July 2, 2019--State legislators awarded $15 million in state lottery-backed bonds to the Eugene Family YMCA to build a fully ADA-accessible, flexible facility to expand youth development, disease-prevention and wellness programming for generations to come.

The $15 million in funding, designated in House Bill 5030, will help meet the Eugene Family YMCA's capital campaign goal of $34 million. The state's legislative body passed the bill and it is expected to be signed by Gov. Kate Brown by the end of the month.

"This award is a catalyst for our capital campaign project," said Eugene Family YMCA CEO Brian Steffen. "It also affirms the legislators' confidence in our impact--as the largest afterschool childcare provider, at the forefront of disease-prevention programs and as a support network for struggling families, aging adults and disconnected teenagers."

The new state-of-the-art 70,000-square-foot facility will be built at the corner of 24th Avenue and Hilyard Street.

"This funding is an investment in our future," said State Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene. "By advancing the health and well-being of children, families, seniors and other individuals in Lane County and beyond, the Y is poised to launch an era of high-impact solutions to society's most pressing problems."

The current Y building was designed to serve a 1950s population of 70,000 people. It has served the community well for 55 years but it is now in a state of costly structural decline.

"We've visibly reached the point where our walls can no longer accommodate our consistent growth and the demand for our services, particularly in light of the healthcare and education crises that exist here today," said Chip Radebaugh, Board President of the Eugene Family YMCA. "As a result of our legislators' tireless work and their commitment to this vision for our communities, this grant represents the Y's largest gift ever."

The Eugene Family YMCA is in the process of purchasing land--the former location of Roosevelt Middle School--from the 4J School District for $2.85 million. Other significant donations and pledges have already been secured to help meet the capital campaign goal.

Local leaders such as Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis, 4J Superintendent Dr. Gustavo Balderas, PeaceHealth Oregon Network Chief Executive Mary Kingston, United Way of Lane County President and CEO Noreen Dunnells, and Lane County Medical Society Executive Director Marty Wilde have also thrown their support behind the Eugene Family YMCA's vision.

"Our Y plays a critical role in helping schools close the academic achievement gap, and helping families focus on the cognitive, physical, social and emotional development of our youth," said Dr. Gus Balderas, Superintendent of 4J Schools. "Given that Lane County is the second most impoverished county in our state, we need the Y to take on an even bigger role to help kids succeed. This funding and the resulting flagship facility mean that the Y has the capability to more fully meet our children's needs."

The Y's plan for the future includes:

  • growing afterschool programs beyond Eugene-proper--working with the leaders of the Cottage Grove and Bethel school districts in order to expand services in these under-served districts where large numbers of students qualify for free and reduced lunch;

  • growing disease-fighting and disease prevention programming in areas associated with diabetes prevention, maintaining physical health through a cancer diagnosis, helping seniors remain independent, and implementing sought-after programs associated with devastating illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's;

  • expanding the aquatic center to teach more youth water safety skills, support rehabilitation care and preventative fitness and offer recreational and competitive swimming;

  • operating a teaching kitchen to help families and individuals gain the nutritional knowledge vital for good health;

  • offering academic tutoring, wellness classes and community events in the multi-generational activity center; and

"We are more than prepared and ready to accelerate this transformative project," said Sabrina Parsons, Chair of the Eugene Family YMCA's Capital Campaign. "This state funding advances our timeline to construction by several years, and propels us into the next phase of the campaign."

The state funding means that in 2020 the Eugene Family YMCA will transition to the public phase of the "This is Y" campaign.

"This is Y is a powerful message about the Y's place in the lives of thousands of people," said Danielle Uhlhorn, Senior Director of Philanthropy for the Eugene Family YMCA. "This is Y will tell the true stories of people whose lives have been improved by programming, financial assistance or social engagement because of the Y. This is Y highlights why and how we matter."

HB 5030 authorizes $273.2 million in lottery revenue bonds for 37 projects around the state. The Eugene Family YMCA is one of three YMCAs slated to receive funding in this bill, designed to enhance the economic viability of the region, create jobs and improve the quality of life for the community.

"Eugene's legislative delegation was essential to successfully securing the funding, which supports the Y's dream of building a more robust and healthy community," said CEO Steffen. "We are grateful for their steadfast support of our mission and the recognition that this major work will serve more individuals and families throughout Lane County."

Skylar Leal