YMCA Celebrates Momentous Year of Giving
Central Bucks Family YMCA and Lower Bucks Family YMCA are celebrating a momentous year of joint philanthropy and service to the Bucks County community. In 2017, the two organizations received an historic level of donations and volunteer service while also giving away $1.6 million in financial assistance and expanding their community impact programs.
Free community impact programs like the Y’s 7th Grade Membership Initiative, Veterans Wellness program, Diabetes Prevention classes, Living Active for older adults, Empower U for teen girls, and 2nd Grade Swim Initiative were expanded across the county, helping a record 2,300 people.
Additionally, requests for financial assistance increased by 40% over 2016. The Y’s assistance program supports free and reduced cost membership, programs and child care to those who qualify. “Our volunteer board of directors has been working tirelessly with the staff to help the community understand our mission and raise contributed funds ensuring that everyone has access to the Y regardless of an ability to pay,” stated Brian McLeod, member of Lower Bucks Family YMCA’s Board of Directors Central Bucks Family YMCA’s Board of Trustees. “We could not be more thrilled to see our efforts make a significant impact in the community.”
While requests for financial assistance were at an all-time high in 2017, it is no surprise that gifts to the Y were also at their highest. The Y received donations, grants and sponsorships totaling $1.342 million. “The recognition by our community has been astounding,” said Zane Moore, president and CEO of both organizations. “As the community sees the results and benefits that the Y brings, we’re finding that they are moved to contribute in increasingly meaningful ways.”
Never one to shy away from asking for donations, Moore walked 28-miles from the Doylestown YMCA to the Fairless Hills YMCA on December 6. The event entitled “Zane Walks for Bucks” was an effort to raise awareness of the outreach and service the Y provides the community. Passionate about spreading this message, Moore published selfie videos along his 10-hour walk, speaking about the Y mission, the programs they provide the community and how many people were helped in 2017. The response from the community was overwhelming. The Y received a record number of individual gifts totaling nearly $150,000 between Giving Tuesday and December 6.
“We’re trying to get the word out,” Moore explained. “The service the Y provides the community is important and worth talking about. The more we talk about it, the more people find their way to us for help, and the more donors step up to support us. We need this support so we can continue to meet growing needs across Bucks County.”
Applications for aid indicate that although the economy is good, residents of Bucks County still need help. Last year, the largest percentage of financial assistance was granted to youth attending summer camp programs so that their parents could continue to work through the summer months. More and more, parents need to work in order to pay a mortgage and support a family in Bucks County. As expenses increase at a faster rate than salaries, parents are being challenged to find affordable child care.
“It simply would not be possible for me to send my kids to camp so that I can work,” said a parent of two campers in a ‘thank-you’ note received by the Y last year. “Thank you for giving the kids a great summer and allowing me to work guilt-free.”
Last year, one of the Y’s community impact programs, the Veterans Wellness Program was offered to residents in Newtown and Warminster in addition to Doylestown, where the program began in 2015. With the expansion of the program, 135 local military and veterans have received a complimentary membership and programs targeted to their population. The program addresses the needs of participating veterans on several levels, many times serving as a re-introduction to physical fitness, exercise and nutrition. Veterans attend workshops and outings as part of the program and enjoy working toward health and wellness goals together. The YMCA Veterans Wellness program is provided free of charge to community veterans and their families.
More information on the Y’s Veterans Wellness Program and its many other community impact programs can be found at www.cbfymca.org.