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Worthington Area YMCA nets two major gifts

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Area YMCA is feeling plenty of love from the community thanks to recent significant financial support from two entities.Earlier this month, First State Bank Southwest announced a gift of $50,000 in challenge match f...

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington Area YMCA is feeling plenty of love from the community thanks to recent significant financial support from two entities.
Earlier this month, First State Bank Southwest announced a gift of $50,000 in challenge match funds to assist in the elimination of debt remaining from construction of the new Y, which opened in November 2009. Additionally, it was announced during last week’s annual Cruise Dinner event that the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation was offering another $50,000 match grant to go toward the Y’s Double Down on Kids campaign.
“Our community is blessed far more than many know,” said Andy Johnson, executive director and CEO of Worthington’s Y. “First State Bank Southwest and the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation do so much for so many organizations in the community, including the Y. They should be applauded for their work and commitment around the area and I know it is their hope that when they step up, others will follow.”
The First State Bank Southwest gift is not the first substantial gift the bank has made to the Y, Johnson said. Should the Y raise $50,000 toward the retirement of its building debt, that amount will be matched.
Greg Raymo, CEO and chairman of the board of First State Bank Southwest, announced the gift April 5 during a special community event hosted at the bank.
“Everyone in this building tonight knows and appreciates the significant impact the YMCA has had on our children, our families and our community,” Raymo said at the event. “The YMCA has been one of the most valued community assets since 1944 and then, in 2008, the YMCA partnered with the college and the city of Worthington and created a masterpiece.”
Raymo added the bank’s gift came as a result of conversations with Johnson and the Worthington Area YMCA Board of Directors.
“(It’s) related to helping create a plan that will assist in the payoff of the original construction debt of the YMCA which resulted in the creation of the masterpiece,” Raymo said. “The Board of Directors of First State Bank Southwest realizes that the YMCA cannot and should not take monies from youth programs to pay debt. Therefore, the bank board has approved a challenge match of up to $50,000 to kick off a campaign to retire the debt of the YMCA.”
Johnson said the original loan on the new YMCA building project was $2 million. The current remaining balance is approximately $170,000.
“Greg and First State Bank Southwest are challenging the community to help get their pledge matched and help get this debt retired so the Y can put those financial resources now being utilized to fund the loan and interest … into programs and people the Y serves,” Johnson said.
“Some pledges have already been received since the announcement and others wishing to be a part of this should contact me at the Y,” he added. “In the meantime, Y board members are working on strategies to raise the remaining dollars needed and have a goal to retire that debt, no later than this time next year.”
As is the case with First State Bank Southwest, the WRHCF has given financial contributions to the Y on multiple occasions. The foundation gave nearly $54,000 to the Y two years ago in support of the Jami Cummings Learn to Swim Program, and presented a $50,000 matching grant last year toward Double Down on Kids.
“Both organizations were looking for a way to get more kids active, thus was born the Double Down campaign,” said Jeff Rotert, the foundation’s executive director. “In essence, the program was to look for barriers and try to eliminate them for the youth in our community, whether the barrier be financial, transportation, language or a barrier yet to be identified.
“Probably the biggest success story of the Double Down program is a comment from a single mother of one who told me that previous to this initiative, she and her son would go through the Y program and pick out one or two programs or activities they could afford,” Rotert continued. “With this new initiative, her child now has the opportunity to participate in a few new YMCA programs because a barrier - in this case financial - was lowered or removed.”
The new $50,000 matching grant, made in conjunction with the Y’s Strong Kids Campaign, will be used to sustain Double Down for the next four years. As was the case at the 2015 YMCA Cruise Dinner, thousands of dollars in contributions were pledged by attendees in a matter of minutes following the WRHCF announcement.
“Thank you to all who support your YMCA and so many other important projects in the community,” Johnson said. “You are the reason that places like the Y will remain strong and continue to be assets to the community.”

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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